A few years ago Jane and I joined one of those film clubs where you could sign up for and borrow an number of DVDs, receiving and returning them through the post. We did not last for long because if a week went by and you did not find the time to sit down and watch a film the proposition started to look more like a hole in your pocket than an amazing way to keep up to date with the film world. The on-demand TV services, like the BBC iPlayer, have been much more attractive, with shorter programmes available and no fees at all; if you miss something, you missed it but at least it is not draining your money.
We have recently experimented with free trials from online streaming services Netflix and LoveFilm. However, neither has left us with a desire to extend the end of the trial. The truth is that what you get for free largely consists of things you would barely consider watching even if someone offered to pay you. There are some gems (Cloudy with a Touch of Meatballs and Gnomeo and Juliet, watched last weekend were both excellent) but I had no sense of loss in cancelling the Netflix subscription a few days inside the safe period and I am not sure I will bother taking the LoveFilm one (due to end in about three weeks) anywhere near the end of the free offer.
What I had hoped was that it would be a way of dipping into films that have caught my eye in recent years but which I have not got around to seeing but most in that category are either not available or would incur an extra rental charge. So, I have explored some options but will go back to gratefully receiving films people give me at Christmas and birthdays, occasionally supplemented by treats from the bargain shelves; at least that way, I don’t have to pay to rewatch the ones I particularly enjoyed.