Mac Musings

Peerflix: Trade Your Old DVDs Inexpensively

Dan Knight - 2005.07.13 - Tip Jar

Since the advent of the DVD revolution, DVD players have become disposable commodities, new releases have more interesting extras, and older DVDs have become more affordable. It's not unusual to see B-movies on DVD for about US$3.00 these days, and Walmart always seems to have a big stock of US$5.50 titles.

DVDs are a great way to build a video library. Not only are they higher quality than VHS tapes, but they don't degrade with use, take up less space on the shelf, allow you to randomly access scenes, and often include extras such as outtakes, bloopers, and comments  from the director and/or actors.

Some DVDs are worth watching several times, but others just don't bear repeated viewing. And sometimes your interests change, and maybe you realize that you're just never going to take the time to watch those vintage Star Trek episodes again.

The question is, what do you do with your old DVDs? You can give them away, swap them with a friend, sell them at a garage sale for a couple bucks, or trade them in at your local video store toward other titles, although not all video rental shops take trades.

Now there's a new option, Peerflix.

Peerflix is a peer-to-peer system for exchanging DVDs, and although the website still bills Peerflix as beta, it's pretty well thought out and works nicely.


The key to Peerflix is Peerbux, credits that you use to buy and sell DVDs. Every DVD that you send to someone is worth at least one Peerbux, and every DVD that you buy costs one or more Peerbux. The more Peerbux you accumulate, the more expensive the DVDs and sets you can afford.

There's no cost to join Peerflix. Sign up, and they'll send you four DVD mailers. List the DVDs you no longer want to keep and wait until someone wants them. Then print out the label (all handled in your browser), put the DVD in the mailer, add postage, and drop it in the mail.

Once you have enough Peerbux, you can start ordering DVDs that others no longer want to watch. (With enough members, there's bound to be someone who has what you no longer want - and vice versa.) Order your first DVD, and someone will send it to you.

Not Quite Free

Continued use of Peerflix isn't free. There is a US99¢ transaction fee for each DVD or DVD set you order, and Peerflix sells trade fees five at a time. Unless you have prepaid trades available, you can't order any more DVDs.

Mailing DVDs, as anyone who has sold them on eBay can tell you, isn't cheap, but Peerflix has solved that problem. Instead of mailing the whole package, with Peerflix you only send the video disc itself. Postage: US37¢.

If you're trading typical 2 and 3 Peerbux DVDs, your average cost to send out one of your DVDs and receive a new one is US$1.36 - cheaper than renting a DVD, and you don't even have to drive to the video store.

In fact, that's one way Peerflix promotes the service, as an alternative to Netflix. Instead of paying US$15 a month to have rental DVDs sent to your door, you pay a small fee for each DVD you want to watch - and you can keep them forever. Or you can trade them after you've watched them. Your choice.

If you don't have a lot of DVDs to trade, you can purchase Peerbux for $5 each or 30/$100.

Pros and Cons

I've been using Peerflix for a few weeks, sent out seven packaged of DVDs so far, received my first DVD, and have three more en route. One of those is a free DVD that Peerflix gave me when I paid my first $4.95 for five trades.

So not only is the first trade free, but you also receive a free DVD when you pay for your membership.

The selection of DVDs is quite broad, although it currently tends toward cheaper DVDs. But there is a good selection of newer material and boxed sets - which leads to my chief complaint about Peerflix.

Yes, it's cheaper to send just the DVD itself, but if you're ordering a boxed set, it would be nice if you could obtain the box with the set. At present, Peerflix doesn't offer that option, although I have suggested that collectors might be willing to pay one additional Peerbux to receive a DVD set with the box. We'll see what comes of that.

The other drawback is that you don't have the inserts that come with a DVD, so you have to make your own packaging. Being able to download and print inserts for the DVD case to match your newly acquired DVD would be nice.

Those are fairly minor negatives, and thus far I've been very happy with the service Peerflix offers. I currently have nearly 40 DVDs available, have an extensive wish list, and look forward to adding a lot of favorites that I don't own or only have on videotape to my DVD library.

I wish something like this existed for audio CDs, but I haven't been able to find a similar service.

If you have some DVDs you don't think you'll ever watch again, look into Peerflix. It's free to try and inexpensive to keep using.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Dan Knight has been using Macs since 1986, sold Macs for several years, supported them for many more years, and has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. If you find Dan's articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Custom Search

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link