It may come as a surprise to you, but DVD rentals can be difficult for people who have chronic illnesses.

Once I rent a DVD, the next issue is returning it to the shop. I almost always feel ill on the day it is due, and I end up getting worse if I push myself to return it, and have to spend the next few days in bed. Whenever I rent a DVD, I always have to consider the risk of becoming sicker because of it. There have been many days where I had to give up on a rental DVD because I did not think I would be able to return it.

There is one more thing that I have to consider. Since it is extremely difficult to predict when I will get sick, I have to be very careful to decide how many DVDs to rent. I have to decide the number of DVDs according to my physical condition in order to be able to watch them all. At the same time, I have to fight the urge of renting too many DVDs because I can rarely go out to a rental DVD store due to my illness.

About my health problem>> Myalgic Encephalomyelitis(aka. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

These are the reasons why DVD rentals are not really convenient for me.

The other day, I tried using a video streaming service U-NEXT that I had long wanted to use.

*This article includes promotion links.

What is a video streaming service?

A video streaming service is a website that provides movies and TV shows online. You can enjoy movies and TV shows just like watching YouTube or niconico. 

These contents can be streamed on your computer, smartphone or tablet whenever you want. Some services feature wide hardware support for other types of devices such as Amazon Fire or Google Chromecast, which enables you to watch their streaming media on your big, flat TV with the HDMI terminal. 

What's good about U-NEXT?

There are so many video streaming services that include hulu, Netflix, TSUTAYA Discas,, GEO channel and not to mention, U-NEXT. Movies, TV shows and monthly subscription fees vary depending on the site.

U-NEXT streams some 120,000 movies/dramas (as of October 2017), which makes it one of the biggest video streaming sites in Japan. Entertainment includes the latest released movies and TV shows. 

Personally, I like that it has many British dramas including Luther, Broadchurch (my friend's recommendation) and Pride and Prejudice (a BBC's masterpiece. I read a copy of it before>>HERE) NOTE: These TV shows are offered as of October 2017. They may stop streaming anytime without prior notice, so please check their website for the latest information.

Rental DVDs are not always available, for example, if someone else has already rented it. But with video streaming, you can watch any shows on the site anytime you want. 

U-NEXT provides free access to 70 or more manga and magazines via its e-reader app (free of charge.) If you read multiple magazines monthly, I think it's worth trying.

My Internet connection

I live in a wooden, two-story detached house. My internet speed is 1Gbps. Our wifi router is in the living room downstairs and my bedroom is right above it on the second floor.

I enjoyed U-NEXT on my 26-inch flat TV, using a Google Chromecast (2013 model) in my room. The image quality decreased every four or five minutes on my Chromecast in my room, but in the living room, it was as good as a DVD. 

On my laptop (Fujitsu Lifebook AH53M with wireless LAN), the image quality was high almost all the time without lagging or breaking off.

Review after a one-month free trial

It was revolutionary! It made me realize how much I had had to push myself just to go out to rent/return DVDs.

As I said before, I have many things I have to keep in mind when renting a DVD. But with U-NEXT, I can just click and watch anything instantly. If you find it boring, you can easily stop watching. Also you can binge watch a drama series as long as you feel up to it. This is enormously appealing to me

The average cost that I spend on DVD rentals is about 400 to 800 yen depending on my physical condition. I thought that the monthly subscription fee, 2,189 yen (tax included), was too high before I actually used this service. However, now I think it's reasonable taking into consideration how much time I spend going out to rent and return, and also in recovering from those outings.

I unsubscribed to it as the free trial ended, but I'm seriously considering I subscribe to it again.

Disadvantages based on my personal preference

Needless to say, there is no such thing as a perfect service. Allow me to point out a few disadvantages of U-NEXT. :

・No English subtitles. I take this point as a disadvantage just because I'm an English learner. Availability of English subtitles makes a huge difference for foreign language Learners. (As a sidenote, you can select Japanese subtitles or dubbing.)

・You can search for overseas movies or dramas only by Japanese titles. There have been times when I had to look up the Japanese title of an American movie, which was recommended by my friends abroad. So it will be easier if you can search by the original titles. 

・You can watch movies and dramas you purchased (using "points") for only one week. I would really appreciate it if U-NEXT allowed me to watch them for at least two weeks. That would make this service more appealing.

Once you unsubscribe to the service, you can no longer read any magazines or manga that you have purchased. In order to continue to read them, you have to keep your subscription.

How to start using U-NEXT

I will introduce how to get an account (register.)

NOTE:  A【31-day free trial】of U-NEXT is only available to those who have a credit card. However, you can subscribe to U-NEXT by paying at convenient stores or via direct deposit. (In that case, there's no free trial.) 

Anyone can use this service as long as you are living in Japan (regardless of nationality), however, the customer service is available only in Japanese.

First, go to the website 【U-NEXT
Click the red button【無料トライアルを今すぐスタート】(むりょうとらいあるをいますぐすたーと).

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Type in your name in 氏名(しめい), birthday in 生年月日(せいねんがっぴ), email address in メールアドレス(めーるあどれす) and password in パスワード(ぱすわーど).

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Next, type in your credit card information in クレジットカード番号(くれじっとかーどばんごう).

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Now you're all set. Go to the top page and you can start watching your favorite movies/TV shows!

How to watch on a smartphone or tablet

You need to install an app to use U-NEXT on your mobile device. The app is free of charge.
A screenshot of my Android tablet (Asus Nexus7 2013).

Tap 【Play store】>search【U-NEXT】>tap the app【U-NEXT/ユーネクスト】and tap【インストール(いんすとーる)】and done!

Log in to U-NEXT by typing in your email address and password. Now you're ready to start.

You have to be careful about the 31-day free trial

Attention! If you do not intend to keep subscribing to U-NEXT after your 31-day free trial, you have to unsubscribe it manually by the 31st day on your free trial. Otherwise, you will automatically be a subscriber and a fee of 2,189 yen (tax included) will be charged.  I unsubscribed to it on the 31st day on my free trial and nothing has been charged. 


U-NEXT offers a 31-day free trial (as of October 2017)!

I really do recommend this service, U-NEXT, which enables you to watch movies and dramas whenever you feel like it at home. Try it and say goodbye to the days where you haul your sick body to the rental DVD store to rent and return!

▼U-NEXT official webpage