I have been a member of the online DVD rental community off and on now for several years. For the longest time I went with Netflix because, well at first they were the only ones around, but even later because they had the greatest selection and seemed to treat their customer’s with a well pleasing service.
A few months back I switched to Blockbuster, and I don’t see myself turning back.
Here’s the rundown.
Blockbuster has essentially stolen Netflix’s game plan from them so both services are nearly identical. You choose a plan which consists of how many movies you want out at a time. For example I am on the 2 at a time plan which means at any given time I have two movies “out” (this doesn’t necessarily mean I have them in hand for this count also involves mail time. For this it costs me about $17 a month.
Both services have similar queues wherein who select the movies you want to watch and then as returned movies are turned in, the next movies in your queue are mailed out. Due to popularity of certain titles, an item in your queue may not be available when it hits the front of the line. Both services make not of this on their queues and will then send out the next available flick. I have noticed that Blockbuster has a tendency to send the movies in my top ten a little out of order even though none of them are listed as unavailable. Though I’m not sure why this is, it really isn’t too bothersome to me since I’m not that particular.
From my location and my calculations both services are comparable in terms of how quickly they process returns and send movies out. On average I receive a new movie five days from the time I have returned it.
In terms of selection Netflix gets the prize. They, by far, beat Blockbuster with number of movies in their archives. They also do not place any restrictions on ratings (Blockbuster doesn’t allow NC-17 or X rated films.) Neither company supplies pornography or “Adult” films.
So, why did I choose Blockbuster? Because they give you free in-store rentals. Before a few weeks ago they gave me 1 coupon per week to rent a movie from their physical stores. With my normal online rentals averaging out to two movies a week added with the 1 coupon per week I was receiving approximately 12 movies per month. At less than $20 per month this was already a big bargain.
Blockbuster has recently changed their terms and now instead of mailing the movies back to them you can simply return the DVDs to any Blockbuster store. Once turned in they automatically send out the next movie in my queue thus upping the amount of movies sent to me per month. Also each time you turn in a movie, you may rent one from the store. Thus, even with my old average of two movies per week I’m now doubling the amount of movies I rent from the store, and with the improved mailing times this may even triple. That’s 16-20 movies a month!
Well worth it in my book. I will probably even drop my selection to one movie at a time for $10 which will still see me receiving 12-16 movies per month.
It is a no brainer for me. Now I know most of you are probably now thinking to yourselves that there is no way you could watch that many movies in a month. The reality of the situation is that you don’t have to. With the online rentals there are no due dates or late fees. You can keep the movies as long as you want. With my DVD burner I tend to maximize my movie gathering and money saving potential by turning them in the day after, but you can certainly be more leisurely about it. Even if you take the $10 one at a time option and only watch 4 movies, you’ve still saved yourself money over watching those same movies with regular rental prices.