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Uncover the Net > Blog > Uncover the Net Blog: NetFlix vs. Blockbuster Total Access

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NetFlix vs. Blockbuster Total Access

So, we just moved into our new home that we have been having built for the past two years. And we had a custom home theater installed with a 110" screen. So, needless to say I live in that room :-) . And yeah I'm a big movie buff and love renting movies. So about a month ago I signed up for Netflix and signed up for the 6 at a time for $35.99/month. It's pretty amazing because if you order a movie into your queue on Monday, it's in your mailbox by Tuesday, and they carry virtually every move every made it seems.

But then I got some email from Blockbuster (how did they get my email? - oh well) and it said that their online movie program is even better than Netflix because you can rent online and then return them to the store and exchange it for a move there, all while not affecting your number of online rentals. So since they offered a free trial I figured I would try it. So I placed my first order with them on a Monday and I didn't receive the DVD's until Thursday. So then on Friday, I returned the DVD's to the local Blockbuster store as they said you could. The only catch is that you have to return those movies on time or it's like a $4/day late fee per move - not very cool.

Anyway, so when I got home on Friday from Blockbuster, I went online and ordered 2 more movies to see if this time I would get them any quicker. It wasn't until Monday at 7pm that I got an email that said your DVD's are on their way. When did they come? Thursday. So let's see, Blockbuster says that you can return the movies to the store and get twice as many movies, yet they take 6 days to send out a new movie.

Then I mapped out my local Blockbuster thinking maybe it's not so bad. But my nearest Blockbuster is 6 miles away with tons of stop lights. And I drive a Hummer. So for me that's like $4 in gas just to go there and back. If I do that twice a week that's over $30/month right there.

Something else I noticed about Blockbuster is that they do not carry any NC-17 versions of movies, only R rated versions. And a lot of horror and teen comedy type movies have both versions, but you can only get both versions via Netflix.

But one thing I do like about Blockbuster online is that you can see rows of the box covers as your browse through genres. Whereas Netflix basically gives you a list of titles. And I like to pick a movie out by the cover, or atleast look at it that way. So hopefully Netflix will catch on there.

Overall (from my experience at least), Netflix is superbly faster at shipping new movies out than Blockbuster (1 day versus 3-4 days). Blockbuster's online plan only allows up to 4 movies at a time and Netflix allows up to 8. But I guess if you live right by a Blockbuster, it may be a better deal for you. Just don't let those late fees add up. :-)

22 Comments:

Blogger Webfu said...

You can preview the cover of the movies using the ajax feature at netflix.com - Just mouse over the movie and see!

Nice blog by the way....

- Webfu

November 22, 2006 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Webfu said...

You can see the cover of a movie at netflix by mousing over the movie you are looking at. Its a pretty cool ajax feature that I saw them start using a couple months ago.

Nice Blog Shawn!

- Webfu

November 22, 2006 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Webfu said...

You can see the cover of a movie at netflix by mousing over the movie you are looking at. Its a pretty cool ajax feature that I saw them start using a couple months ago.

Nice Blog Shawn!

- Webfu

November 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Webfu said...

You can see the cover of a movie at netflix by mousing over the movie you are looking at. Its a pretty cool ajax feature that I saw them start using a couple months ago.

Nice Blog Shawn!

- Webfu

November 22, 2006 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Thanks! Yeah I see that, I guess that I just like seeing them like you would see them on a shelf at the store.

November 24, 2006 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger raolinmau said...

Where you live? In dallas NF or BB takes almost same time so Total Access is a good deal

December 1, 2006 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Chicago..is there not a Netflix shipping center in Dallas or?

December 1, 2006 at 11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a Netflix user in the past, but switched to Blockbuster Online because of the free game coupons and because I had to wait too long to get new releases from Netflix. Now with this new total access plan from BB I can't understand why anyone would stay with NF. Since I can return the DVD's to the local BB I get 3 new DVD's every 3-4 days. I also get 3 free rentals at the BB. Now I get 6 DVD's every 3-4 days. I also get two free game rentals a month. I love to read how others try to argue that Netflix's program can be better than BB. Its not even close in my mind. But I do thank Netflix for giving BB some competition. But I don't see how they will stay in business long with this new total access plan.

December 2, 2006 at 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a Netflix user in the past, but switched to Blockbuster Online because of the free game coupons and because I had to wait too long to get new releases from Netflix. Now with this new total access plan from BB I can't understand why anyone would stay with NF. Since I can return the DVD's to the local BB I get 3 new DVD's every 3-4 days. I also get 3 free rentals at the BB. Now I get 6 DVD's every 3-4 days. I also get two free game rentals a month. I love to read how others try to argue that Netflix's program can be better than BB. Its not even close in my mind. But I do thank Netflix for giving BB some competition. But I don't see how they will stay in business long with this new total access plan.

December 2, 2006 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Then I guess my questions would be why is shipping so much longer than Netflix? Do they just not have a shipping center in the Midwest?

December 2, 2006 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Terry, I have been on the total access plan before the free in stores (about 7 months)
and I was also a netflix customer in the past. Netflix is a nice program, but what they fail to tell you is that for the first 4 months or so, they treat you like gold, shipping you everything as soon as it's availible, then, after you aren't a NEW customer, the latest releases go to the new sign-ups, in order to hook em. Since they don't have the copy depth that blockbuster has, that's what they've been forced to do. Also, blockbuster uses their larger stores to ship online movies as well, netflix just doesn't have that flexiblity. That, coupled the fact that however many onlines you recieve is how many free in store rentals you wil get makes blockbuster the more lucritive choice in my opinion. The only thing that I liked better than BB was that ablity to create more than one queue on an acct. w/ NF.

P.S--My BB onlines arrive usually in 1-2 business days--not sure what were taking yours so long, Shawn. I'd be frustrated too.

December 5, 2006 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Hey Terry,

Thanks for the tip on that about Netflix. If that's the case maybe switching is better. I did email Blockbuster about the shipping delays, but the response from Kristine at BB Online was essentially a standard copy and paste email about movies in my queue when I didn't even ask about my queue. Needless to say, she didn't help much :-)

December 5, 2006 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

For anyone who wants to try Blockbuster Total Access one month free trial (3 DVD out at a time plan) go to www.blockbuster.com/bbfamily
use promo code: 1557ta

Happy Holidays

December 28, 2006 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Brandon said...

I’m having the same problem with the Total Access program. I switched to it from Netflix because I didn’t like how it took netflix anywhere from 2 to 5 days to recieve the movies I mailed out. I always thought it odd that when they shipped a DVD I got it the next day but when I mailed my DVD back it always took much longer for them to recieve. I didn’t care so much so that I could get a free in store rental, although that is pretty cool, I cared more so that if I returned the online rental to the store that the next movie would ship right away. Fact of the matter is if I return an online rental to the store it takes anywhere from 2 to 5 days for the next movie to ship anyway. For example, today is tuesday, I returned a movie to my local Blockbuster store last friday. Not only has the next DVD still not shipped out but the one I returned on friday has been removed from my que indicating that it has already been mailed out from the blockbuster store and recieved in the wherehouse. I’m on the 2 DVD rental program and right now it’s indicating that I only have one DVD shipped. And to add to the frustration that one DVD in my que I already returned to a Blockbuster store yesterday morning.

And yes I called their customer service center to complain. Their number was busy the majority of the times I tried to call and when I did get through the wait time was 22 minutes. The lady on the phone offered to send me a free in store rental coupon which I declined because that really offers me no solution to the true problem of the DVD’s shipping right away. I never use my in store coupons anyway because I don’t want to rent movies from the store because it’s a pain for me to return them on time. The only other thing she could offer me was a futal attempt to adjust my expectations. That kind of ticked me off.

To test to make sure that the people in the store are scanning my DVD’s that i’ve been returning i’ve been renting a movie in the store with the DVD return and just dropping the in store DVD in the return slot on the way out. That hasn’t helped.

So due to all this I intend on canceling my blockbuster account and going back to netflix not just because of these problems alone, but because i’ve had 3 DVD’s at the top of my que that haven’t shipped due to being on short wait availability. All these problems combined have caused blockbuster to be a much worse service for me than Netflix. Worst thing is I know that I could complain all day and all night to them and it would yield no result. Trust me I really really want what blockbuster says they’re offering. But they are promising something that they clearly are failing to deliver.

January 23, 2007 at 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never have to wait longer than 2 days to get my movies from Blockbuster Online after returning them to the store. I'd imagine that delivery times depend on where you live to some degree. I live in Tampa, FL, what about you guys?

February 1, 2007 at 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It used to take 1 day for me to get movies from Blockbuster through the mail. Then, I switched from the 1 at a time plan to the 2 at a time plan. Now it takes 3 days or more to get them in the mail. This effectively means that I'm paying for 2 at a time but really only getting 1 at a time. This does not make me a happy customer...

February 3, 2007 at 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the free in-store movie rentals part of Total Access adds any value to the program. The reason people chose to go with Netflix in the first place is that they don't want to have to drive to the store to rent a movie and then drive back to return it. Blockbuster blew it, if they really wanted to have a better service they should not only allow customers to return a mailer movie to the store to get another movie, but also allow them to mail the movie (one they got from the store) back if they don't feel like driving back to the store to return the movie.

February 4, 2007 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

I've been a member of Netflix for 3 years now and recently switched to Blockbuster. Netflix doesn't treat it's old customers right by not allowing us to get new released and purposely delaying shipments if we return the movie to fast.

Over the last month, i've rented more movies from BB 3-at-a-time plan than Netflix 8-at-a-time plan, not to mention I'm actually able to get new releases in the store. If you stay close to a blockbuster store, switch!

Oh, bb doesn't charge late fee's anymore unless you keep the movie for two weeks! NO LATE FEES for two weeks!

March 2, 2007 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Adrian -

Funny that you mention that because I started renting entire seasons from Netflix, so usually shipping the dvd's back the next day. So I'm on a 6 at a time plan, and just recently they've not been sending out the new ones the same day they receive the old ones even though it says 'available now'.

So I guess it's starting to happen to me too. Does it take longer to get the movies from Blockbuster?

March 2, 2007 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I started off going to my local Blockbuster store to use my monthly coupon for a game rental. But when I went to check out, they wouldn't let me rent the game because I didn't have a major credit card on file. This really pissed me off. I understand that dishonest people have not returned these expensive games, but I shouldn't be penalized for not **choosing** to have a major credit card. My household income is way over six figures and the only thing that we pay for with credit is our home and a car. Everything else is with cash. Being a Total Access online member with my debit card on file and with reoccurring monthly charges isn't enough? Denying me a game rental because of this store policy was enough for me to say no more... I may reconsider if this policy changes in the future. But until then, NO

As far as movies go.. I prefer Netflix as I have tried both services. I have been a Netfix customer for 2 years. Netflix has more detailed reviews, new releases usually ship immediately once released, and movie turnaround is usually within two days in my area.

March 3, 2007 at 1:27 AM  
Anonymous josh said...

When I switched from Netflix to BB in January I was a little disappointed. I was used to getting my movies shipped quickly, and it took about 4 days to send a movie after I returned it to the store!

But lately they've gotten a lot better. Since a few weeks ago, it seems I can return a movie at 10:30 pm and another one gets shipped out the next day, so with 2 movies at a time ($15/mo) i can essentially get 8 movies per week, which is amazing.

The only thing I'd like to see from blockbuster that netflix has is an RSS feed of movies in your queue, but I assume they'll catch on eventually, and for now I can deal without it.

March 16, 2007 at 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then don't drive a hummer you idiot. anybody that drives a hummer and complains about gas clearly does not know the value of money. If you have money for the hummer... Just get 2 plans ... or have your butler go to blockbuster. In conclusion, stop using up US gas with your gas guzzling hummer!!

July 18, 2007 at 8:08 AM  

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