Back in January I posted about trying out Blockbuster Online to compare it to our existing Netflix account. They offered a 2 week trial which ended today and I have already canceled my account and returned our last movie to them. I wanted to compare a few things like delivery times, movies in stock and movie selection, which we did carefully over the last 2 weeks. And obviously, I canceled Blockbuster Online per the title of my post.
Blockbuster Online supposedly had one major advantage over Netflix, in that they offered you the ability to return the mailed movies in-store in exchange for a free rental while you waited for your next movie by mail. This could effectively double the amount of movies you could get per month on their plan, for the same price as the Netflix plan. The only problem with this idea is that the Blockbuster in our neighborhood barely ever has anything in stock that we actually want to see. Sure, I could watch Heathers again, or maybe even Ghostbusters or The Mighty Ducks, but anything released in the last 6 months was not ever really available in the store. So having the ability to exchange my mailed movies in the store for a freebie wasn’t really paying off; we weren’t finding anything we wanted to watch. Strike one against Blockbuster.
The second issue was delivery time. I know some people have had problems with Netflix being slow in their delivery. In fact, my mom was getting her movies rather slowly. But us here in Los Angeles seem to get the movies in about 1 day. Netflix has 35 different shipping centers across the country, while Blockbuster only has 23. This might not seem like a big difference, but it made a difference in the shipments to us. Blockbuster took 2-3 days for each movie to get to us, while Netflix took 1. Since we are on the 1 at a time unlimited plan, this could eat into the amount of movies we get to watch each month. Strike 2 against Blockbuster.
The third strike I guess could be determined by an individual’s movie choices. Netflix just stocks more movies, plain and simple. They have most everything you could ever want to watch, and the wait for new releases is negligible at most. We add new releases when they are in the theatre so we will be closer to the front of the line when they are released on DVD. This has sped up our delivery of the new movies. Blockbuster seems to carry a lot of the “popular” titles, but they are lacking in the “not so popular, possibly independent, possibly arty” category. So for us, this was strike three.
I do encourage anyone thinking of using a DVD delivery service to try them all out and see which one works best for them. But for us, Netflix seems to be the better of the two major players. Plus, I know some personal finance bloggers have decided against using a Netflix-like service but for us, it has saved us a lot of money as we still get to see all the movies we want for the same price every month. Plus, we go to the movies less often because we can see on our account that the DVD is coming out in a month.
If anyone has any info to add, I would love to see the comments and reasons why you chose one over the other.