Subscribe to
NSLog(); Header Image

Blockbuster vs. Netflix

A friend of mine was using Netflix but has switched to Blockbuster's rental service. For those who have tried both, which do you like and why? I don't see much difference at face value: both are $17.99 for 3-at-a-time rentals.

16 Responses to "Blockbuster vs. Netflix"

  1. I tried Blockbuster's online service a few years back when it was in its infancy. The catalogue wasn't anywhere near as extensive as Netflix's and it took movies longer to arrive. I've heard that Blockbuster has since opened up more shipping centers, so it could be that the shipping times have gotten better. However, I'm really happy with Netflix, so I won't be switching anytime soon. I especially like Netflix's very extensive catalogue and the recommendation system.

  2. i just cancelled blockbuster a couple weeks ago and just started netflix. so far netflix is 10 times better. blockbuster got slower than hell and right during their slowness they almost doubled their cost. netflix has a shipping center in pittsburgh, so i'm getting movies a day earlier than their emails expect them to get there. and returning movies is usually a day for me.

  3. Having used both and currently working for one of them, here's what I think of both. First of all, their catalogs are almost identical but in sheer numbers Netflix as more. The website navigation on both are essentially the same.

    - Faster delivery, more exclusive titles and content on DVDs, more affordable price points, RSS feed and better interactions with other members.
    - Infamous for "throttling" active members.

    - Two free movies each month in store as well as different coupons for discounts for various things in store, delivery from local stores as well as distribution centers, chances for free or reduced months galore.
    - Slow delivery if not in a major city, still working the kinks out.

    Basically, if you know you're going to go in-store and use the coupons, Blockbuster is more cost effective. If you had to pin me down, I would go to Netflix if nothing else then they are faster and seem to have a better handle on what to do with their business.

  4. I prefer Netflix. The catalog is better and their mailings are quicker. I get 24 hr turn around from them.

  5. My specific reasoning for switching was that I took advantage of the $9.99 intro from Blockbuster. I didn't want to pay both so I figured worst case was that I would just switch back to Netflix in a month. Anyway, after having been a member of Blockbuster for over a month now, I am sticking with Blockbuster for now.

    Here are my observations (remember, this is 3+ years of Netflix vs. only 30 days of Blockbuster).

    Netflix: In my 3+ years of Netflix, I have ranged from 3-at-a-time to 8-at-a-time. I probably averaged 4-at-a-time. Taking the Netflix History Analyzer, my average cost was about $1.55, keeping each one an average of 5 days. I averaged 15 a month (vs the 26 a month it says I could have gotten). Anyway, I do not care about the things like RSS feeds, extensive catelogs, etc. There is no doubt that Netflix has the better site, but again, that is irrelevant to me - I just want the movies. 75%+ of the movies I get are the new releases. For me, Netflix was terrible with new releases. If you didn't time your returns right, you missed out. For me, I had to return on Friday or Saturday to get the new ones sent out on Monday. Thus there was a trade-off. Watch the movie during the week and get the new release next week or keep the movie over the weekend and miss out on the new releases. I usually kept a least one movie in the new return cycle. If I missed that, I always got "long wait" all the time and pretty much had to give up on that movie for a couple months. Over my three years, about 8-10 movies have got lost in the mail and Netflix never charged me for them (I swear I would have quit if they did - just because I knew it wasn't my fault). However, Netflix says they are #1 in Customer Satisfaction - not to me. They make it extremely difficult to contact someone and I have never been happy with the responses I got when I did. Also, to me, the online help system did not provide useful answers at all. The one significant advantage of Netflix for me was that they always sent me the top movies in my queue (if they were available), even if they were from a different distribution center and I got ones from as far away as Arizona in a couple days. Overall, I was highly satisfied with my Netflix membership.

    Blockbuster: I am currently on the 3-at-a-time plan. My first month was at $9.99 of which I got the two in store rentals which basically paid for the monthly membership right there. Overall, I rented 17 movies online plus the 2 monthly in-store rentals for a total of 19 in the month. I can't really speak about delivery time comparisons yet. I do know that Netflix always got me the movies the next day. With Blockbuster, if I sent three movies back on Saturday, all three movies would be received on Monday and three new ones would be sent out same day. However, I would only get 1 or 2 on Tuesday and the other(s) would not reach me until Wednesday. However, it seemed like Blockbuster had Saturday shipping/receiving which Netflix did not appear to have. One downfall for Blockbuster is that they are not sending me the top three movies in my queue for the past 3+ weeks. I admit they are older ones (History of the World Part 1, etc.) and they are not "as readily available" in my local distribution center. When I signed up for Blockbuster, I was told a couple stores in the area help supply movies as well, but not sure what he meant by this. Anyway, they clearly state this is their policy. I guess that is what the in-store rentals are for. There was one problem for about a week where my third movie was not shipping. I think it went bad on a Tuesday and they said they would have it fixed by Wednesday/Thursday. However, they didn't ship out my third movie until Monday. The online help did gave me a response that this was a technical problem and they expected to have it fixed. There were a couple of questions I had that I found adequate help with in the online help. I have not had to actually contact customer service yet, but it does seem much easier to do so. Blockbuster looks like it is going to keep my entire history online vs. the 90 days with Netflix (does anyone have experience with this?). Again, most of my interest in the New Releases and Blockbuster seems to be much better in this area as I haven't seen too many movies with short or long waits. There were a couple instances where I missed a movie one week, but got it the next week which would almost never happen for me with Blockbuster...

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble..this is why I don't comment...

  6. I have used both for more than a year. I used Netflix early on and now I am using Blockbuster. I have also commented on this before. I like Blockbuster better now, and I would recommend it for people with spur of the moment personalities who typically watch the newest releases. I would also recommend it to people who like video games a lot. You can use your coupons to have a video game out from Blockbuster almost every day of the month... just keep them two weeks.

    If you really see yourself as a documentary lover, or into foreign films, art films, etc... the long tail of the movie market... then Netflix is the obvious choice.

    Another cool thing about Blockbuster is that you can sometimes actually get the stores to help you out with defective/broken discs. This happens with either service, and Blockbuster "officially" says that you can not seek service for the online program through the stores. I have had defective discs, gone into the stores, and asked the people in the store to help me out with my situation. I have always gotten the "we can't/don't do that line" at first. But assuming that the clerk is a decent person who also likes movies, I just kinda act bummed and tell them about how I watched this or that amount of the movie, and really wanted to see the rest tonight... not four days later. Or I just reply to their comment of "we can't do that" with a confident/inquisitve "can you anyway?"

    This turns out to be a beautiful thing, because it has alway worked, it's always kinda thrilling for the Blockbuster employee, and any guests I have over at the time, and the emploees feel like they are being helpful which is a plus.

    I think that Blockbuster would be the way to go for Erik, but I have used Netflix too and know that it is far better than Blockbuster in its areas of strength. Blockbuster will catch up though, and I am locked in at $14.95/month until 2007 or something, so I plan to stay where I am.

  7. I have been a customer to both NetFlix and Blockbuster. I started by using Netflix for about 1 year and was very happy with the selection and promptness of Netflix receiving movies returned and sending new rentals. In Nov 04 i cancelled Netflix to save a few bucks a month. When I was ready to start renting again I joined Blockbuster because I thought the coupons for 2 free rentals a month would come in handy. I filled my queue at Blockbuster and started receiving movies. It appeared they were always less efficient at receiving movies I returned and sending new movies. Netflix would receive a movie and send an email confirmation, within 2-3 hours I would receive a confirmation that the next title was sent and I would receive it within 2-3 days. Now Blockbuster would receive my disc and send a confirmation email but it would take much longer for them to send out the next title, many times it would take 2-3 days and sometimes longerbefore they would ship the movie and 2-3 more days to receive it. I was so frustrated that I started a spreadsheet logging dates sent, returned, received etc. I am always good about watching movies the same day I receive them and returning them the next morning. I have stuck with Blockbuster because I'm locked in currently at the $14.99 price and didn't want the increased price to return to Netflix. After reading the recent articles about NetFlix users getting blackballed (throttled) for returning movies too quickly I have finally realized that Blockbuster is doing the same thing. They will not mark a disk received when it was or they will not ship a new title quickly to slow down the rental process. So if you return movies as quick as you receive them expect to have the same issue with Blockbuster as with Netflix

  8. I don't know about Netflix, but I agree that Blockbuster services sucks and it doesn't worth it to have them even it is free


    Well I was with Netflix but cancelled before the trial ended so that I didnt experience the horror stories posted here. However, I got pulled in by Blockbusters boast of better service and FREE instore rentals offer just like everyone else here. I can assure you they are no better they are also a bunch of liars and scammers. First of all in about a month I have only received 2 movies although I am on the Unlimited one at a time plan and the turnaround time is crap as was mentioned. Secondly, they are not sending my movies in the order of my Queue and some movies that they advertise on the website are either not available or they have to go elsewhere to get them. So whats the point of even having the Queue or the service? As for the free coupons well they are not incentive enough to deal with the headaches and besides that I am a member of Blockbusters Rewards which I joined at my local Blockbuster store. I only had to pay a ONE TIME $10 membership fee and I get 2 FREE RENTAL coupons for EACH MONTH for a year anyway. So to Hell with the Blockbuster Online Free rental coupons believe me they are just not worth the headache.

    In addition, The center that I return movies to is in Philadephia, PA its a PO Box and less than 20 miles from me. It should never take more than 2-3 days for them to get movies. During the trial they shipped out movies to me immediately but alas as soon as I became a paying member they have only excuses and delays.

    What is worse is that I contacted Customer Service to complain and threatened to Cancel my service and to deter me from doing this they put my account on hold and are not shipping me any more movies they are claiming that they didnt get the DVD that I mailed back to them over a week ago. Which is a damm lie. I have shipped previous movies to them from the same location and they always get it within a few days. I have emailed over 3 different Customer Service Reps none of them were helpful or have any clue. If you prefer to speak to a live person here is the contact number: 1-866-692-2789- customer Service

    I was even told by one Rep that even if the title of the movie matches the sleeve it is my responsibility to verify that the numbers match on the sleeve and the Disc surface. Well needless to say I gave him a peice of my mind and threatened to Contact Corporate. They are in my opinion full of $#!+. And trust me I plan on cancelling and aint a damm thing they can do about it. There might be no legal entity that will stand up to Blockbuster but they are not above the Laws of this Land! I strongly advise everyone who has been victimized to contact the governmental FTC and file a complaint and to do so NOW.

    Soo many customers have done this with Cingular Wireless that I heard over the news this weekend that their shady practices have finally caught up with them and they have been investigated and ordered to pay upwards of 12million dollars out because of fraudulent business dealings with Customers. Horray for Justice!! lol

    In the end my strong advice to everyone even if you are considering joining for the free coupons is to just save yourself a lot of headaches and avoid Blockbuster Online altogether.

    OH FYI I thought I would post the Corporate office's info and contact info. Pass this on to everyone you know who has been scammed by Blockbuster.

    Blockbuster Inc.
    Contact: Chairman and CEO John F. Antioco
    1201 Elm St.
    Dallas, TX 75270 (Map)
    Phone: 214-854-3000
    Fax: 214-854-4848

  10. I'm a member of blockbuster. I used to have the 3 at a time plan back when it was 14.95, but had to quit when I went to college because of the school mail system the turn around time was crap. However, for the summer i'm a 9.99 1 at a time blockbuster member. I've had the service for about 2 months. I get the one free rental a week and return my movie a day or two after I receive it. So far I have gotten about 6 movies both months in the mail. That's 6 + the 4 instore for 10 movies a month. A dollar a movie and i almost always get the top movie in my queue.

    The only problem i've ever had with blockbuster is when I quit after about a week they charged me for my movies and said if i sent them back they would refund me. I sent them back and no refund so I had to go through customer service, but after that they quickly refunded my charge. The customer service was pretty easy to reach.

    My distribution center is charlotte and I live about 2 hours away. I always get my DVDs either the day after they ship or 2 days after (2 days is always my predicted time).

  11. Today, Friday the 13th, 2006 I became convinced just how inept Blockbuster is; I received Back to the Future, the first episode. This was to have been a replacement for the same disk I received last week. However, since it was a damaged disk, the evening of movie fun for my family was ruined.

    Today, when I received the replacement, I decided to check the disk before having another fun evening ruined.

    Imagine my profound feelings of disappointment when I discovered that Episode 2 was shipped inside the sleeve marked #1.

    Sure it's a small thing...unless you condier that that it is this chronic inattention to detail that determined my decision to cancel.

    When one undertakes to provide family entertainment then one is honor-bound to fulfill that promise. Blockbuster's constant failure breaks that contract.

    Over the last 3 months I have received an average of 35% damaged and unplayable disks.

    Honestly, oather than the foolish belief that the flowery apologies sent me were sincere, I don't know why I endured it.

    Consider, if you went to a movie theater and the film continually broke or was not the film advertised, and your entertainment plans had to be scrapped, again and again, and again, and long would you continue to go?

    As Technical Director in charge of training projectionists and implementing standards and practices for the Tropic Cinema Theater in Key

    West, I do know something about keeping and honoring the public trust. Apparently, Blockbuster does not.

    I made simple suggestions on how to avoid these problems; beginning with checking and cleaning the disks when they were returned instead of only bothering to physically inspect them if/when a customer complained.

    I received more flowery promises that the "situation would be given careful consideration."

    This, I quickly learned is corporate-speak for "Yeah...sure."

    Funny thing; the after-incident follow-up queries I was sent provided no areas for: failed to solve the problem, rather they were concerned with--and I am not making this up--whether or not the e-mail responses were grammatically correct and had typographical errors.

    To sum it up: would I ever rent DVDs online from Blockbuster again? Sure...just as soon as the ice-skating rink in Hell opens a prayer chapel.

  12. [...] Blockbuster vs. Netflix [...]

  13. I've used both over the years and have settled with Blockbuster.

    Netflix slows down after the first 1-2 months on new releases and i have the option with blockbuster to get them in store using my return envelop (bonus rental), doubling my rentals.

    A recent added benefit that will become less of one once well known is that you get 1 free game rental (value of 5-10) per month also.

    Both are good but Netflix is a little too confident at this point and needs to raise the bar again as block buster is performing as well if not better (get rentals one day after sent just like netflix).

  14. [quote comment="33995"]Netflix slows down after the first 1-2 months on new releases…[/quote]

    I think that's an old misconception. I've never had a problem with Netflix and new releases.

  15. I have blockbuster. My complaint is that they dont send movies in order. I generally rent seasons of TV shows. I prefer to watch each season in order. I hate it when I am on season 3 and they start sending me disks from season 7 even though the earlier ones are listed as available. To combat that, I now only have 1 season on my queue. They will be forced to send me the right disks.

    They also have a problem in paying attention to what they are doing. I once got the exact same disk 3 times. I reported it as the wrong disk. The 2nd time I did the same but changed what it said on the sleeve to reflect what it really was. The third time I wrote on the sleeve and the outside envelope "this is the wrong disk you idiots". I didnt get the wrong one again.

    I was told at the store that if you get the wrong disk or it is cracked to scratch out the bar code on the outside envelope. That forces them to actually open it up and look at what it is. I also write on it that it is wrong or cracked so no one else will have to put up with the wrong thing.

  16. I have used both Netflix and Blockbuster, and currently I am a a Blockbuster subscriber. THE GOOD. Netflix has a very nice web site and easy navigation, which is easier that Blockbuster. For example, with Netflix, you can divide the number of movies received between different users. If you have 3 movies, you can have two movie queues, and one person can receive 2 movies, and the other can receive 1. Blockbuster does not have this feature.

    For a few independent films, they seem to show up more quickly in Netflix. The eventually show up in Blockbuster, but appear first in Netflix.

    Delivery times. I live downtown in a large urban city, and my delivery times for both Netflix and Blockbuster are about the same. I would estimate that 90% of all films are delivered the next day.

    Other Features. Blockbuster offers Saturday shipping. There are four blockbusters within 3 miles of where I live. With the Saturday shipping, I can return a movie envelope to the store on Friday, pick-up a new movie at the store for the weekend, and a new movie will be shipped on Saturday for Monday delivery. With Netflix, I was always trying to time the mailing of the movies. If I mailed by Wednesday, I should have a new movie on Saturday. If I mailed on Thursday, I would generally get a movie on Tuesday.

    With Netfix, in 3, 4 and 5-at-a-time, and were subject to throttling. I was always frustrated by this policy. I would have paid more for a movie, and this was the main reason that I switched to Blockbuster. Netflix wants to make $2 per movie rental. The 4-at-a-time is now $24 per month. I was frustrated by the slow shipping, and I would have preferred Netflix to change its policy to 4-at-a-time/12 per month, $2 each thereafter. This would let me make sure that I still get movies without slowing my shipping, while allowing Netflix to continue to make money.

    I have had Blockbuster for about 2 years, and even though Blockbuster has gone from unlimited in-store rental returns for the 3-at-a-time plan to five in-store rental returns, I am still very happy with Blockbuster.

    Blockbuster web site. The Blockbuster web site has approved, however it is still not as good as Netflix was two years ago. The "recommendations" are horrible, and show no reference to a past rental history. Netflix, over 2 years ago, was much better. It is unpredictable, which item Blockbuster will ship from the queue.