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Blockbuster vs. Netflix – Best Service for Movies

by Ryan Guina

Movie rentals are gaining popularity as people more frequently decide to drop premium movie channels or cut the cord on cable altogether. And it makes a lot of sense – you can get access to thousands of movie titles on demand or you have DVDs delivered directly to your door, all for the price of one month of a premium movie channel. Access to inexpensive movie rentals was one of the reasons I dropped my cable subscription.

So which options is best? The most prominent movie rental providers are Blockbuster and Netflix. They offer a wide selection of movies through both physical DVDs mailed to your door, and an online streaming option.

Blockbuster vs. Netflix – Comparing the Best Movie Services

Not too long ago, Netflix and Blockbuster were two very different companies, with Netflix exclusively offering DVDs by mail and Blockbuster exclusively offering DVDs in a rental environment. Technology and market conditions have changed both of these models and the two services became very similar to each other, with both offering a mail service and and online streaming service. Blockbuster still maintains some store front buildings, but the focus of their business now BlockBuster Total Access, which is the direct business model with DVDs and BluRays by mail and a pay as you go streaming option.

Netflix has had their own issues with the changes in technology, branding and pricing and recently split their DVD by mail and online streaming services into two different companies, each focusing on one business model. Amid strong customer backlash, Netflix quickly changed their business model back to the Netflix rand – though they continued to split the pricing model between the online streaming and DVD by mail.

The question now is: which service is better and which offers the best bang for the buck? Let’s take a detailed look at their plans and see which one is best for your movie watching needs.

Compare Netflix and Blockbuster

Let’s take a look at the three options:

Comparing Netflix and Blockbuster Blockbuster Total Access
Movie rental company Netflix Online Netflix by mail
Blockbuster Total Access*
Cost per month
$7.99 $7.99/$11.99/$15.99 $9.99/$14.99/$19.99
Blu-Ray?
N/A Add $2 per month Included
Video Games?
N/A Yes Yes
In-Store Exchange No No Yes
On-line video streaming Yes No $2.99-$3.99 each
Video Selection 20,000+ 100,000+ 100,000+
Late Fees? N/A No No
Blu-Ray? N/A Yes Yes
Free Trial? Start your Netflix FREE trial today! Start your Netflix FREE trial today! First 2 Months Half Price

Compare Netflix and Blockbuster Online Streaming

Since Netflix split into two companies, there isn’t much of a comparison between Netflix and Blockbuster, since they primarily offer two different services. Netflix now only offers unlimited online video streaming for $7.99 per month. This is a great deal if you have a fast internet connection and a system capable of displaying high definition graphics. This could be through a PlayStation 3, Roku Box, Nintendo Wii, XBox 360, many types of Blu-Ray players, or a variety of other devices – which you may already own. There are currently over 20,000 movie titles and tens of thousands of TV shows to choose from for online viewing.

Stream unlimited movies online with Netflix

The biggest complaint I have heard about this service is the lack of top notch titles, as many new releases aren’t yet available to online customers. The most similar service to the Netflix streaming program is Hulu Plus, which is comparably priced.

Blockbuster on Demand. Blockbuster has an online streaming service, but the movies are a pay as you go service, with most movies in the $2.99-$3.99 range. You can get free movies through a trial service, or when you activate certain media players, but after that, you must pay for each title. Similar pay as you go movie rentals include Vudu and Amazon on Demand.

Compare Netflix and Blockbuster DVD by Mail

These two services are very similar – members select the movies they wish to rent and place them in a queue, then the company mails the movies to the member when they become available. Movies are mailed in a postage paid envelope and come with a postage paid return envelope for your convenience. All you need to do is watch the movie, put it in the postage paid envelope and drop it in the mail, and wait for your next movie to come. The standard features between Netflix and Blockbuster include:

  • Free shipping. Both Netflix and Blockbuster use postage paid envelopes for sending movies to and from their customers.
  • No late fees. This is one of the biggest marketing features employed by Netflix and Blockbuster.
  • Blue-Ray. Both Netflix and Blockbuster offer the next generation DVDs. The only difference is that Blockbuster includes them in the base price, Netflix charges a $2 premium for Blu-Rays. Even with the $2 premium, Netflix’s price is at par or slightly cheaper.
  • Video games. Until recently, this was a Blockbuster only advantage. Netflix will be adding video games to their service.

Differences between Netflix and Blockbuster: These two services aren’t identical though. There are some key differences:

  • Blockbuster Offers In-store exchanges. Blockbuster offers their customers the opportunity to exchange videos and games at a brick and mortar location instead of sending the movies or games back through the postal service. This allows customers the opportunity to exchange movies more quickly than they otherwise would be able to. However, this service is limited to participating locations, and a cap of 5 exchanges per month.
  • Blockbuster gets some new releases more quickly. Blockbuster has contracts with some movie distributors to receive movies more quickly than Netflix, or their other competitor, RedBox. However, not all new releases fall under this embargo.
  • Blu-Rays. Netflix is cheaper if you don’t care about the Blu-Ray experience.

Which is better – Netflix or Blockbuster?

All three of these services offer customers good value for their money, depending on their needs. A lot of people are upset at the recent changes with Netflix, but even the combined price of the DVD by mail and online service can be cheaper than the Blockbuster by mail plus two or three movies on demand. It can also be cheaper than premium cable channels. The key here is to decide which plan works the nest for you and how you watch movies and other video content.

  • Netflix is better if: You have a high speed internet connection and the ability to stream online videos – they have a larger selection of movies to choose from, and receive high ratings in most online reviews. Start your Netflix FREE trial today!.
  • Netflix is better if: You prefer having movies and/or video games sent to your door. The price is cheaper than Blockbuster if you don’t use the Blu-Rays.
  • Blockbuster is better if: You have a nearby Blockbuster store which participates in the rental exchange, and if having new releases a month earlier than Netflix is important to you.

My preference? Before Netflix split into two companies, they were the clear winner. Now it’s much closer, and with the rumors that Blockbuster will soon create a new online streaming option to rival Netflix, the choice is going to come down to who has the best content. Regardless of which one you choose, I believe all three options offer solid value, and a cheaper alternative to paying for cable or premium movie channels.

Free trial offers. Both Blockbuster and Netflix offer free or reduced cost trials, so you can always try it free to determine which company and plan best meets your needs. Start your Netflix FREE trial today!, and BlockBuster offers two months for the price of one.

Live in Canada? Check out this Canadian online DVD rental comparison.

Which service do you prefer? I’d love to hear your opinions on these services.


Published or updated February 27, 2014.
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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen

I just canceled my Netflix subscription after about four years of membership. I loved the service and was not unhappy with it. But, my husband insists on a premium cable package with free on demand movies. With so many t.v. options to choose from, I just wasn’t watching the Netflix movies as when I was single and only had basic cable. It seemed silly to keep paying for something I wasn’t using to the full extent.

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2 David

Have used Netflix for years now and would never trade it in. If we didn’t have cable, I would just up my membership to the unlimited package and watch everything I do now on DVD. They are a great service and have never had problems with them.

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3 Anna

I tried Blockbuster in the past and am currently a Netflix subscriber. I mostly use my subscription to watch TV shows on DVD and Blockbuster was horrible in this respect. They would constantly send me shows out of order. I canceled when I got disc 2, 3, 4 and sent back 4 (and put it back into my queue which was another hassle) hoping to get disc 1 which was supposedly available, only to get 5. Haven’t had any problems like that with Netflix.

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4 Ryan

deepali, I’ve also heard that about Netflix’s selection. I’m not sure about pausing the subscription though. Great marketing angle though! :)

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5 Ryan

Anna, That would truly frustrate me! Thanks for sharing. :)

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6 deepali

I like Netflix – it’s worked well for me. One thing I’ve noticed about the two is that the selections are different. I think Netflix has more esoteric movies (I like foreign documentaries).

Netflix also lets you put the account on hold for 90 days, which was great while I was busy with school. I assume BB lets you also?

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7 laura

what I like about netflix is the wide variety of movies avaialble. I don’t watch new releases or big blockbusters, but rather tons of documentaries, foreign films and independent films. I find that netflix’s offerings provide a wider scope of variety of choices than blockbuster.

Also . . . not sure if its still true, but didnt Blockbuster used to ‘censor’ their selections offered? i know the in store rentals sure did. Anything that had the slightest hint of well, anything, it seemed . . . just wasnt available.

Discouraging.

I’ve never had problems with Netflix, other than one DVD that arrived broken. I went back and for 2005, 2006, 2007 i added up my monthly rates and divided it by the number of movies i had rented in those years . . . and the average cost worked out to be $1.67, $1.65 and $1.59. Not a bad deal at all.

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8 Mindful-Money

Does any one know which service offer the most music/concert videos? My husband has a hard time finding these and we end up buying them.

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9 Andrea

This reminds me of a really funny video I saw recently about the way people used to rent videos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPIdTVT9VIo

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10 Ryan

Laura: Thanks for sharing. I’ve also heard that Netflix has the larger catalog – especially regarding documentaries and hard to find films. This is great for customers such as yourself. And based on the cost of your average rental, you are getting a great deal!

Mindful-Money: Based on what I have heard, Netflix is probably the better choice for music DVDs. You can try their service for free with the Netflix Free Trial Coupon Code, or you can try blockbuster free as well – Blockbuster Total Access free trial. In both cases you can end your subscription without paying anything if the service doesn’t meet your needs. Just be sure to read the fine print, because these deals are constantly changing! :)

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11 Ryan

Andrea,

That is hilarious! Thanks for sharing! :-)

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12 ubowman

I was the most loyal Netflix customer ever.
I started in Aug. 2006 with the 3-at-a-time plan. The movies always shipped so quickly! I would get it the very next day and when I would send them back, sure enough-the next day they arrived at their processing center.

I decided to play around with the other plans to save some money, tried the 1-at-a-time and it proved to be so not worth the savings. The 2-at-a-time is really the best for my personal needs and the money.

I can only speculate this but it really seems like I am being treated like a second-class customer since I bumped my plan down. The movies now take 3 days both ways. I suspect it is NOT my post office as I am in the same address and all my other mail is fine.
I am going to give Blockbuster a try as their plans are so close in price. I’m not even sure at this point if it is worth me complaining to Netflix. It is a shame that they would do this do their loyal customers.

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13 Robert Taylor

I too downgraded from Blockbuster 3 movie rentals unlimited to 1 movie rental unlimited what a joke my last rental was almost 27 days ago even though i have plenty in my queue ,I have been with Blockbuster for over 20 years and this is it for me.

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14 Ryan

ubowman: I’m sorry to hear about your recent results with Netflix. There have been a lot of cases with both Netflix and Blockbuster “throttling” customers they deemed as “power users” and were unprofitable for them. So they would limit the number of new releases they could get per month, or otherwise limit certain orders. It’s too bad those things happen.

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15 Danielle

Netflix is what I use.

You forgot one Netflix benifit (they almost took this away a few months ago but got a lot of complaints). Netflix allows you to create different profiles or queues for each person. My husband and I have our our lists and I get 1 DVD from the top of mine, he gets 1 from the top of his. When he left town for a week I just reassigned so both of our DVD’s came from my queue.

Mindful for anyone on Netflix who wants to put their account on hold (up to 90 days) or downgrade your account it does not pro-rate to take place immediately. It will take place at the next billing cycle. I missed the end of the billing cycle by 1 DAY and ended up canceling the hold becauase it would not have taken effect till the end of the next month.

Of course if you want to upgrade, it takes place immediately, you are charged a pro-rated amount for the rest of that billing cycle and they ship you 1 more DVD right away.

@ubownman – I never experienced extended delays after downgrading, but then I never got my movies next day either! It is almost always 1 business day in between from when I ship it to when I get the next one. Maybe that was just a coincidence and something else has affected the rate of delivery at the same time you downgraded?

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16 Shari Morgan

(1) NETFLIX TIP:
I discovered that if I make sure the bar codes on the DVD sleeve show through the little window on the back of the return envelope, I get my new shipments sooner. NF must scan the codes directly into their computers before someone has to open them.

(2)TIP- GET NEW RELEASES SOONER.
You can put movies in your QUEUE LONG BEFORE THEY ARE RELEASED. Keep them in your #1 spot and you’ll get your copy mailed the SAME DAY the DVD is released.

(3). My BB vs NF COMPARISON.
I’ve had both Netflix and BB for 2 years, and BB is routinely slower for me. Also, I feel like BB pulled a “bait & switch”. I started out with in-store exchanges as a free bonus, so I was ticked when I suddenly had to pay extra for it, even though I rarely used it.
I signed up for mail/download DVDs because I DIDN’T HAVE TIME to hang out at a video store, so BB’s store exchange program is not a deal breaker for me. (They’re always OUT of whatever I want anyway – whereas they’re RARELY delayed online. With NF, “long waits”, seem to come on time (or within a few days) anyway. (for me at least). I Haven’t had the same luck with BB’s “waits”.

Another NF TIP. I did discover that sometimes I have to search the name of a new release I want from NF. For some reason, they’re not always listed in their popular new releases, even though they DO HAVE the new DVD.

Bottom line. I PLAN TO DROP BB – In all fairness however, I need to point out that my BB return center in Sacramento is 100 mile away, and my NF center is only 20 miles (SanFrancisco). (Although I do get other letters from Sacto in a day). It’s possible the SACTO BB center is BUSY and UNDERSTAFFED — (and the SF NetFlix center isn’t.) So it may just be MY BB center that has delays, but I also had problems with BB’s customer service.

Anyway, that’s my personal experiences.
Hope it’s helpful to someone.
Shari

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17 Tom

My brother has NF and I have BB. I like the fact that I can exchange my DVD’s in store and watch a new movie the same day. While my brother would have to wait a couple of days to mail his movie back and hopefully get another movie by the weekend. My vote is for BB. Besides, supporting BB is good for your local economy. How many employees of NF are working in your neighborhood?

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18 Gary

I have been a Netflix costumer for 3 1/2 years with the one @ a time plan unlimited. They have been very good until lately when my queue has only new releases in it. Then instead of getting a movie, I get an email asking if I want to give a Netflix gift certificate to someone. As mention in an earlier comment, If your plan is not the more expensive one you may not get the new release movie.

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19 Ed

I’ve tried both, and think they both good, however I stuck with netflix and dropped blockbuster because of the cheaper monthly fee.

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20 Bill

Blockbuster may have fallen on hard time but their new business plan and implementation of digital services has them prime to strike. My subscription has outperformed my Netflix account as blue rays and games are both included. The delivery 28 days faster is a nice feature as well. My vizio tv just got blockbuster added as well. I say give it a try if u haven’t blockbuster is worth another look.

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21 Paul @ Sports on a Dime

Both are good options, but I like option #3 – Redbox. We don’t rent or watch enough movies to warrant the monthly fees from Blockbuster or Netflix. Redbox is a great low cost option – $1 per rental per day. They also have an online rental option where you can locate new releases and then drive to that particular place to pick them up.

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22 Ryan

Paul, RedBox is a great option too. Netflix is better if you frequently watch movies or if you want to add TV shows to your list. But if you only watch a couple movies a month, then RedBox is cheaper. It all comes down to your viewing habits. :)

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23 Joe

I just signed up for blockbuster online about a week ago. My parents have Netflix so I have experience with their service as well. For me blockbuster was actually cheaper and movies arrive in around the same amount of time as Netflix. Around 1 day there and 1 day back. I live within 1 shipping day of Blockbuster’s Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA warehouses.

I rent only blu-rays for my 55in so this is how the price breaks down for me. Yes they have the plans advertised on their site but they also have plans that don’t include in store exchanges which I will be quoting. You have to call them to get these plans. They do still offer them as of March 2011 when I signed up. The call them the “by mail” service. Blockbuster includes blu-rays in their normal plan whereas Netflix charges extra. This is how the pricing breaks down:

1 DVD Netflix $9.99
1 Blu-ray Netflix $11.99
1 Blu-ray Blockbuster $8.99

2 DVD Netflix $14.99
2 Blu-ray Netflix $17.99
2 Blu-ray Blockbuster $13.99

3 DVD Netflix $19.99
3 Blu-ray Netflix $23.99
3 Blu-ray Blockbuster $16.99

As an added bonus I also get console games for my ps3 and xbox 360 with the blockbuster service. I’m not sure why more people don’t have the blockbuster service. It’s really an excellent value compared to netflix, redbox and others. I suppose their marketing guy is an idiot since they don’t advertise the cheaper plans I’ve mentioned.

In regards to streaming, I use my parents Netflix account to stream instantly since you’re not really tied to a geographic location with that part of the service so it’s easy to share. I’m an amazon prime customer too and can stream the free movies on my tv available to my prime account. Between those 2 things streaming isn’t an issue at all for me.

I’ve had the blockbuster service for about a week. So far I like what I see. I’ll have to see how it goes.

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24 Ryan

Thanks for the feedback, Joe. How you use the service depends on which deal is better. The Blu-Rays and Games make a big difference for a lot of people. I don’t personally have a gaming system, so it isn’t a deal breaker for me – but I can understand why it is a better value for many others!

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25 Chris

I have used both services and have had a problems with neither they are both great services. As it stands right now i am a member of both i have been a netflix member for about a year now and a blockbuster memeber for about three months now i am going to cancel the netflix service this month not because i dont like it but because blockbuster works better for me with the 2 at a time price of 16.99 because i am an avid gamer so with the addition of games as well as movie rentals it is the right way to go and so far i love it have had no problems with shipping or bad discs. The only thing wierd that i have encountered from BB is that just recently they sent me 2 movies and 2 games so i have 4 discs out right now im just guessing glitch but hey im not complaining. SO my vote is for BB!

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26 Michael

Maybe I am missing something whenever I read about the comparison between Blockbuster and Netflix, but I keep seeing Netflix being listed as having a better selection. That may be true if you are only discussing the DVD selection, but what about streaming and downloading? Maybe I am the only impatient person on earth, though I doubt it based on watching other drivers on the road. I want my movies now… when I am in the mood to watch them. Not tomorrow or the next day. Besides, I have a three year old… how do you tell them that they can watch Dora two days from now?

From my research Netflix seems to have an almost nonexistent selection of new releases as part of their Watch Instantly feature… to the point that I can’t believe it doesn’t bother anyone else. The new release selection seems awfully pathetic at best. Now I see why they charge only $7.99 a month for the streaming only… I am not even sure the selection would be worth that price. The bummer is Blockbuster seems to have a great new release selection for On Demand viewing, but then I have to pay $3.99 a movie for only 24 hours of viewing! Seriously?! I think both companies are in need of serious makeovers when it comes to the instant (streaming) options.

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27 Kevin

I have been both a Netflix and Blockbuster subscriber. In fact, my better half and I both had a compitition over this. I wanted Netflix, she wanted Blockbuster. So for a year, we paid for both.
I have to say, after a year of comparison, HANDS DOWN, Blockbuster is better.
For one thing, we, like most people, have switched to a Blueray player. Blockbuster let us switch our format for free. We get all the blueray titles we want for free. Netflix wanted to charge us.
Also, when streaming online, Blockbuster has far more titles available. And they have all the new movies available for streaming. Netflix has a bunch of old movies we have already seen before. And, trust me, when you just “got-to-have” that movie right now, it is so nice to be able to hop down to our neighborhood Blockbuster and switch out a few movies for a nice cozy Saturday night.
So, I guess I should say, I started a Netflix lover and ended up a firm beleiver in Blockbuster!

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28 kenneth

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT: people have cable AND Netflix or Blockbuster? I don’t get it, but let me approach this as a cultural anthropologist. First, I used to own two homes, still do, except that my upstate New York home is currently occupied by a renter due to my recent unemployment. In my Bronx home, I had DirecTV and in my upstate home, I had Verizon FIOS. I noticed the differences immediately – DirecTV has more of my type of channels than Verizon FIOS did such as The Documentary Channel, Free Speech TV, and offers free the Independent Film Channel. Also, DirecTV has more seasonal freebies such as premium movie channels for four months as compared to Verizon FIOS which only seemed to want to keep me in a triple play plan when I told them that I could get free phone service from google voice chat and could get a lower internet cost from Time Warner in my upstate home.

The best selling point is DirecTV’s DVR which allows me to store every stage of the Tour De France in HD AND still have space for more shows and movies to store whereas I could only record no more than 4-5 HD stages of the TDF and I would have no more space on Verizon FIOS’s DVR. When I relocated my DirecTV DVR to the Bronx, I was given 4 months free of premium movie channels where I proceeded to record over 60 documentaries, movies in HD and still have stages 4 – 19 of the TDF from last year on my DVR.

Now with that said, I have to say this: why would I need either Netflix or Blockbuster when I do not drool over new blockbusters or salivate over new releases? Ok – I love great martial arts movies. Hold up. let me go back. I failed to say that I purchased a DVD recorder in 2005. I am very serious about my time spent watching movies and make it a policy to burn 75% of what I record on my DVR to DVDs. I have amassed my own personal library of documentaries, movies and music videos which now amounts to over 3 years of non-stop movie and documentary watching. I created my own DVD library by recording movies to my DVR and then burning them on my DVD recorder.

It may take me literally years to watch something that I burned on my DVD recorder sometimes. I will read the reviews first before I record a movie. Then I will watch it (if it is good) before I burn it. If I don’t burn it, it becomes part of that 25% of which is not burned on to DVD.

Ok – now back to my point – my favorite type of movie has always been martial arts Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Donnie Yen movies that I want on DVD so that I can watch the great fight scenes over and over again. I am quite used to waiting for a Donnie Yen or Jet Li movie, sometimes for years, because they are released in Asia first and take time to re-market and re-package for the Western market. Therefore, I never wait for new releases. I never join that bandwagon because there is nothing that would make me want to run out and see it right now. (Except the 2nd Yip Man movie with Donnie Yen). I am not psychologically manipulated to see a movie when it comes to cinema or DVD because I have a deep list of movies to see, do not believe in blockbusters, never watch horror or science fiction, (even though I was a Trekkie as a child) and hate gun oriented action movies. I live my video violence ala John Woo or Hong Kong Style and American movies rarely, and I really mean almost never, measure up.

I currently have over 20-30 titles on 2 DVRS to watch so why would I want to wait for NF to mail me a new movie? And BB does censor movies and has a poor movie selection list to choose from with little foreign movie titles.

Did we also forget the public library? I noticed the movie THE ROAD with Viggo Mortenson in the public library, checked it out but didn’t get the chance that weekend to watch it and returned it on Monday. Then it came on my free premium channel for three months offer. I still didn’t have time to watch it so I just recorded it on my DVR, burned it on DVD and stored it in my movie library to watch when I run out of movies to watch. I could take me the rest of the year to watch it because my first order of movie watching is for documentaries first, movies second and now with the Documentary channel, the Vanguard series on CurrenTV and Free Speech TV showing documentaries, I am in documentary heaven recording at least 1-2 documentaries every one to two days. I have compiled a massive documentary library and this was BEFORE the documentary channel existed. Oh, I forget LINK TV also shows great documentaries and movie and is commercial free on DirecTV and not on Verizon FIOS.

I have a taste for foreign films, documentaries and independent films and do not go for Blockbusters nor can I see the point of waiting for DVDS in the mail when I have access to video on demand with free movie selections. Did I say video on Demand with Direct TV whereas I have now started to record movies that I always wanted to put on DVD? For instance, I can search for Denzel Washington and come up with at least 10 movies on DirecTV, program them to be downloaded to my DVR and burn them to DVD at my convenience, which is what I have started to do since DirecTV made its 6,000 movie library available.

Now, I have three DVRs and hundreds of movies recorded waiting for my viewing. Why would I have to use Netflix or Blockbuster for movies?

Now, let me set everyone straight – whenever I can’t watch Showtime’s Dexter, I simply watch it over the internet for Free. That is right, and I don’t mean paying for it either, or on HULU either. Did I mention that you can see documentaries online for free? and record them use the Realplayer?

Why would I want to pay NF to watch videos over the net when I can usually find them for free over the web? I did see IP MAN 2 with Donnie Yen but in Chinese with no subtitles, but I will wait for it on DVD. Uh oh – the first time I saw Ip Man was before it was available on bootleg DVD, the same with ONG BAK and BLOOD AND BONE with Michael Jai White. I purchased the bootleg DVD (great copies) and purchased the authentic DVD when it came out because I support the movie industry IF it comes on time. Blood and Bone was not released in theaters and took 8 months before the official DVD was released after I already purchased the bootleg. I hate bootlegs. But if I can’t get the authentic version, I buy it until I can and this was the case with Ong Bak. I waited for 2 years and Blockbuster didn’t have it, had never heard of it when I already had a bootleg before they put it in their TO BE RELEASED category.

To sum it up, one doesn’t have to use NF and BB if one makes smart use of cable TV and DirecTV is the hottest of them all, hands down. Yes, I hate how their prices go up after one year, but they do take care of you with freebies. I am not into disposable time or movie watching and would rather create my OWN video library. I would never see any of the Pirates movies because that fantasy doesn’t appeal to me but I would record documentaries and martial arts movies that are great to watch and see again and again. I cannot see having multiple media access – oh, I forgot to say that the new DirecTV provides you with access to view YOUTUBE. This is great. So now I have another portal to view documentaries and short movies – and now with YOUTUBE offering to show movies, it is a wrap.

Why would I need Netflix streaming video or BB when I can now view movies over the web with YOUTUBE or DirecTV’s massive movie library? The future is intelligent media control and I have it. I like to say that I would not want to waste time watching a movie that I would not keep a copy of and I keep 90% of my documentaries and 30% of the movies that I record to my DVR to be burned on DVD for my media library. I even have more documentaries on my laptop which I easily connect to my 52 inch flat panel TV and surround sound system. So I am way ahead of this game.

Let the new media revolution begin with control. Anyone want a copy of last year’s Tour De France without the commercials? I have it. Every stage. How about the NBA Finals without the commercials? Got it. Great documentaries? I have over 1000 hours of documentaries from LINK TV, the Documentary Channel, Current TV, National Geographic, Free Speech TV and the Sundance Channel and IFC.

List of documentary sites:

topdocumentaryfilms.com has over 1000 documentaries, when I first went to the site, they only had a little over 800 three years ago.
graboid.com Download movies, docs and more and get the first four gig of download for free. Because of this site, I discovered the documentary sites.
documentaryheaven.com/documentary-list/ Documentary Heaven was set up early July 2009 to provide the public with a vast collection of documentaries spanning across every genre out there.

Ok – I did get a nasty virus when I tried to watch the fifth season ending episode of Dexter for free after I had already watched all of the previous episodes. But now I know where to watch it for free now. However, make sure you have a powerful anti virus software before you go searching for docs online.

Hope I satisfied everyone’s need for better media.

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29 Ryan

Kenneth, thanks for sharing your tips. I think your long comment best proves the point that what works for one person may not work best for another. For example, I have no problem spending $8-10 a month on Netflix, and supplementing that with over the air TV and movies from the library. But I don’t feel the need to pay for cable or satellite TV because I don’t need that service. In the end it’s all about finding what works best for you.

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30 Elizabeth

I heard that Netflix is changing up their monthly plans? I head that they will be raising their prices to stream+mail options…is this true? Making your $9.99 monthly plan upwards of $14.99?

A lot of people are dropping their Netflix memberships and beginning to use Redbox!

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31 Mary

I’ve been a Netflix member is 2002 and I’m actually considering switching to BB. I’m on a 2 wk trial with BB and they ship fast, but the best part is they have new releases so much sooner. If I forget to mail ‘em in, I can just go to local BB to switch them out. The thing holding me back? I’ve had a grudge on BB for the years …. with their late fees. Remember those? If you didn’t turn it in by noon, you’d get charge an extra 5 bucks? Hated them! Should I switch…. I just don’t know. (And now I have to pay extra for streaming with Netflix)

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32 Tim

Netflix rates are going up to include streaming. I am now paying around $25 a month (too much). I am considering canceling my subscription and changing to blockbuster or just pay for movies on demand (cable). Netfilx is turning out to be a money pit. You may want to look at your statements because they don’t notify you of the change, it just appears.

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33 Brad

You forgot Red Box, which is the cheapest and best alternative, in my opinion. At $1 per movie, whenever you want, it’s the best value. Red Boxes are spreading, and are already widely available at many supermarkets, drug stores and megaboxes like Walmart.

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34 Ryan

RedBox is awesome, though the selection can be hit or miss at times. If you are a frequent RedBox user, then sign up for their text message alerts – they give one free rental per month. You can also get free rentals through their site in other ways such as, liking them on FaceBook, opening an account, and other special promotions. more info on RedBox Free Rental Codes.

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35 Brad

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that your local public library carries thousands of dvds for FREE. That’s actually where I get the majority of movies that I watch. I haven’t paid for a movie for more than four years since I discovered this option. Once a week, I go to the library, pick up 8 or 10 movies, and I am set for the week. You can also order whatever movie you want through the inter-library loan system, if your local branch doesn’t have what you want. My library never seems to run out, and it constantly adds new titles. It is rich with foreign films, documentaries, TV series, self-help and the usual Hollywood stuff, both old and new. Go and check out your local library people. And they also carry something called BOOKS, which are always far better than any movie from Netflix, BB or Qwiskster!!

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36 David

I just signed up to Blockbuster to compare it to Netflix/Qwickster. Here’s where Blockbuster fails to impress. I signed up for the 3 DVDs at a time plan, added seasons 3, 4, and 5 of Dexter to my queue. Rather than send the first 3 DVDs of season 3 to me, they sent the first disc of each season to me. Utterly worthless. There seems to be no way to arrange the queue such that you get TV shows in order.

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37 Ally Kirbs

Yeah I’d have to go with netflix par for par overall their methodology was built from the ground up unlike blockbluster which always had this traditional approach and didn’t really appeal after we hite the “digital” period. I think netflix’s better deals reflects its entire support structure which it’s had from the beginning so it’s hard for me to imagine that blockbuster or others could catch up so quickly. I’ve seen a gemini c group rep on this an dit was kind of supportive so I guess we”ll see. All overall I’m with nflix on this one. Good post

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38 Trev

great article. why don’t you have a date published on it? I absolutely hate when people quote old facts for current situations. No wonder people get confused on the internet…they don’t know when to realize this is old news or new news. Please Please put dates on your articles! I wish it was a mandatory thing on all websites…

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39 Kammie

My husband is a Blockbuster fan because of the blu-ray, but I prefer to order on-demand movies (we have Comcast). I read somewhere that Blockbuster was a dying company because of the ability to order movies directly from their cable provider. What do you think? Is Blockbuster (and Netflix) savvy enough to keep up with the changing technology or is it truly a dying business?

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40 Mary

I’ve had Netflix for a little over 10 years now, around when they first came out. The price that it is now with streaming and movies out is what I was originally paying for 3 dvds out at a time. Then along came blu rays and with it streaming options, but it wasn’t unlimited. Instead it was based on how much you paid and since I paid about $25 I was able to watch 25 hours of streaming each month. Then it was unlimited and I dropped down to 1 out at a time plus streaming. Then I heard that it was splitting so I went with all streaming and I picked up Blockbuster for movies. Now I’m back up to $20 with dvds and movies but now I get new releases plus all the streaming goodness that Netflix has to offer. I have no plans to cancel it seeing as in order for them to have more content available for streaming they need to have the revenue to do so.

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41 Bo

I’ve kept Netflix because the customer service is excellent.

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42 Sandi

I haven’t had netflix in a few years, but what I remember is that there was a really great selection of LGBT, Indie, and TV titles. I have recently been using the in-store only BB deal, but there is NO selection and I have run out of things to rent. I’m trying to decide if I should go for NF or BB and the only thing that is keeping me from going with BB is that I do not know about their selection. Does anyone know if they have the same titles? I am especially interested in the LGBT selection which BB does not have in-store. They don’t even carry The L Word. I do not like popular movies, but prefer indie and foreign and I tend to rent a lot of tv shows because I do not subscribe to cable. The one reason I am more heavily considering BB is because my son will want to rent video games.

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43 Adrienne

I have used both. Netflix for about 6 years. Had trouble with the mail, I suspect they were being intercepted somewhere, didn’t happen with Blockbuster though.
I turned to Blockbuster about 2 years ago, in the last 2 months there seem to be a shortage of movies. Very long wait, short wait, etc. I have a 3 out plan but have been getting 2 lately. Tried emailing my complaints but I get the same letter back stating that I should ensure that I have 10 available movies in my queue. I have over 20 movies in my queue how the heck am I supposed to know when they’re available? I don’t think they’re keeping up with the demand and yet I’m still paying for 3 at time.

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44 Jaz McPherson

NETFLIX is not what they once were. It’s not the content and it’s not the customer service…..IT’S THE STREAMING. When I first signed up, virtually no issues with “loading” or buffering. Now it seems that every show or movie I watch is reloaded at least once during the broadcast and sometimes more. I am keeping NETFLIX streaming and signing up for the blockbuster 1 at a time dvd rental package (we have a BB close by). In my opinion, they both suffer from ignoring customer needs /requirements but they are still a heck of a lot better deal than cable/SAT TV.

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45 Bon_the_vegan

I got Netflix May of 2011 and everything was fine whenever I would rent a DVD then mail it back the next day up until November that year. I live in a pretty isolated area so if I picked the 1 DVD at a time, in most cases I would get 1 DVD, maybe 2 a week and streaming isn’t an option when I can’t get Internet where I live. I think Netflix started throttling my queue when I went up to 2 DVDs at a time in September. I downgraded for month then went back to the 2 dvd option. It’s been 3 months & I still have not received the 1st DVD in my queue, which is the first DVD of a series. I called to complain & was actual told I would be moved to the top of the list, which I guess proves they were throttling me. 5 pm the day it was shipped I got an email saying it wasn’t available. I did get the 2nd DVD for the series 3 weeks ago when this happened & am currently holding it ‘ransom’ until I get the 1st disc. Doubt Netflix is bothered by this. I thought holding onto the DVD would unthrotttle my queue but the 1st DVD still says very long wait. I can’t get new releases either. I really think the whole keeping a DVD as long as you want should have a time limit. That way I won’t be told by the Netflix guy on the phone he can’t tell me when the DVD will be available because they can’t tell whoever has the DVD it must be returned within X months, at least with popular or short supplied DVDs. Last time I held onto a disc this long, Netflix filed a claim it was lost. Did I forget to mention they repeatedly charged me up to $50 one time when I tried to update my DVD options. It was explained to me it was an error with their website. I guess I will be trying blockbuster. Hopefully it’s a better experience.

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46 Nicole

Any idea when netflix will start offering games? That was one of the main reasons that I didn’t switch to just streaming

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47 TheSusan

I’m surprised people are ranking these companies on an equilateral level. While I do think Netflix really dropped the ball with the recent hike and streaming/mail plan split, and in principle they deserve to have lost hundreds of thousands of customers as they did, Blockbuster is very slow. Take it from me. I am an avid renter and I am subscribed to both services and I’ve kind of got them pat. At Netflix, 9 out of 10 times the day I put something in the mail, on the following day Netflix sends out new movies. Not so with Blockbuster. Sometimes it takes two, three, or even more days to send out a new title. With Netflix, the titles arrive on the following business day and Blockbuster takes another two three days for the mail to arrive. At one point, I had no movies ship out to me for over a week and I send e-mails to complain and I always got very general answers like, “We are sorry that you feel that way, or for their inconvenience. We will make sure to pass your feedback on and hope to serve you better in the future,” with no change whatsoever of course. If you do the math, Netflix ends up sending you an average of twice the amount of movies that Blockbuster does with their delays. I’ve also noticed Blockbuster offering some titles that were discontinued by Netflix. Most of them have Very Long Wait statuses to them and in a period of six months that I’ve been with them, Blockbuster has yet to send one of these titles, so it seems to be a bit of a scam. I think I will be canceling Blockbuster very soon since this was the sole reason I keep this account active but it is proving to be completely useless. If they are understaffed, I hope they step it up because right now.

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48 John

As a subscriber to both Netflix and Blockbuster, I have to say that at the moment Netflix is in the lead….but it isnt without its problems.

Blockbuster’s current subscription options:
1-at-a-time: $9.99 a month plus tax
2-at-a-time: $14.99 a month plus tax
3-at-a-time: $19.99 a month plus tax
This includes ‘unlimited’ rentals each month and ‘unlimited’ in-store exchanges.
So far over the past three months (August-October 2012), I have received 31 DVDs on a 3-at-a-time plan, plus 7 in-store exchanges. 5 of those movies were delayed due to being either undelivered or arriving damaged/unplayable and needing replacement (one of these movies needed to be replaced 6 times before I got a playable copy). In-store exchanges were similarly poor since my local store only allows a maximum of five exchanges a month (so much for ‘unlimited’), and they have a poor selection of older titles….many of which proved unplayable as well. Couple this with a 3 day return or a $1.49 per day late fee, and Blockbuster does leave much to be desired. However, since they offer movies I cant get on Netflix, I currently retain my subscription.

Netflix’s current subscription plan (DVD only):
1-at-a-time: $7.99 a month plus tax
2-at-a-time: $11.99 a month plus tax
3-at-a-time: $15.99 a month plus tax
They have additional options up to 8 DVDs out at a time ($43.99 plus tax), but these actually become more expensive per disc than even 3 out at a time. Between higher cost and throttling efforts, paying for more than 3 DVDs at a time seems worthless. Yes Netflix also has the streaming option for $7.99 a month plus tax, but I didnt use it enough either when it was originally inclusive with the subscription price, nor when it was obligatory under rejoining, that I was pleased to note I could cancel it and keep the DVD by mail service.

In the same three month period (Aug-Oct ’12), I have received 72 DVDs on a 3 out-at-a-time plan. I have had to return 12 movies (9 titles) back for damaged/unplayable DVDs and had only one reported as lost for not being delivered.

So while both have throttling issues as well as problems with mailing out damaged DVDs; due to being cheaper and having a faster turn-around, Netflix is currently the winner at their current subscription costs. Of course, if things improve/change, I will re-evaluate them and manage my subscriptions accordingly.

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49 Amy Jo

I have been a Netflix customer for about 8 years. I prefer Netflix. The main draw with Netflix is the streaming. I do not have DVDs mailed. I strictly watch Netflix stream. I love having the capability to watch my favorite TV shows on my big screen, my laptop or on my iPhone. I thought about Blockbuster especially when my non-technological advanced parents received a 90 day free trial with their Dish Network subscription. However, due to the pricing per download and the inability to view Blockbusters on multiple devices, I was not willing to drop my Netflix nor get Blockbuster. If I do want to watch a DVD new release, I reserve it on redbox.com and go pick it up which occurs about 2 or 3 times a month.

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50 John Bennito

While Blockbuster gets some new movies about a month earlier – it is of no use at all. I have waited well over a month in most cases for the new movies but never get them as they are shown as in high demand. I am still waiting for Men in Black 3 for several months with no signs of it showing up. All my calls to their customer service have been of no avail as they say there is nothing they can do. I have dumped their service and signed up with Netflix. I also agree with some of the others that the Redbox option is better than Blockbuster.

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51 howiebsd

I have been using Blockbuster at Home for 5 or so years. I have found that since BB has been bankrupt and my local store closed, my queue has become clogged with “high demand” movies that will virtually never ship to me. Of the 62 movies I have currently lined up, 40 are “high” or “very high” demand. These aren’t all new blockbusters: this includes movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “Cinema Paradiso”. These are not obscure films. Is the Netflix experience different?

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52 Lindy k

Where do I start re: the ineptitude of BOD? Obviously the app is not ready for the limelight. I was excited to get it for our Samsung 60″ SmartTV, and for our iPads. Signed up, then went to site to get the app. In huge letters on the Blockbuster page it says the app is for iPad, iPhone, etc. After a prolonged inability to connect to the required link and trying every imaginable different entry to it, I chatted Blockbuster support. First we verified the TV was supported. Yes, my model is on the list. Then we spent forever trying to get in until I was disconnected accidentally. Meanwhile, during troubleshooting searches, I noticed there was an issue with the app no longer ompatible with some Blu-Ray systems that had at one time been operable. Not a good sign. Finally chat a second Blockbuster person, we go through same issues, no resolution. I finally reach a THIRD techie who tells me the app does not work with iPads and iPhones. What? I tell him I am staring at their page that says to download the app for iPad Now. He says its not available yet, with no release date determined. The fact that it was up there on their page indicated something happened. OK, whatever, I can still use it on computer and Sansumg SmartTV. I simply go into the Samsung SnartTV menu and open the app, which will be there. I may have to restart the TV to see it. Easy-peasy. After repeatedly never seeing the app, I contact Samsung. Yes, the TV is on the list but they stopped supporting it for my model. WTF? Something is seriously off.

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53 Andre V.

I am a long time Netflix customer but recently I found an “issue” with Netflix. They don’t carry many blu-ray versions of older movies. For instance: try to find the blu-ray of the trilogy Back to the Future in Netflix, you won’t. Try to find the blu-ray of Finding Nemo; you won’t. Try to find the blu-ray of Don Juan DeMarco; you will not. But, if you go to Blockbuster, you can find Finding Nemo and the BTTF trilogy in blu-ray! You still cannot find DJDM in blu-ray even in BB. So, my conclusion is, if you love blu-rays, forget about Netflix and go with BB, period.

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54 Ryan Guina

Andre, I think this is primarily based on demand. There are Blu-ray editions for all the movies you mentioned, but how many people specifically request Blu-rays for those movies? On many older movies, the Blu-ray editions only add a small video upgrade, based on the resolution in which they were filmed and mastered. So in many cases, with older films, it’s about filling the basic demands. Either way, if someone is such a connoisseur, plus a large back catalog, they would probably be better off getting a basic subscription for each service so they can have access to the overlay of each competitor’s catalog, have access to new releases, Blu-ray editions, etc. This way they get double the number of movies per month and greater overall access.

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55 James

Blockbuster is SLOW SLOW SLOW at exchanges. Without a store near me, I have to rely on mail both ways. When I had Netflix, if I mailed back a DVD on Monday, I would often get the next DVD on Wednesday or at the latest on Thursday — even new releases. With Blockbuster, it takes OVER A WEEK for my next DVD to arrive, and I rarely get the “High Demand” DVDs at the top of my queue. Drop a DVD in the mail on Monday, and it’s usually not registered as received until Wednesday or Thursday. Then I wait 4 or 5 days (per my settings) for my top choices — all High Demand or greater — to be in, and they’re pretty much never in. Then Blockbuster sends me my 5th or 6th choice after waiting all that time, and by the time I receive it, it’s like Thursday of the week after I returned my last DVD. Ridiculous!

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56 Andre V.

Yes, that is a big problem for BB, it is S-L-O-W. I tested it a couple of months ago, after finding out that BB carries more blu-ray titles than Netflix, and, to be honest, I was used to Netflix, where usually I send a disc today, they receive it tomorrow and send the next one tomorrow for me to receive it the day after, so I hated BB service. They take days to acknowledge receiving the discs and days to send the next one. So I actually ended up not signing with them, after the trial ended, despite my anger at Netflix for not having the blu-rays that I want and that I know are available.

BUT, Netflix has its issues too. If you “abuse” the service, like if you return the discs too soon too often, they will soon start throttling you. They will start delaying acknowledgement of the discs and delaying sending the next one. It can get really slow too and it doesn’t take much for them to start doing it.

So, Redbox is your friend. For the most newer titles, I use Redbox. I can always find the titles nearby, it is only $1.6o, and I don’t have to wait for them in Netflix that also takes a long time to send the recent released titles.

I am thinking about paying for BB, despite its weaknesses. With BB, Netflix and Redbox, I can maybe have (almost) all I want. :-)

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57 Doug G.

I’ve used BB for a bunch of years, both by mail and for in-store exchanges. In the past couple years, I’ve seen their mail-order performance change from “pretty darn good” to “poor”. Simply put, (1) DVDs are being released in the stores while showing an “unknown” release date for mail order, (2) mail order discs often show as “High Demand” for mail order while my local store has plenty of the same title routinely in stock, (3) on the day that a movie shows to be releasing for mail order deliveries, it has several times reverted to “unknown” for mail purposes, even though it’s actually released in the store on time, and may remain “unknown” for weeks, (4) movies stay in a High Demand state for significant periods, demonstrating that they are purposely under-stocked to save them $$, and (5) discs are taking longer to arrive, suggesting that they aren’t really sending them out when they SAY they are (NOT a post office issue).

At times, I order ANY disc that is readily available, just so I can do an in-store exchange for what I want.

For older moves and TV series shows, I’ve also found that my local library may have them available for free – something to look at when BB is doing such a poor job.

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58 steve

to say Netflix streaming is like Hulu is saying you never actually used both of them. The content is entirely different and Netflix streaming is far superior to Hulu. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t work for me. If it did, Hulu is the option to go to if you have no cable and like tv shows. Netflix is fine if you enjoy watching B-movies and blockbusters you already saw by the time they are on Netflix. If you actually still have a Blockbuster store near you then it’s the better choice as you can return in store for new releases with no time limit on return. We have had Blockbuster for years and would have never gotten rid of it til this week when they announced our store is closing.

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59 Annie

I will be leaving NetFlix streaming for BB. I used to get NetFlix mailed to me, and that was okay; but since then I’ve downgraded to just streaming. And I do mean “downgraded”. They don’t even have some old films like Westworld! For crying out loud. And that one was just the most recent I discovered this morning. There are many, many more. They lack a LOT.

Also, they ask you to leave feedback about the film – a sort of review which I thought was nice – at first. Then I noticed that if another person disagrees with your review they can have it removed by hitting the “inappropriate” button. I’ve never said anything inappropriate nor used profanity of any sort and yet three of mine were removed. That’s censorship…that’s the machine becoming so odious that you really do want to place your body on the cogs, the levers, the inner workings until the machine realises it doesn’t work without you. (ref: Mario Savio). To me, censorship – particularly such unabashed censorship is the cruelest thing you can do to a person – it’s one of the last cages you can place around a person – to steal a person’s words is the worst.

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60 Ghost116

Well, I have had both services ….each for long periods of time and have found the following and give you this advice, BE prepared to switch back and forth!
One gets better than the other in cycles… For instance, if you want streaming, Netflix is the best service….. if you live any near a Blockbuster store! Bingo you have a great option at virtually double the movies through the mail system! RIGHT NOW TODAY, I have only Netflix’s streaming and Blockbuster mail program…. WHY Because in a month of having both just to test, Netflix who waits an extra month in the first place to get new releases, of all the top movies out there, I received 6 of 9 from Block buster, only 1 from Netflix with two still in both Queue’s In my opinion Netflix just isn’t retaining enough copies of top movies! Good luck

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61 pamela

I’ve been a Netflix subscriber for many, many years and have generally been happy with the mailbox service. Now, however, my returned movies aren’t “received” for two days, as opposed to one, which results in a delay of three days before I receive a replacement. Mail in Oregon reaches its destination in only one day, so I believe Netflix is throttling my account because I am a “heavy user,” pushing me to the end of the line even though I’m not selecting first-run or new releases. They guarantee “unlimited” movies, but apparently this practice is not uncommon. If it continues, I’ll be cancelling my subscription.

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