General Question

ben's avatar

Netflix or Blockbuster?

Asked by ben (8713points) May 8th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about finally getting on the mail-in movie rental bandwagon, but I’m not sure which bandwagon is best.

Details about me: I have a Mac (boo for PC-only Netflix downloads), I live near a Blockbuster and I generally go for artsy films.

I know this has been asked elsewhere, but I’m curious to hear experiences from the collective. I’m especially interested in shipping times, scratched and lost discs, and other subjective info.

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16 Answers

andrew's avatar

I’ve had Netflix for almost 5 years.

I’ve been wanting to switch to Blockbuster many, many times, but I haven’t because fundamentally I’m opposed to their business practices of editing movies and having such a poor selection. I’m not familiar with their online selection, but if it’s anything like the store, it’s awful (they don’t even carry season 2 of The Wire!). Chalk it up to foolish branch loyalty (says the man who just bought a Dyson handheld vacuum).

That said, we still use Blockbuster maybe once a month (when we’re in movie/tv watching mode), simply because the simple act of throwing the disc in the envelope has proven a big hassle.

I think it really boils down to: Are you the type of person who can plan out what you want to watch 2 days in advance? Can you consistently RETURN videos?

Otherwise, you end up the type of customer netflix loves, like me, renting something like 30 films in 5 years.

That said, Netflix has been very lenient with lost discs with me, probably because I’ve been overpaying so much.

benjamin6's avatar

i’ve used both netflix and blockbuster. i started with netflix and switched to blockbuster because i, like you, have one near by apartment. netflix is better on several fronts: netflix has a much better selection than blockbuster, which is especially important if you like artsy films (i get mainly get tv shows on dvd, which b.b. is fine for). also, the netflix site was much easier to use than blockbuster’s site. i’ve had a few scratched discs from b.b., but i think i did with netflix as well. at the beginning it took forever for b.b. envelopes to arrive, but they have improved on that (by opening more shipping locations) and now they come pretty quickly (every few days, about as quickly as netflix). that being said, the in-store-return system balances out all of these factors. it’s so convenient to drop off a movie (which they mail back for you) and get one in store plus the next movie in your queue. i’m also a mac user, so i can’t do the pc netflix downloads either. apparently, blockbuster has a new offer (at least at the branch near me) where you can pay a monthly fee (like $22) and get swap as many in-store movies as you want (i.e. eliminate by-mail completely). this might be good for you since you live close, if you like the selection at your location that is.

Riser's avatar

Might I suggest thinking outside of the “ocean” and be the Jelly that goes all digital? It’s beyond obvious that Mac is devoted to eliminating tangible discs (i.e. the missing optical drive in the Macbook Air)

Within five years we will have apple tv clones popping up at Wal Mart.

Stormcrow's avatar

@andrew BB edits their movies?

scamp's avatar

I think Netflix is much better. Their customer service is better, it costs less, and there is a much better selection. Plus I am not fond of having my information sold to other companies. Netflix has never done this, but Blockbuster has. I don’t know if Blockbuster has the instant watch feature or not, but with Netflix, you can watch some movies on your computer.
With Netflix, I get my movies on the next business day, and if I report a movie unplayable, they send a replacement out with no questions asked. I have even received a replacement before they got the damaged disc back.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I like Blockbuster more. The only reason for this is if you send a movie back fast enough you get a free in store rental. So my dad will rent three movies, burn them and immediately send them back and then get a forth one for free. We now have a massive movie collection ^_^.

iJimmy's avatar

Netflix! Being able to watch movies instanty for such a low price is great! Plus they are looking at making them available on XBox too. BlockBuster has never impressed me.

LuckVIII's avatar

tried both and find netflix overall better. Their movie selections is larger. If you want to can try their trial memberships to find out if either of them carries the movies you want. The thing that made me select netflix and not blockbuster was the turn around time. With a single movie it usually take me only 3 days to get my movie. One day to mail it, one day for them to process it, and one day I recieve it. For some odd reason blockbuster took for evereeeeeer. I would be luck to get another movie within a week. The ability to exchange a movie at the store is a nice future of blockbuster but their selection is more limited. Also netflix tends to have more copies of the movies I wanted to watch so that the waitlist for new/popular movie is not too long. Blockbuster had fewer copies so
Few that I had to wait 6 months to get a DVD release movie! Again try out both if you aren’t sure

ben's avatar

Thanks, everyone! I just signed up with Netflix—we’ll see how things go.

scamp's avatar

Happy viewing Ben!!

smilesby's avatar

Having tried both, I’d go with Netflix at the moment, especially if you have an unlimited broadband connection to take advantage of the free streaming. However, as has been said, if you have a blockbuster store nearby and think you’ll use the quick return thing, then that’s worth a look.

There are other options out there of course (no less than 18 according to but most of those are small fry or pretty niche.

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mycrazydeals's avatar

I would go with Lovefilm, so much more choice and right now they are doing 3 months special promotion.
£7.99 for the whole 3 months, unlimited dvd’s, streaming and blue rays.

If anyone is interested message me as i have the promotional code

mycrazydeals's avatar

Forgot to mention that there are over 80,000 titles to choose from.

gui_dasilva's avatar

Netflix, definitely!
You can’t go wrong by picking that. It comes out a lot cheaper than Blockbuster, really.
I’d suggest you actually subscribe for both Netflix AND Hulu. That way, you will have a SERIOUSLY wide variety of choices to watch and you’ll be entertained for days.
Trust me, Netflix and Hulu: perfect combo.


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