Netflix, Blockbuster or both?

February 14, 2005

dvd-caseOne thing I’ve noticed about Netflix, (I can’t confirm this yet) it seems they ‘scale’ back how fast the movies are delved out according to how fast you return them. i.e if you receive 3 movies and send them all back within 2 days, your third movie’s ‘return’ trip is slower than if you send them back one at a time, again I cant be 100% sure of this as I haven’t tracked it with scrupulous detail (yet). But I have noticed unusually slow delivery times, under certain circumstances lately.

So I’m going to take advantage of Blockbuster’s 2-Week free trial and compare their in-home delivery service to Netflix. Right off the bat I’ve noticed a couple of favorable things about BB’s service over NF. For starters Blockbuster rents supplement dics’s, no huge deal but you never know when you might want to watch your favorite director’s commentary on your ‘favorite movie of all time’. In addition BB also has some titles that Netflix doesn’t offer at all (I’m sure the opposite is also true).

(Correction Netflix does rent supplemental discs, I just never noticed it)

I’ve also noticed some other differences, such as ‘The Village’ which has sat in my Netflix queue for weeks, with ‘Long wait’ is ‘available now’ from Blockbuster.com, while ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ is available now at Netflix, and it has a ‘short wait’ with Blockbuster. If this is any real indication of wait times, it seems Blockbuster might be a better choice for new releases while Netflix might ship older titles faster and maintain a larger on-hand supply, of slightly more obscure titles.

But as I’ve yet to receive anything from blockbuster, this is all just speculation. Some of the first titles I rented were The Village, Ray, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Blade Runner [Director’s Cut] and Mean Creek, I’ve heard that even with BB’s arrangement with the post office, to release new titles from your queue as soon as their scanned, that their overall ship time is slower. I’ll post back soon after I get my first few titles to see how it panned out.

Netflix – Blockbuster study, update Feb.16th

Well I still haven’t received anything from blockbuster, but I did notice something interesting. Movies ordered one day after a similar set at Netflix are scheduled to be delivered a day before, so if they actually deliver as claimed I might consider both services, or bumping my Netflix plan back down to 3-at a time.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blockbuster & Netflix


Comments

  • Eduardo G.

    Some disturbing and revealing text in Netflix' New Terms of Service disclose exactly what they were sued for doing, which everyone here has experienced:
    New Terms of use for Netflix:

    In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we may utilize many different factors, including the number and type of DVDs you rent through our service, the membership plan you select, as well as other uses of our service by you. For example, if all other factors are the same, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. The type, number, mix and weighting of the various factors impacting shipping and inventory allocation will change from time to time and will be made in our sole and absolute discretion. As a result of your viewing habits and our operational practices, the actual number of DVDs you rent in any month may vary, and you may experience differentiated service during the course of your membership. Also, such service may be different from the service we provide to other members on the same membership plan.

  • Shari Morgan

    STICK WITH NETFLIX. I have had BOTH BB & NETFLIX. (3 at a time unlimited on both accounts) for ALMOST 2 YEARS.

    I HAVE DECIDED TO DROP BLOCKBUSTER – even though 6 @ time from NF cost’s a little more than my TWO plans @ 3 each.

    (1). NETFLIX TURNAROUND TIME is SO MUCH QUICKER than BB’s – I end up getting between 150% to DOUBLE the MOVIES for my money from NF. That is NOT an exaggeration. I can give you 100’s of actual return times for each. BB has more delays than a rush hour traffic jam.

    (2). Blockbuster uses “BAIT & SWITCH tactics. That alone is a good enough reason to do a switch. BB started out with nice free incentives, but quickly started charging for them. I rapidly lost the incentives and got LESS & LESS for my monthly fee (that also went up).

    (3). BB MADE LOTS OF ERRORS,& IGNORED COMPLAINTS
    Personal experience example A: Their PLAN chart clearly says that plan switches when ordering MORE DVDs will take effect immediately (LESS DVD’s – the next billing period). Didn’t work for me, even after I called & emailed BB to report it. I was basically ignored. Email went unanswered. Call never returned.

    Personal Experience example B: I had good reason to suspect some unauthorized use of my CC may have originated from either a BB computer breach or a BB employee. but when I tried notified BB – AS A COURTESY- so they could look into it, or be on a heightened alert — instead of being appreciative, they were defensive, condescending, and rude.

    I can’t believe I hung in there with BB so long. I kept hoping they’ would get better with time. My advice: Stick with Netflix. during my 2 years with them they’ve always been consistent, courteous and stable. I haven’t had a single problem with Netflix.

    Shari Morgan
    Novato CA

  • Shari Morgan

    STICK WITH NETFLIX. I have had BOTH BB & NETFLIX. (3 at a time unlimited on both accounts) for ALMOST 2 YEARS.

    I HAVE DECIDED TO DROP BLOCKBUSTER – even though 6 @ time from NF cost’s a little more than my TWO plans @ 3 each.

    (1). NETFLIX TURNAROUND TIME is SO MUCH QUICKER than BB’s – I end up getting between 150% to DOUBLE the MOVIES for my money from NF. That is NOT an exaggeration. I can give you 100’s of actual return times for each. BB has more delays than a rush hour traffic jam.

    (2). Blockbuster uses “BAIT & SWITCH tactics. That alone is a good enough reason to do a switch. BB started out with nice free incentives, but quickly started charging for them. I rapidly lost the incentives and got LESS & LESS for my monthly fee (that also went up).

    (3). BB MADE LOTS OF ERRORS,& IGNORED COMPLAINTS
    Personal experience example A: Their PLAN chart clearly says that plan switches when ordering MORE DVDs will take effect immediately (LESS DVD’s – the next billing period). Didn’t work for me, even after I called & emailed BB to report it. I was basically ignored. Email went unanswered. Call never returned.

    Personal Experience example B: I had good reason to suspect some unauthorized use of my CC may have originated from either a BB computer breach or a BB employee. but when I tried notified BB – AS A COURTESY- so they could look into it, or be on a heightened alert — instead of being appreciative, they were defensive, condescending, and rude.

    I can’t believe I hung in there with BB so long. I kept hoping they’ would get better with time. My advice: Stick with Netflix. during my 2 years with them they’ve always been consistent, courteous and stable. I haven’t had a single problem with Netflix.

    Shari Morgan
    Novato CA

  • David Edwards

    After renting initial two movies, we had an extremely timely turn around. It was so fast we could not believe it. The returning of second set of rentals has been disappointing. I mailed on a Wednesday, but as of Saturday have not recieved a replacement.

  • David Edwards

    After renting initial two movies, we had an extremely timely turn around. It was so fast we could not believe it. The returning of second set of rentals has been disappointing. I mailed on a Wednesday, but as of Saturday have not recieved a replacement.

  • MovieWatcherExpert

    I have started running into problems with Netflix. On Tuesday when the new movie’s are released, they immediately put: short wait, long wait, or very long wait on them. I have called them several times but to no avail. They just sit and listen and no response or improvement in the system. They need more competition to get them on the ball. I don’t think Block Buster will be any better.

  • MovieWatcherExpert

    I have started running into problems with Netflix. On Tuesday when the new movie’s are released, they immediately put: short wait, long wait, or very long wait on them. I have called them several times but to no avail. They just sit and listen and no response or improvement in the system. They need more competition to get them on the ball. I don’t think Block Buster will be any better.

  • Going Coastal

    Think of it like a buffet. Gluttons are the buffet owner’s worst nightmare because they eat huge quantities of food and pay pennies for what they are capable of consuming — and they return often. Netflix (probably BB,too) are simply trying to balance the movie glutton’s appetite by controlling how quickly they can return to the line. No surprise to their tactics. They still offer a good deal, i.e., high quality “food”, in quantities that satisfy most, at inexpensive prices. It’s sound business practice, nothing more. Stores sometimes offer products at ridiculously lowered prices but limit customers to buying only two or three at that price. Same thing. Netflix doesn’t advertise this tactic, though, which they should. Has anyone ever read the fine print when you subscribe? I admit I have not, but now I wonder…

  • Going Coastal

    Think of it like a buffet. Gluttons are the buffet owner’s worst nightmare because they eat huge quantities of food and pay pennies for what they are capable of consuming — and they return often. Netflix (probably BB,too) are simply trying to balance the movie glutton’s appetite by controlling how quickly they can return to the line. No surprise to their tactics. They still offer a good deal, i.e., high quality “food”, in quantities that satisfy most, at inexpensive prices. It’s sound business practice, nothing more. Stores sometimes offer products at ridiculously lowered prices but limit customers to buying only two or three at that price. Same thing. Netflix doesn’t advertise this tactic, though, which they should. Has anyone ever read the fine print when you subscribe? I admit I have not, but now I wonder…

  • DisneylandIsHome

    After less than 2 weeks, I canceled my Blockbuster account. During that period I received 2 discs that were unreadable in any of our players — one was from a different region. I’ll stick with Netflix.

  • DisneylandIsHome

    After less than 2 weeks, I canceled my Blockbuster account. During that period I received 2 discs that were unreadable in any of our players — one was from a different region. I’ll stick with Netflix.

  • Amy

    I’ve compared the two services, I still prefer Netflix. I just think they have a wider variety. But, there are some nice things about Blockbuster; such as going into the store and renting things and it’s included in your plan.

  • Amy

    I’ve compared the two services, I still prefer Netflix. I just think they have a wider variety. But, there are some nice things about Blockbuster; such as going into the store and renting things and it’s included in your plan.

  • SyKo

    Ive been on blockbusters for more than 2 years now and their delivery is alright, if you send the movies back, withing 2 days you get a new one. One massive problem is their list usage, movies that are in the first 10 of your list hardly get send. we have 250 movies in the list and some have been on top for over a year now. it seems they just send whatever closest for them to grab, rather than whats on top of your list. Only reason were at BB is because they have a very rich collection of anime and as an anime lover this is an uber valuable resource of anime….if they send them.

  • SyKo

    Ive been on blockbusters for more than 2 years now and their delivery is alright, if you send the movies back, withing 2 days you get a new one. One massive problem is their list usage, movies that are in the first 10 of your list hardly get send. we have 250 movies in the list and some have been on top for over a year now. it seems they just send whatever closest for them to grab, rather than whats on top of your list. Only reason were at BB is because they have a very rich collection of anime and as an anime lover this is an uber valuable resource of anime….if they send them.

  • Suzie

    I believe that the system that these services are using is to take advantage from our pockets. I’ve been member of Netflix for 6 months and I’ve been experiencing a few problems with delivery. They marked them as sent and I get them after 3 days or so. Also, they don’t have any sort of customer service, probably if they post specific email addresses and telephone number, they may collapse with all of us complaining. My friend is member of blockbuster and they are using (after a few months) they same system as Netflix is having. Even BB acclaims no “Throttling”, as Netflix does, in certain way they manage the way to use the same way. I am still with Netflix and I’ve learn to get my 3 DVDs as much as I can. Just find the right time (probably after 3 days) and you may get the next 3 all together. At least it works for me and that’s why I’m paying almost 20 bucks monthly.

  • Suzie

    I believe that the system that these services are using is to take advantage from our pockets. I’ve been member of Netflix for 6 months and I’ve been experiencing a few problems with delivery. They marked them as sent and I get them after 3 days or so. Also, they don’t have any sort of customer service, probably if they post specific email addresses and telephone number, they may collapse with all of us complaining. My friend is member of blockbuster and they are using (after a few months) they same system as Netflix is having. Even BB acclaims no “Throttling”, as Netflix does, in certain way they manage the way to use the same way. I am still with Netflix and I’ve learn to get my 3 DVDs as much as I can. Just find the right time (probably after 3 days) and you may get the next 3 all together. At least it works for me and that’s why I’m paying almost 20 bucks monthly.

  • Alex

    I have noticed slower arrivals of movies as I rented many movies… that’s why I cancelled. This is a tactic that hopefully will teach Netflix not to assume their customers are STUPID!!

  • Alex

    I have noticed slower arrivals of movies as I rented many movies… that’s why I cancelled. This is a tactic that hopefully will teach Netflix not to assume their customers are STUPID!!

  • celia

    I’ve been a Netflix member for over 2 years and I’m just about to look for an alternative. The round trip from mailing a DVD to getting its replacement used to be 3-4 days. Now it’s often well over a week. This is despite my having a PO box and mailing from the PO.

    I found that changing from 3 to 2 unlimited bucked them up a bit – temporarily – but now it’s getting to the point where I’m not receiving enough to make the unlimited option worthwhile.

  • celia

    I’ve been a Netflix member for over 2 years and I’m just about to look for an alternative. The round trip from mailing a DVD to getting its replacement used to be 3-4 days. Now it’s often well over a week. This is despite my having a PO box and mailing from the PO.

    I found that changing from 3 to 2 unlimited bucked them up a bit – temporarily – but now it’s getting to the point where I’m not receiving enough to make the unlimited option worthwhile.

  • Randy

    I’ve had NetFlix for right around a year. Let me tell you they DEFINITELY slow down your shipping after awhile. The faster you return them, the slower it gets. Emailing them about this problem seems to fall on deaf ears. I’m currently trying the 2 week free trial for Blockbuster and am impressed so far. With NetFlix I got alot of discs that were so scratched that they wouldn’t play. I even got discs that had chunks out of them and a few that were broken IN HALF. Have they ever heard of quality control? It’s obvious that nobody even eyeballs the discs before they ship. I’m about 95% convinced to switch to Blockbuster.

  • Randy

    I’ve had NetFlix for right around a year. Let me tell you they DEFINITELY slow down your shipping after awhile. The faster you return them, the slower it gets. Emailing them about this problem seems to fall on deaf ears. I’m currently trying the 2 week free trial for Blockbuster and am impressed so far. With NetFlix I got alot of discs that were so scratched that they wouldn’t play. I even got discs that had chunks out of them and a few that were broken IN HALF. Have they ever heard of quality control? It’s obvious that nobody even eyeballs the discs before they ship. I’m about 95% convinced to switch to Blockbuster.

  • Pratik

    This seems to be a very old forum…anyhow just to comment (if anyone reads it), I just tested both Netflix and Blockbuster and BB seems to be the WORST rental place ever. I dont know if its just me being lucky with Netflix but their shipping is so much better and faster than BB. I got everything within a day and they deliver within the day also. BB is just lethargic and deliver the next day and then I finally get it after 2-3 days. The whole Netflix experience has been so good that I dont think I will even try any other.

  • Pratik

    This seems to be a very old forum…anyhow just to comment (if anyone reads it), I just tested both Netflix and Blockbuster and BB seems to be the WORST rental place ever. I dont know if its just me being lucky with Netflix but their shipping is so much better and faster than BB. I got everything within a day and they deliver within the day also. BB is just lethargic and deliver the next day and then I finally get it after 2-3 days. The whole Netflix experience has been so good that I dont think I will even try any other.

  • richard

    Am just replying in regards to Netflix and slowness of delivery. I’ve experienced it recently and not happy about it!

  • richard

    Am just replying in regards to Netflix and slowness of delivery. I’ve experienced it recently and not happy about it!

  • John

    I feel like I have had similiar experiences… different return dates on movies that I send back at the same time. I also noticed that the next shipment is often delayed a day now too.

    However, the estimated arrival dates are consistently later than the actual arrival dates. That’s still nice.

  • John

    I feel like I have had similiar experiences… different return dates on movies that I send back at the same time. I also noticed that the next shipment is often delayed a day now too.

    However, the estimated arrival dates are consistently later than the actual arrival dates. That’s still nice.

  • Rented and returned 3 all at the same time… got them Friday, sent back on Monday. My third movie did not get reported back until a day after the others – today actually. Guess they don’t want to keep letting 3 go at a time and want the intervals to be managed in some manner.

  • Rented and returned 3 all at the same time… got them Friday, sent back on Monday. My third movie did not get reported back until a day after the others – today actually. Guess they don’t want to keep letting 3 go at a time and want the intervals to be managed in some manner.

  • diamar

    I’m pretty sure that the Netflix slowdown is related to how many movies you’ve watched in the last month or so. Sending 3 movies back right away doesn’t affect deliveries if you’ve not churned through a bunch in the weeks just before that. There definitely is SOME system that slows down deliveries (and I suspect reprioritizes the “long wait” stuff in your queue) based on whether you’re getting what they deem more than your money’s worth of videos.

  • diamar

    I’m pretty sure that the Netflix slowdown is related to how many movies you’ve watched in the last month or so. Sending 3 movies back right away doesn’t affect deliveries if you’ve not churned through a bunch in the weeks just before that. There definitely is SOME system that slows down deliveries (and I suspect reprioritizes the “long wait” stuff in your queue) based on whether you’re getting what they deem more than your money’s worth of videos.