Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

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crevice beatle
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Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:35 am

I'm curious who out there uses Blockbuster's online movie/mail rental service? I understand some of the basic positives of going with them over Netflix (ability to return DVD's directly to Blockbuster and get a store rental while you wait for your next one to come). I'm wondering how Blockbuster is at providing new releases within a reasonable amount of time after their release date.
Currently, my Netflix queue has 7 movies, all new releases, all labeled as "very long wait". Some of these actually started out as "short wait" and then after weeks of not getting them were upgraded to "long wait", then to "very long wait." Customer service can do absolutely nothing to help me other than trying point out that it's this "complicated algorithm that even ' we don't quite understand' " They insist that new customers do not get preferential treatment, but I find it hard to believe a new customer requesting some of the movies that are on my queue (Whip It, The Hangover, Inglorious Basterds, etc) would get "very long wait"s during their "trial period". A few of these films have been out till November.
I'm about ready to bail on Netflix for good...can someone tell me if Blockbuster has better customer service and availability of new releases? Not expecting things to be granted a movie days after it is released...but I think waiting anything beyond 2 weeks, especially when it was on your queue months ahead of time, is pretty ridiculous.

fisticuffs
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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:49 am

We ditched Blockbusters service for Netflix becasue of the ridiculous wait times. There's an extra day of travel for Blockbuster as well. Its nice to exchange at the store for sure but you can only do it so many times per whatever overpriced plan you have. Netflix has gotten much much worse lately though. Still its half the price and half the travel time. I found if you send one back on Saturday and keep a Tuesday release as #1 they are going to ship that out on Monday. They have recently made a deal with some of the studios to delay new releases entirely though by a month. In exchange for more on demand content.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby Dairylander » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:01 pm

I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster for the in-store trade reason that you mentioned. I was much happier with Blockbuster - the instant gratification of it was priceless.
However, every automatic monthly charge to my credit card made me feel like a blind consumer robot.
So I dropped Blockbuster for Red Box.
I figured out that I could reserve DVDs on-line and then go pick them up at the box, and I am happiest with this.
The movies in Red Box are limited, but anything they don't have, I get from the library.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby boston_jeff » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:34 pm

The key to getting new releases is to mail a return out on Saturday morning like fisti said, that is the only way. Friday evening used to work as well but now they relay those on Saturday mornings, and Monday works if its not something huge (the movies you list are all pretty huge aside from Whip It). If you can't get the hang of that, you'll never get new releases from Netflix.

1. Mail a return(s) on Saturday morning (use a postbox or post office before collection--leaving it for the mailman works too).
2. Put the new release as #1 in your queue (or #'s 1-4 if you are trying to snag multiple new releases).
3. Netflix will receive your return(s) Monday, send out the new release(s) for Tuesday (even though technically new releases come out on Tuesdays).
4. Occasionally you execute these steps perfectly and Netflix skips down your queue and sends you something lower priority. This is called "throttling" and it occurs when someone who rents less frequently than you gets priority for a popular DVD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix I used to have a 4 disc account and manipulated the system all the time using steps 1-3 to get new releases and occasionally would get throttled for up to 4 new releases per week (and then had to wait months until I got access to those popular titles). I now do the 3 disc account and have not been throttled in a long time.

Yesterday I mailed in a return, and today Netflix is sending me a new release "Bronson." That would not work for titles like "Inglourious" or "The Hangover." I would definitely have to mail the return in on Saturday for those. This coming week's (Tuesday, Feb. 16) new releases are just popular enough that I will have to mail 3 returns on Saturday (the 13th) to get them. It really helps to know the release schedule, manipulate your queue properly, and anticipate the popularity of a release (and obviously follow steps 1-3).

Other reasons to use Netflix and not scumbag right wing corporation:
1. They invented it, Blockbuster is trying to horn in on their territory (see link above for patent lawsuits).
2. You can stream video using your computer and through small devices and Blu-Ray players very easily with Netflix (this is the future of video and you will never have to wait for new releases if you use the box). I am considering buying a Blu-Ray-based multimedia sound system that has an IPod jack, as well as Netflix and Pandora streaming, should be pretty cool.
3. Blockbuster sucks--they are known for giving big bucks to rightwingers and blocking certain films based on "family friendly" policies.
4. Netflix started its own independent film division that produced smaller films and distributed many others (Red Envelope). They have since shut down the division, but the effort was appreciated (by me at least). I think Blockbuster may have started a division to maximize profit by ramming "Hotel for Dogs" displays in your face or perhaps they worked with Kirk Cameron on that amazing video series about how Darwin was wrong, not really sure.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:41 pm

4. Netflix started its own independent film division that produced smaller films and distributed many others (Red Envelope)


I think the Zach Galifinakis Live at the Purple Onion was one of those productions. The home theater integration of the on demand is probably the single biggest reason to choose Netflix. It has support through all the major game consoles, receivers, TV's, Blu Ray Players etc. etc. and this is the wave of the future. The whole new release delay is basically a final attempt to save physical media. It's not gonna work.

crevice beatle
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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:15 pm

Hey, thanks for all the advice and input. Turns out a few of you are useful for some things - :lol:

I am definitely going to start trying the Saturday morning mail out date prior to a release. I actually did not know until recently that netflix mailed out the typical Tuesday DVD release the Monday prior. Previously, I had been mailing out on Mondays before new releases. I got "Beer Wars" last Tuesday (when it was released - also, a decent documentary for fans of craft beer I might add) when I mailed out my last DVD that prior Saturday. And I know I've done that a few times, but just chalked up the success to the fact they were always more obscure indie/documentary films.

I concur with the inevitable death of physical media - unfortunately, what I'm currently using has enough trouble streaming 3 minute youtube hit in the crotch videos. I kind of figure the transition to exclusively to the "play it now" option is what Netflix has brewing... though I was thinking this wouldn't account for any marked decline in physical DVD service for a few more years.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:47 pm

We got a mid-range Samsung Blu-Ray player for Christmas, and bought the wireless adapter (dongle) to be able to use our existing Netflix subscription with it.

Watched some LOST with a visiting friend who's foolishly trying to catch up without getting too spoiled. Full HD episodes download in seconds, and never hiccupped or paused to buffer. Not once.

Looked great.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby green union terrace chair » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:30 pm

I love Neflix' streaming stuff (though I wish they'd get new releases on that faster).

Keep in mind that Blockbuster is closing a lot of stores (including the West Wash one, I think).

boston_jeff
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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby boston_jeff » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:49 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:I love Neflix' streaming stuff (though I wish they'd get new releases on that faster).

Keep in mind that Blockbuster is closing a lot of stores (including the West Wash one, I think).


Good.

crevice beatle
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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby crevice beatle » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:50 pm

boston_jeff wrote:Yesterday I mailed in a return, and today Netflix is sending me a new release "Bronson." That would not work for titles like "Inglourious" or "The Hangover." I would definitely have to mail the return in on Saturday for those.


Awwww!!!! Just read over some posts again and checked out the time stamp on when you said this...

I was looking forward to Bronson...was on my queue ahead of time - like you, I also sent back a movie this past Monday: result? Bronson - Very Long Wait. As of this posting, I haven't checked your link on the "throttling" concept, though I would find it hard to believe my usage applies. While I am only on a 2 DVD plan, I maybe get only 2, and at most 4 a month due to the fact I keep my queue trimmed down (this used to work) and everything I want has been released in November or sooner - thus, very long wait status.
Also, what is with the inconsitencies in their trained drones? I have had some service reps tell me that the more often I return films, the less likely I will get my top picks...only to have other ones say "who ever told you that was wrong." Yes, I have called many times and have heard conflicting information almost everytime.
Finally, what is the deal with no accessible way to lodge a complaint? You can call and bitch to the reps all you want, but as far as I can tell, doesn't seem like anything is documented. None of the email addresses you come across on the site are for feedback - I realize that with a service such as this you are indeed just a number... but am I really in a minority of people who are fed up with this or is it just the fact that there aren't many other mail in movie options out there and they know they've got you by the balls?

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby boston_jeff » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:12 pm

Yeah, that's weird, the story on wiki claims that throttling happens to people like me, not you. I have complained a few times over the years about it and threatened to leave Netflix and since I've been with them since inception they may have stopped doing it to me. Try the Saturday method from now on, if that doesn't work, you're getting screwed.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby AaronTheSnob » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:37 am

Hey, BostonJeff...for some reason, your scheme might not work for me. When I mail my Netflix back, they always receive it the very next day (often, apparently, VERY early in the a.m, as they email me that they have received it), then they send the next one(s) in my queue out the very same day, not the next day.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby AaronTheSnob » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:39 am

Scratch my last post. I mis-read BJ's post...apparently they send them out the day before (Monday) prior to the new release date on Tuesday.

crevice beatle
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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby crevice beatle » Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:37 am

Thanks for the "send out on Saturday" advice. I've done this the past two Saturdays and it has worked on both occasions.

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Re: Netflix vs. Blockbuster online

Postby Jim » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:53 am

I too had an unpleasant experience with Blockbuster Online. A DVD movie arrived cracked. I returned the disk and reported the problem to Blockbuster. About ten days later I received another disk of the same movie. It too was cracked. I again returned the disk to Blockbuster and again reported the problem. Blockbuster then advised me they would not send me another DVD of the movie “due to the unusual number of problems reported on my account.” Apparently Blockbuster decided to solve its problem simply by telling me that it was my problem. I couldn't switch to Netflix fast enough. [Netflix vs. Blockbuster]


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