Your online movie fans will rave about their NetFlix service, but as a one-time user of Netflix, I get much more satisfaction from my Blockbuster Online Total Access account.
Why do I like my Blockbuster Online plan so much more than NetFlix?
With Blockbuster, I can return a DVD by mail, just as I could with NetFlix, but with Blockbuster I can return a mail rental DVD to my local store and get a free rental from the store for it.
You can’t do that with NetFlix.
Blockbuster has several plans that are very competitive with NetFlix offerings. Several plans offer the option of returning your mail rentals to the store for extra free rentals. Take a look at this chart comparing the plans.
|DVDs per delivery||BlockBuster Online||NetFlix|
|1||$3.99 / mo. + tax Limit 2 / mo. by mail $1.99 in-store exchange||$4.99 / mo Limit 2 / mo. by mail PC download|
|1||$9.99 / mo. + tax Limit: 2 / mo. by mail 2 free in-store exchanges / mo.||$8.99 / mo. Limit: None PC download|
|2||$16.99 / mo. + tax Limit: None 3 free in-store exchanges / mo.||$13.99 / mo. Limit: None PC download|
|3||$19.99 / mo. + tax Limit: None 5 free in-store exchanges||$16.99 / mo. Limit: None PC download|
Now, even though the Blockbuster plans cost slightly more, and include taxes, the extra free rentals at the store do quite well to make up for that, in my opinion.
Netflix and the Waiting Game
With Netflix, you have to mail the DVDs back, then wait for NetFlix to get them back, and then wait for NetFlix to mail your next set of DVDs to you. With Blockbuster Online you can return your DVDs to your local Blockbuster and pick up a free rental at the store while you at it. Meanwhile, while your watching that free rental, Blockbuster is already preparing to ship your next mail order delivery.
What About Those PC Downloads?
Netflix fans will cite the free PC downloads, but I don’t know many people, let alone whole families, who look forward to huddling around their desk mounted PC monitor for two hours to watch a movie. Also, without a high speed Internet connection you could drive to Blockbuster and back faster than that download.
Of course, later this year Netflix will be offering downloads to your $300 Xbox 360 with a $5 to $10 per month Xbox Live Gold package. That makes NetFlix convenient and pricey. Maybe some non-gamers will find the convenience to be an incentive to get an Xbox, but I doubt it.
You can always cancel your plan after the trial, or downgrade to a lower level plan that suits your movie watching frequency.