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April 11, 2005

Air Wars

So I was about to sign up for NetFlix tonight when I learn that it has not one, but two cheaper competitors running round town. Both WalMart and Blockbuster have their versions of the movies-to-mailbox service, and both undercut NetFlix on the cost issue. I'm still going for NetFlix based on pure lefty instinct (support the upstart, not the corporate juggernauts playing Johnny-come-lately), but if any of you know a super-compelling reason I should consider Blockbuster*, leave it in comments.

* And if any of you are about to evangelize for WalMart, I hope you're reading this site ironically.

April 11, 2005 in Film | Permalink

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Comments

If Wal-Mart had that "no late fees" stuff going, I'd encourage you to rent just so you could sue them. But they aren't doing that.

So it goes.

Posted by: Matt Singer | Apr 11, 2005 11:00:56 PM

Okay, here goes: If Blockbuster starts doing well financially, maybe they'll decide to hold "National Fine Forgiveness Week" and I can finally be exonerated from the $20 I owe for Rashomon and L'Aventura. Oops...

Posted by: Brad Plumer | Apr 11, 2005 11:02:51 PM

I always read this site ironically. Irony is to commenting as the ocean is to fishes.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Apr 11, 2005 11:10:18 PM

I have a blockbuster account. They aren't actually cheaper (it's 15 bucks vs 12, I believe), but you get 2 free in store rentals per month, via printable coupons.

Posted by: JoeF | Apr 11, 2005 11:26:35 PM

Bob McManus wins funniest comments of the day.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 11, 2005 11:43:20 PM

As cheesy as it is, I enjoy the dopey "friends" feature of Netflix, whereby you get to see what your friends loved and hated, and you/they can send recommendations to them/you, in addition to the automated recommendations the "friends" page generates. It's stupid, but amusing.

Posted by: Quisp | Apr 12, 2005 12:00:47 AM

I'm not sure if this is true of the rent-by-mail service, but Blockbuster seriously restricts/censors their in-store selection for content. Plus their QoS won't be very good for the first months or years.

Posted by: Electoral Math | Apr 12, 2005 12:12:30 AM

Just get netflix and be done with it.

Posted by: fiat lux | Apr 12, 2005 4:54:50 AM

Blockbuster will find some way to fine you. NetFlix won't.

I also consider BB to have a 'Stupid Penalty' for being so slow to get this off the ground. Dumbasses.

Posted by: Sandals | Apr 12, 2005 5:31:01 AM

Netflix has a *much* better selection, and I don't expect them to fold in the next five years, as versus Blockbuster.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Apr 12, 2005 7:31:21 AM

Let me add my endorsement to netflix as well. You get a scratched DVD, just email them and mail the DVD back, in two days you have a replacement. They try harder, so they get my vote.

Posted by: J. | Apr 12, 2005 8:32:01 AM

can finally be exonerated from the $20 I owe for Rashomon and L'Aventura

Brad,
Our records indicate that Rashomon was actually returned on time and the fee on L'Aventura has been waived because we've stopped looking for it.

-Blockbuster

Posted by: Blockbuster | Apr 12, 2005 9:22:02 AM

Go with Netflix. Two people I know use blockbuster and the turnaround times in the mail are much slower. Netflix is almost always 1 day each way so you get your next movie 2-3 days after you stick the previous one in the mail--its pretty amazing. I am sure it depends on where you live but Netflix has been great for me.

Posted by: TJon | Apr 12, 2005 10:03:03 AM

On a big home theater forum that I frequent, the general consensus seems to be that Netflix beats the others pretty easily in terms of availability (i.e., you don't usually have to wait for something to become available, especially not with older movies) and turn-around time.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 12, 2005 10:51:35 AM

That's the thing about renting Rashomon: the guy says he still has it, you say he returned it. The way I remember it, Brad left it on the coffee table. And I have a ghost over here who's sure that it's on the bookshelf, right next to Altman's 3 Women.

Posted by: DonBoy | Apr 12, 2005 10:52:21 AM

DonBoy -- that comment was awesome. Yo and Bob should have a cagematch for king of the thread.

Posted by: Ezra | Apr 12, 2005 10:59:03 AM

I blush, sir.

Posted by: DonBoy | Apr 12, 2005 11:26:09 AM

UH sorry I am late on this one. But my friend has both Netflix and Blockbuster and he says Blockbuster takes longer to deliver the flicks. SO, if you are into renting for copying watching lots of movies to make either of the services worth the money, Netflix is much more efficient at delivery.

However, this may be more of a relationship to the Post Office than the services themselves. I say this because Netflix is located in New Jersey and so is my friend.

Posted by: media in trouble | Apr 12, 2005 11:59:25 AM

Thing One: Netflix has been doing this for a lot longer (I've been a member for about 5 years), and they came up with the business model. All else being equal, I would generally give the edge to the originators rather than the copycats.

Thing Two: Blockbuster has always had a monopoly-based business model: kill the competition, and rake in the cash. I would suggest that the only reason they're undercutting Netflix is so they can do to the DVD-by-mail market what they did to the video store market.

Thing Three: I would guess (although I'm not certain) that Netflix' selection is substantially better than Blockbuster's.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 12, 2005 12:02:04 PM

UH sorry I am late on this one. But my friend has both Netflix and Blockbuster and he says Blockbuster takes longer to deliver the flicks.

Thing four: Netflix has invested in a whole bunch of regional distribution centers, speeding up their turnaround time. (There was a time a few years back when people outside the Bay Area had to wait a lot longer.) Sounds like Blockbuster is still trying to ramp up.

Posted by: Tom Hilton | Apr 12, 2005 12:04:03 PM

In addition to the obvious "Blockbuster censors their movies" reason - I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that Blockbuster is a MAJOR GOP giver. Wayne Huizenga, founder of Blockbuster, is more or less the personal bankroll for the esp. egregious Florida wing of the GOP.

Go with Netflix. Good service, good price, not politically malodorous.

Posted by: jkd | Apr 12, 2005 3:21:44 PM

A decade or so ago, there were rumours going around - I may have seen a newspaper report, but I don't remember for sure - about Blockbuster's video rental places editing movies for content and not saying so on the label.

If that's true, it's certainly a good reason *not* to use Blockbuster.

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 8:01:03 AM

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