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Blockbuster versus Netflix versus Local Video Stores

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I never thought I’d say this, but I’ve become a Blockbuster Video fan. Unusual for me, because I like to shop local if I can, and that includes DVD rentals.

Right now, though, I have two overdue movies (Hitch and War of the Worlds) from one of the local video rental stores. I was supposed to return them two days ago, so my late fees right now are probably at about 10 bucks. And that’s not including the original rental price.

On the other hand, when I rent from Blockbuster lately, I never have to worry about it, since they implemented their new ‘the end of late fees‘ policy.

So from now on, when I want to rent a movie from a brick and morter store, I’m going to Blockbuster.

It’s a different story though when it comes to online rentals. Blockbuster is a bit cheaper than Netflix, but they don’t have nearly the selection. Netflix has just about every DVD there is, including television. Right now, for example, I’m working my way through all the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.

So, simple formula:

Renting in town: Blockbuster.
Renting online: Netflix.

I like the combination of both, because I can get so many movies and off-the-wall DVDs through Netflix that aren’t available locally, but when I get the sudden urge to go rent a movie (which happens a lot) I can run down the street to Blockbuster.
SC:Tan The Man

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About Michael Davis

  • worthanote

    GreenCine is a bunch of hippies in San Francisco that is neither green nor a real alternative to Netflix’s prices. They also offer blood-sucking residuals to their filmmakers. Worst deals ever for the people who work hard to get their films out to audiences.

  • Chris

    I feel that blockbuster has really got a great deal for their customers. First, take a business look at the “no late fees” you have 7 days to return the rental past the due date, after 7 days they bill your account the cost of buying the movie, if you return the movie within 30 days, your account is credited back the cost of the movie (with a minimal fee). If you keep it past the 37 days from the due date you now own the movie. Now yes you may have to pay $24 for a video if you are stupid enough to not return a movie within 37 days from the due date, but think how much it would have cost to have rented the video from a video store “with late fees”? Most are one-two day rentals for new releases and 5-7 for older films. If you were to pay $3 for a 2 day new release and the late fee is $3 for every two days after due date then you would pay $51 if yu returned the video after 37 days past due date!!!! Now even in the best conditions which would be $3 for a 7 day rental that would come to $15. Now, $15 is not bad but you have to give the video back to the store and pay $15, at least for $7-9 more dollars you would get to keep the video. Also note that if you return the video within the 37 days you get your money back, maybe minus $1-3 dollars for fees? Now considering going one day over at the other rental places will cost you $3, that fee for going up to 37 days sounds pretty good. I hope that everyone can start to see the logic behind this. I have seen many business practice that harm the customer but do the math and Blockbuster is loosing money since they no longer collect a late fee you may say that they charge you for the movie and a fee but the money for the movie will mostly go to the production studio and the fee will go to all the paper work and time spent by your local store trying to get you to return their movie. Now the late fee that you pay at other video stores will go right into the video stores pocket. Ask anyone in the video business and you will find that Blockbuster is loosing millions to try and make renting less of a hassle on their customers and also trying to make all people in the movie business honest. Please stop getting upset at companies because you are irresponsible enough to keep a rental for more than 37 days (I really can say that if you love the video that much you might as well let them charge it to your account and add it to your video collection), along with you have to realize that you getting charged about $24 for having a new release for 37 days past due date and getting to keep the video to own still beats getting charged by a local video store every few days for up to 37 days which would be at least $40 and you still have to give the video back.

  • richard

    Blockbuster online is the best way to go. For three DVD rentals at a time, the price is the same as Netflix. Blockbuster has approximately the same selection as Netflix, and the mailing time for Blockbuster is fast (approximately one day for Blockbuster to receive a mailed DVD return, and two days to receive a DVD sent by Blockbuster). The other thing that just blows Netflix away is the FREE Blockbuster in store rentals that come with your Blockbuster Online membership. With Blockbuster Online, you get a coupon a week for in-store rentals (use-it or lose-it coupon), OR if you wish, two coupons a month that may be used anytime during the month (again, use it during the month, or lose-it). This is awesome for when you are between DVD mailings, and really need a movie. Netflix has no stores, and can’t compete here. Given that Blockbuster’s stores now also have no late fees, this helps make the deal even more attractive. Anyway, that’s my take… Hope it helps.

  • Walt D in LV

    I agree totally with the main message of this board. I’ve very happily rented from Netflix for nearly 5 years, now. However, if I want to get the latest new release, I get it from the local Blockbuster, as Netflix will usually have a Short Wait for it.

    I belong to Blockbuster’s Movie Pass 3-at-a-time plan, so never any late fees. I’ve recently downgraded from Netflix’ 8-at-a-time to their 4-at-a-time.

    Blockbuster’s local selection has gotten quite good in the last year, and continues to surprise me how many independent films they carry. The local stores can never compete with Netflix, but it’s nice to know they try.

    So, again, I use both. Happily.

    Walt D in LV

  • I find that I use Blockbuster and Netflix in exactly this way. If I’ve just got to see something (typically a new release) today, then I run to my neighborhood blockbuster. Otherwise, Netflix is my main source for movies. They deliver them to my door, its always a movie I want to watch and I don’t have to worry about returning them until I damn well feel like it. thats having it my way. And while Blockbuster now lets you keep them a little longer, if you are like me and rent a lot of movies at once, if you keep them too long, you could be looking at over a hundred dollars in charges. I know, because they wanted to do that to me. I hurried and took my movies back, and I didn’t even have to pay a restock fee because they didn’t have an updated credit card on file (serious flaw in their program). Long live Netflix.

  • Tom

    A new opportunity is about to reach the independent video stores throught america, with the introduction of the OVCOM2 Video Rental Machine, which can handle over 2000 DVD´s, convenient, minimal human intervention… etc.

  • Being a former employee (for three years), I can state easily that Blockbuster treats their employees terribly, if you’re the sort of person who cares about such things. Further, as with all of their deals, this “no late fees” doesn’t really mean that at all; as with all of their programs, there is a great deal of fine print to dig through. If you don’t return your film in a timely fashion (I believe it’s a week?), they’ll bill you their cost for the movie rather than a late fee. Of course, you can get a refund when you take your movie back in, but it’s rather a hassle.

    So as Eric said, it’s a bit misleading. I think you get hit for the restocking fee only if you don’t have a credit card registered in their system, or once they remove the charge for the full movie price (an in lieu of fee).

    They’ve always been this way — every program they offered must be combed through for hidden charges. Since I quit there a couple of years ago, I’ve used nothing but Netflix (which has a better selection for the types of films I enjoy anyway) and haven’t looked back.

  • I agree Denise — I wish to The Gods that I had had some cash back in the day to invest in Netflix…

  • Denise

    Blockbuster said they’d only charge $1.25 for “restocking” fee. Had a fee from them for $3.15 on my debit card instead. I know, not much money. But it irks me how misleading they have become. Local stores have even less of a selection now that they are letting people keep movies longer. Netflix is the only way to go. I get my movies the next day and don’t even have to waste gas to drive to a local store. What can be better than that?

  • Blockbuster will charge your credit card for a sale if you don’t return a rental after a certain amount of time… so their campaign is a bit misleading.

    Netflix is great, particularly because I rent a lot of TV stuff. And getting DVDs in the mail is way better than bills and junk mail.

  • Blockbuster is still better for in-town rentals. I used that monthly pass, which was cool but kind of expensive. Yes, you can rent all you can, but you can only rent what your local BB carries.

  • Six months ago, Netflix selection was less than favorable. I built my GreenCine queue around that fact. Netflix continues to improve due to competition from worthy adversaries such as Blockbuster Online and GreenCine. I subscribe to all three as Netflix remains far from perfect.