le_bebna_kamni: (sleep)
For anyone interested in trying out the online rental system, I have now tried out the top two rental sites, and I'm ready to post my reviews.

Netflix vs. Blockbuster -- which one is better? Both have similar pricing for the same plans, but which performs better and which gives you more movie-watching pleasure for the buck?

Let's let Netflix step up to the competition first. Netflix is great because it has a lot of selection, including a small selection of NC-17 movies (Caligula was a good several hours of my life that I won't get back -- although I wasn't the one in my household who put it on the list. The documentary that accompanied the movie was interesting, however).

The downside to Netflix is that they practice "throttling", i.e., ways to ship fewer DVDs to you. This is especially true if you take plans that are supposed to give you more disks out at a time. When we first started with Netflix, we were on a 2-disk plan, and disks came pretty quickly (I hear they do this for all new customers). If a disk went out with the 8:00 am Monday mail pickup, we would get another disk by Wednesday and sometimes even Tuesday. When we switched to the 4-disk plan, a Monday-mailed disk meant that we usually didn't get our disks until Thursday or Friday.

So let's see how Blockbuster performs. Blockbuster is fantastic because it gives you free in-store rentals. We noticed after several months of Netflix that we were still going to the video store a couple times a month because we didn't always have videos for the weekend. But with 2 months of Blockbuster Online, we've only had to pay for a rental once -- and that was because I was sick and spent two days watching videos on the couch.

But Blockbuster apparently doesn't have as many disks and isn't as reliable as Netflix. One thing we noticed right away when we transferred our queue from Netflix to Blockbuster was that there were a lot of movies marked "Short Wait" on Blockbuster. The second problem is that just because you have a movie at the top of Blockbuster's queue that says "Available", doesn't mean they'll ship it to you first. I had a movie that I wanted to watch that was at the top of the queue with "Available" status. I waited almost 2 weeks for them to send it, but they kept sending my second choice movie instead. We had the same problem again this week when we had specifically planned an anime night with some friends, and they shipped out movies farther down the list.

The lowdown: if you like continuous movie watching, but you don't care what order you watch your movies in, go with Blockbuster. If you like reliability and availability of movies, but don't mind getting shafted with the wait times, go with Netflix.

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