Which DVD rental service to choose?
November 24, 2004 5:48 PM   Subscribe

So, I think I am going to subscribe to a DVD rental service. Now, I would like some advice on which service to use. I have narrowed the list down to Netflix and Blockbuster. Opinions on either of these two services?

Let me also say that I am not looking for advice or recommendations for other online DVD rental services (e.g. Wal-Mart). Thanks for your understanding!
posted by chrish to Shopping (36 answers total)
netflix netflix netflix!

1. they just lowered their price a smidge.

2. they are INCREDIBLY fast. usually i get my new movies 2 days after i stick the old batch in the mail. what the?!

3. they invented this whole dang idea

4. they aren't blockbuster
posted by glenwood at 5:53 PM on November 24, 2004

Yeah. Netflix.
posted by cmonkey at 5:55 PM on November 24, 2004

I know nothing about Blockbuster, but Netflix has been most satisfactory.
posted by JanetLand at 6:01 PM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: Has anyone (reading this thread ;) actually tried Blockbuster?
posted by chrish at 6:02 PM on November 24, 2004

I vote against Blockbuster, if only because they killed the amazingly neat mom and pop store I used to go to growing up that had all the cool indie and import flicks for rent. That's reason enough.

Plus, Blockbuster is a bunch of censoring, Fundamentalist Christian-kowtowing scumbags who couldn't find art even if it was sutured to the inside of their eyelids, which makes it twice reason enough.

Other than that, I dunno.
posted by loquacious at 6:18 PM on November 24, 2004

I've tried Blockbuster and found a longer lag time, a less intuitive website and a lesser selection. Go with Netflix.
posted by amandaudoff at 6:20 PM on November 24, 2004

I'm happy with Netflix's Aussie operation. NFI about blockbuster.
posted by pompomtom at 6:23 PM on November 24, 2004

I hate Blockbuster for all the reasons loquacious articulates, plus their prior asinine behavior re: late fees.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:31 PM on November 24, 2004

I had Netflix in the States and loved it. Don't know about Blockbuster, but Netflix owns. Great selection, fast service.

A++++++++ WOULD RENT AGAIN!!!!!!
posted by ruddhist at 6:41 PM on November 24, 2004

I rented Bad Lieutenant from Blockbuster. Months later I was discussing it with someone and mentioned this really odd scene. The Bad mofo walks into this classroom then walks out. What was that about??? The friend who saw it from a non-Blockbuster source said the Bad mofo raped a nun.

I prefer my DVD's unedited, so I never went back.

I was a Netflix customer for years, now I just have DirecTivo and HBO and a 4yr old. The latter is why I don't still have a Netlfix subscription... just too few hours in the day.
posted by e40 at 6:46 PM on November 24, 2004

I would recommend Netflix as well -- very fast service, sometimes it's almost like magic, man, impossible that could have gotten here in a day.

My girlfriend fiddled with Blockbuster for a while in an attempt to somehow get a free iPod, and it seemed smooth enough. However, every disk we got had some kind of interruption due to damage, scratches, etc. I think they keep churning them trough the mill until they're burger.

Oddly, netflix hasn't hit me in this regard -- we often get disks with a generic laser-printed type label, so they are obviously duping dvd's from a pristine master.
posted by undule at 6:47 PM on November 24, 2004

Speed and Great Selections; all the art house indies, all the foreigns, all the documentaries our little heart desires. Actually, right now we are watching TV shows that passed us by. Just finished up The Office and next we are doing Ali G. Plus some Mystery Science Theater in between.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:53 PM on November 24, 2004


I've had the service for maybe a year. It is so god damn worth it.

  • The selection is excellent.

  • It's fun putting movies in your queue from the office.

  • When you rent Cheerleader Atuposy no one will know.

  • Blockbuster seems to be a corporate tag along, like MSN search.
    posted by orange clock at 6:54 PM on November 24, 2004

    Have had, I mean to say. I just returned a few this morning.

    LOVE IT kiss.
    posted by orange clock at 6:57 PM on November 24, 2004

    I do Netflix, but the Blockbuster service intrigues me. I don't usually have a burning desire to see a certain movie, but if that urge did strike, Blockbuster gives you two free in-store rentals each month. If each rental is worth $4, and you use both freebies each month, that brings your cost for the DVD-by-mail portion to $10.
    posted by Coffeemate at 6:58 PM on November 24, 2004

    I would recommend Greencine, but I must confess I never tried Netflix or Blockbuster. They (greencine) are fast, have a good selection, and a great support staff.
    posted by HSWilson at 7:00 PM on November 24, 2004

    I rent online porn through Greencine.
    posted by orange clock at 7:06 PM on November 24, 2004

    I'll 9th (or 10th) the recommendation for Netflix. Just signed up a few months ago to cure me of my ill of buying all my DVDs retail (sometimes sight unseen) and it's been great catching up on all the movies I missed or knew I wouldn't like enough to purchase (guilty pleasures, etc.) I have about 150 DVDs in my collection, but was tired of the selection, so this was a great way to see some "new" titles without dropping a lot of cash, and I will definitely purchase a couple of the movies that I "tried out" with Netflix.

    Of course, the free and easy shipping in self-mailers is fantastic. I haven't rented a movie in over 10 years from mortar stores, but Netflix has gotten me back into the habit with the low maintenance required.

    I've also been suprised a couple of times at how fast the discs arrive (sometimes 1-2 days before they estimate) but I also live in SF, where I think they were founded and have a major shipping center. I have about 175 movies in my queue right now, and have rated almost 4,000 movies (it's addicting.)

    Since I cancelled my $70/month cable service and have missed all the "good" shows (still haven't seen a single episode of Sopranos) it's a good way to catch up on all the shows people try to talk to you about. Sopranos, Taken, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers and more are all on the way.

    They have just lowered their prices, which is always a nice surprise, and they also offer different pricing structures above the default, if you want to have more discs at home than 3 (up to 10 I think, but it gets a little pricey.)

    They also appear to constantly be developing and improving their interface. Every couple of weeks it seems a new feature (sometimes minor, sometimes not) becomes available. For instance, in the last few weeks they added the ability to immediately move a movie to the top of your queue in one click, if you choose to Add it to your queue from their Recommendations. You can always re-prioritize your queue by hand, but this was a nice touch.

    The only complaint I've had (and I'm sure this is due in part to their popularity) is that I've had a few discs (out of 40-50 so far that I've rented) that were scratched and skipped mid-movie. Sometimes I could clean it and get it working, sometimes not. Of course they'll replace it with another copy if you check a box when you return the disc.

    They also haven't had every single movie I've wanted (though admittedly they were somewhat esoteric foreign movies) but in general I've found their selection to be quite good, easily rivaling any local or chain rental outfit that might be near you.

    Now, the recent rumor (quelled? true?) of Netflix joining up with Tivo to offer true video-on-demand is VERY intriguing...
    posted by robbie01 at 7:09 PM on November 24, 2004

    i just joined greencine after 8 months with netflix. i live on the east coast and am thinking of going back. if i lived closer i would love to stay, just its just taking too damn long.
    i miss the 2 day turn around for movies. plus greencine is always out of major studio new releases.
    but to answer yr question. netflix hands down.
    posted by ShawnString at 7:12 PM on November 24, 2004

    Oh, and in addition to my rambling above, they also send you timely e-mail updates about what is coming your way, when you can expect it, and when they have received the discs you sent back.
    posted by robbie01 at 7:12 PM on November 24, 2004

    Between those two, I'd suggest taking the Netflix. But in reality, you'll pry my Greencine from my cold, dead DVD player.
    posted by majick at 7:42 PM on November 24, 2004

    Wow, surprised to see Greencine presenting a unified front. I'm about to cancel my membership because the service is so poor -- which a shame, because they're such an underdog.

    I joined to suckle upon the J-Horror, which they have a goodly abundance of ... something to think about when choosing a service. I don't think Netflix or Blockbuster will rent anything but region 1 dvds.
    posted by undule at 7:57 PM on November 24, 2004

    We joined Netflix because there was not a store close to us where we could find the Zatoichi films; they have an impressive selection of some hard to find titles. It's been worth every penny, and we now use Netflix for all of our rentals.
    They seem to have a good stock of new releases available; I can think of only two occasions in which something wasn't shipped because it was rented out. We've only had one instance of a bad disc being shipped, but they have excellent customer service and it was handled promptly.
    The one downer I can think of is that 2-disc DVDs count as two rentals, so if you're into the special features, you have to take that into account when you add stuff into your queue.
    posted by Dr. Zira at 7:58 PM on November 24, 2004

    They (greencine) are fast

    Only if you're on or near the west coast: outside of that postal vagaries take over. I've had stuff take 2 days to reach me or get back to them, and I've had stuff take 10 days. Our Netflix rentals are almost always 1 or 2 days tops. Netflix has also been adding more depth to their selection (in fact they already beat GC on Bollywood titles), so GC's niche commitment is becoming less and less of a factor. I can see the day coming when we won't be using both services.
    posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:37 PM on November 24, 2004

    I joined Netflix a couple weeks ago. I've been happy with the time-to-get-discs (except for the end of last week, which took 5 days rather than the standard 1 day). Out of 12 discs, one was damaged and wouldn't play properly. Only being able to have 3 discs out is a major problem for me, because it's not enough to cycle discs and keep them coming in as they go back--5 would be perfect, and with all the new competition, I expect they'll go to this before too long. I've actually been disappointed with the selection available...about 1 in 4 of the stuff I've searched for they don't have. I'm looking forward to their coming partnership with Tivo.

    All in all, I'm enjoying the service, but there is room for improvement. I wouldn't even consider the competitors at this point.
    posted by rushmc at 11:06 PM on November 24, 2004

    I've had absolutely no problems with Netflix (I've subscribed for more than a year), other than being mildly surprised once or twice at a couple of titles they don't carry (After Life springs to mind). I sometimes get new discs as quickly as one day after they've received my last ones back in the warehouse, and don't think I've ever had to wait more than 3 days for anything. Never had a damaged or incorrect disc, either.
    posted by scody at 11:23 PM on November 24, 2004

    OK, so I'm in the UK. What are my DVD renting options?
    posted by salmacis at 1:15 AM on November 25, 2004

    For the UK: I use Screenselect, and have had no trouble with them. Been using them for nearly a year now. If you're going that way, if you want to give me some money, and you don't mind me whoring on Ask, you can also click on my Screen Select Affiliate link.
    posted by seanyboy at 2:36 AM on November 25, 2004

    definitely Netflix
    posted by kamylyon at 4:33 AM on November 25, 2004

    Netflix rocks. 'Nuff said. :-)
    posted by rglasmann at 6:49 AM on November 25, 2004

    In Canada, Zip.ca has blown my little mind (click here for the shameless affiliate link).
    posted by boost ventilator at 7:06 AM on November 25, 2004

    uhm, rushmc, You do know that Netflix has 8-at-a-time for $47.99, 5-at-a-time for $29.99, 3-at-a-time for $17.99, 2-at-a-time (4 rentals a month) for $11.99 don't you?
    posted by Megafly at 7:28 AM on November 25, 2004

    I did not know that. No such buffet was offered when I joined. Hmm.
    posted by rushmc at 8:14 AM on November 25, 2004

    It amazes me that Blockbuster is still in business. e40's Bad Lieutenant story is just another in a long string of censorship tails I've heard over the years. And it's no different here in Canada. Pulp Fiction is said to be edited so severely, it's not recognizable. I'm curious, don't film makers know their movies are being butchered?
    posted by Hanover Phist at 8:40 AM on November 25, 2004

    I've found that Netflix's service slows down dramatically after the 2 week trial is up.
    posted by zelphi at 8:57 AM on November 25, 2004

    By the way, Hacking NetFlix covers both.
    posted by glibhamdreck at 9:47 AM on November 25, 2004

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