Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blockbuster Online vs. Netflix

I don't know why it has taken me so long to sign up for an Internet movie rental service, but my only guess could be that I was waiting for the right time. Right time for what, I have no idea. Following, I will detail the pros and cons of the two big online movie rental programs.

----Blockbuster Online----

To begin my adventure, I decided to start with Blockbuster Online to see how different they were from Netflix. After two attempts to sign up successfully, I was online and already filling up my queue. Undaunted by the fact I wasn't able to start immediately, I put that all behind me and began to enjoy finding movies that I have wanted to see but somehow passed me by. After adding two dozen movies to my list, I continue to use their website. All the while, I notice the website is a little cluttered. There is this huge section devoted to your queue. Why this needs to be on every page you look at is beyond me, but Blockbuster felt its important, so I move on.

The next day I recieve an email telling me that movies have shipped. I can't help but be excited as I browse the selections, ignoring my work, and still add movies. Now, some of you may be saying that all of this sounds great. However, I have yet to tell you why this was the honeymoon period which led to my downfall and disgust with Blockbuster.

The entire reason I initially chose Blockbuster over Netflix was because they have an extra feature: 2 Free In-Store Rentals each month. Wow, what a deal right? Wrong. You can only use the coupons if you do not have any online rentals at home. Basically they have to recieve your online movies before you can use your coupons. They also expire.

Blockbuster is VERY slow in processing and mailing. Those movies they said were shipped on Wednesday? I got them on Saturday. We'll get to how this is a bad thing when I describe Netflix. Not only were they slow, they seemed to change the status of my queued movies. A movie I had at the top of my queue was available "now" but in the span of eight hours moved to "short wait" and then to "long wait".

After my two week trial was close to over with, I said "Forget it! I'm done with this service." That's when I decided that anything would be better than this and I was right.


The second half of my adventure for the quest of The One Ring...ahem...sorry, wrong review. After my letdown with Blockbuster, I knew there was only one choice and that was Netflix. Signing up was effortless and their website was well organized, clean, and quick. So much of a drastic change, I began to wonder how Blockbuster, a giant of a corporate chain, could not afford better web designers. Nevertheless, I was pleased.

So, in order to test the waters, I began transferring my useless Blockbuster queue over to my new golden ticket. Every single movie I added was available. Like a dog unwary of his new master, I started adding more movies to attain some idea of Netflix's availability status. So far, I have not had to wait for a movie.

The shipping! Oh, the glorious shipping! After filling my queue, I was told it would be a max of three days to recieve my movies. Two days later my mailbox was full. Let me tell you, there is a huge difference between two days and four days.

Even the recommendations are more accurate than Blockbusters. Plus the fact you can add a friend and look at their rated movies or queue. The only downside to Netflix is in the rating system: there are no half stars. If that's the only bad thing I can think of, it's pretty obvious which service is better.

----Final Verdict----

In the end, I have to choose Netflix because they provide a much smoother experience. The shipping speed, website ease-of-use, and overall satisfaction leads me to give my nod to it. Sorry, Blockbuster, you can't topple this movie pioneer.

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