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Netflix versus Blockbuster

Netflix vs. Blockbuster: which one is better? That depends on you.

Summary: Netflix has more movie choices, is faster with delivery, has twice as many shipping centers and costs less. Netflix also ships out a new DVD the day they get your return, so turn-around time is shorter than Blockbusters. Netflix offers free online movies so any place you have High Speed access is now a movie theater. Online movies are Netflix's trump card; 6,000 stores is Blockbuster's card. Simple rule: if you don't want to pay late fees or wait in a store line, and want to watch movies online for free, pick Netflix; if you pass by a Blockbuster store everyday or can walk to one, pick Blockbuster.

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Netflix versus Blockbuster

Movie Choice: Selection + Availability
Netflix has 100,000 movies titles, Blockbuster 80,000. Netflix has a deeper inventory of Classic, Independent, Foreign, and Documentaries then Blockbuster, but Blockbuster seems to stock more copies of the Mega-hits or blockbusters. Blockbuster has 6,000 stores (Netflix has 0) but not all stores participate with the online promotions and store selection is generally spotty. Netflix has 17,000 Online Movies that you can watch anytime for free. Advantage: Netflix

Speed of Delivery: Turn Around Time + Shipping Centers
95% of the US can get a DVD from Netflix in one Mailing day; Netflix ships you a DVD the day they get it so there is no "lost time". Netflix is fast. Blockbuster is slow to process returns and mail out a new DVD, saying it takes 1-3 days to get you a DVD - Netflix sites says 1 day. Our experience backs this up. The reason? Netflix is faster because they have more shipping centers. Netflix claims to have 100 shipping centers, but in reality only 47 Mail DVDs out, the others just receive DVDs. Blockbuster has only 23 shipping centers. If you live close to a Blockbuster shipping center it may even up the delivery time but Blockbuster is still much slower with movie processing and turn around time. Advantage: Netflix

Price Comparison
Netflix's 3 DVD-at-a-time plan costs $16.99 flat, Blockbuster's 3 DVD-at-a-time plan costs a whopping $34.99 plus tax with unlimited in store exchanges, $19.99 plus tax with 5 in store exchanges a month, and $15.99 plus tax with no in store exchanges. Adding the tax and the "lost movie days" resulting from Blockbuster's slower shipping and turn around time makes Netflix not only cheaper but allows you to watch more movies in the same time period. In December 07, Blockbuster raised their prices significantly (from $2 to $10 per plan), so just a few months ago price was in Blockbuster's favor, but no more. Advantage: Netflix

Online Movies: Netflix 17,000, Blockbuster 0
All Netflix memberships above $4.99 come with unlimited and free online movies. Netflix's trump card will only get better as Netflix is constantly adding more online movies. Blockbuster does not offer online movies. Watching movies online with Netflix is easy, just download Netflix's program and in 30 seconds you can watch a movie or a TV show. Traveling with your laptop, for business or pleasure, is a lot more fun with Netflix. Advantage: Netflix

Local Stores: Blockbuster 6,000, Netflix 0
Blockbuster has 6,000 stores so chances are one is in your area. If you pass by a Blockbuster on your daily commute then Blockbuster has some perks. Broken DVD? Just pop in and replace it. But remember, every DVD you get from the store you have to return to the store - and late fees apply to store DVDs. If your local store is a franchise they might not participate with the online program. In store DVD turn around can take a few days as it seems to take a day or two for the return credit to show up. The big hassle is you still have to go to the store, the whole point of Netflix is NOT going to a store. Advantage: Blockbuster

Customer Service
It is hard to compare the customer service between the two companies as the scale is so different: Netflix has 9 million members, Blockbuster 43 million. Netflix has amazing customer service, an 800 number is available 24/7 with really helpful and smart people on the phone, truly one of the best customer service experiences around. Blockbuster's customer service is more corporate, getting a live person on the phone is hard work, as they seem to prefer to communicate with you by 'form' email. But you can drive down to a Blockbuster store and talk with a manager and try and make your problem the manager's problem. Just make sure it is not a franchised Blockbuster as they do not play by the same rules and might not care about your online problems. Advantage: Netflix

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Netflix vs. Blockbuster