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Review Of Netflix DVD Rental Service

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the damn-rental-fees dept.

Movies 260

Bigbird504 writes "If you haven't already heard of Netflix, they basically rent DVDs online... but for a price of $20/month. While many believe it isn't worth it, many others do feel its a good bargain. Afterall, you can take out 3 DVDs at a time. Best of all, there are no late fees on returns. You keep the DVD as long as you like, and return it when you are done. Its a pretty interesting concept, and may be well worth the money. Check out this review on Netflix."

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NetFlix rocks (1)

wirm (190901) | more than 12 years ago | (#2981983)

Netflix worked well for me, i used it for a few months and will continuing doing so. Works even better if you have a mailbox at work, you dont even have to stop at one to drop it off =p

Re:NetFlix rocks (2, Insightful)

looseBits (556537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982023)

I live in Dallas and my wife and I have been using netflix for several months. We really do like their service. I've got Cristopher Walken's Brainstorm on the way - try finding that at BlockBuster.

Now, one interesting side effect of this rental system is that you try to turn around movies as fast as you can so you can maximize the number you can get per month and thus increase your values (getting 6 movies for $20 instead of 3).

There are a couple of features NetFlix needs to add to their service:

1) Multiple sign-in accounts per 1 rental account:
NetFlix allows you to rate movies and then makes suggestions based on your ratings (much like TiVo). Now, if my wife signs in (as me, of course), her ratings will completely screw up its suggestions to me (I couldn't stand 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape').

2) The ability to set a definite sequence in your rental queue: With NetFlix, you set up a list on 10 movies you would like to see. If the first on your list isn't available, they will send you the seconds one. I am not sure how the algorithm works but what if I wanted to see the Godfather trilogy, I don't want to get II then III then I.

Re:NetFlix rocks (2, Informative)

Dreyfus (176426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982217)

NetFlix allows you to rate movies and then makes suggestions based on your ratings

If you want an automated movie rating system, I suggest Movielens [umn.edu] . Most of the time it does a pretty good job for me (although no matter what I do I can't seem to convince it I'm not a die hard sci-fi/fantasy fan).

Since it's... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2981985)

...coming up to the start of a new academic year I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain how lucky you Americans are to have a fraternity system.

English Universities are so dull by comparison. Like most students in England I had to rent private accommodation for my second and third years, but it never occurred to us to build a whole culture around collectively renting a rather dilapidated house in Clapham. It wasn't even single sex accommodation, so we couldn't engage in the fun and games of para-homosexual activities - Girls just don't have the same grip on your loyalties as your Greek brothers ;-). And while cliques certainly form in English Universities, the are all much too boring to come up with the idea of hazing. I fondly recall diving off a weir and almost drowning when I was 12 because everyone said I was chicken. If only it had been possible for me to gain respect in later life through similar tests, and if these tests could have been combined with pseudo Masonic rituals culminating in the awarding of a little badge, then that truly would have made my time at University worthwhile. And while I still have friends from University, these friendships seem so hollow compared to bonds of fraternal brotherhood since they are not based on solemn vows of fellowship, mutual sacrifice, group solidarity and owning the same poxy little badge.

Then there's sheer joy alcohol seems to bring fraternity members.. By the time I went to university the delights of getting dangerously drunk at parties had started to seem mundane. But to American students in fraternities, the bravado of excessive alcohol consumption is a an exciting new and illicit game where you can prove yourself worthy to all your male friends and simultaneously circumvent college alcohol policy - thereby proving what a rebel you are too. Gosh.

I am also rather fond of the references to ancient Greece. It reeks of a history far nobler and grander than anything a British University can instil its students with, and the wearing of togas must make it seem as authentic as a ploughman's lunch.

I think what I am trying to say is that Fraternities give young Americans the chance to grow up in their own time, and that it is regrettable that no similar opportunity is afforded to European Students. In particular, I find it sad that even some American students forego the opportunity to wear togas and claim to be Greek. Really this should be mandatory, so every graduate will be secure in the knowledge that they have gained something much more valuable than a degree from an American University - a little badge with some Greek letters on it.

Although I am not American, I admire the system so much that I would dearly love to become an honorary member of a fraternity. I have set my heart on becoming an alumni of Theta Omicron Sigma Sigma Epsilon Ro Sigma. I do so hope this is possible.

Re:Since it's... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982176)

best part of american fraternities? definitely date rape

I do Netflix instead of broadcast or cable TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982296)

I've completely given up broadcast TV and spend my cable budget on Netflix. I got sick of commercials and the 56-channels-and-nothing-on syndrome, so I made the switch.

I give Netflix three stars, with the following accounting for one star withheld:

  • variable delivery times: never make a date to watch a DVD with somebody until the disc is in your hands. You can't count on it arriving on time
  • aging stock: recently it seems a lot of the classic/obscure material is coming with minor flaws. They need to retire discs after n rentals so you're guaranteed to be renting a newer disc

Hmm, This will submarine.... (3, Funny)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 12 years ago | (#2981987)

Litigation is scheduled to follow the minute that we can cheaply and reliably copy DVD's.

AWG

Re:Hmm, This will submarine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982054)

Haha.. and this is different from Block Buster how?

Re:Hmm, This will submarine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982427)

>Haha.. and this is different from Block Buster how?
>
You can get a bunch of suckers to pony up $20.00 or more a month in advance to rent a bunch of rather lame movies. Blockbuster has a better deal where you pay $9.99 a year to get a second rental free on certain days (I think it's Mon,Tue,Wen at my local BB) plus you get a free coupon for a movie and game rental every month. Also I think for every 5th movie you rent you get a free rental.

In Canada dvdhype.com (5, Informative)

slippy51 (170287) | more than 12 years ago | (#2981992)

for those of you in Canada check out a similar service offered here at dvdhype.com [dvdhype.com] . I've been using the service for over a year now and I am very satisified with the service.

Jews Had To Be Good For Something (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2981994)

Alright I was reading a couple stories and I just decided to share this little
story about the time I hit it with a Jew girl using deception and cunning. LOL.
I mean it's not real hard to act like another person or make others believe you
are.

When I was a senior in high school last year not long before my 18th birthday I
was just cruising through school. After we changed classes at the end of second
semester I got into a class with this really hot girl named Cindy who I was
sitting by in the seating chart, well I knew from the first day I was gonna try
and hit it with this girl, but I didn't think it would be nearly as complicated
as it turned out. One day in class we had to pair up and do this project (it was
history class) and it was on the Cold War, well into the convo we started
talking about those Jew Rosenberg's selling the atom bomb and I said "well what
the hell do you expect for those fucking kikes?" and she looked at me and said
"what did you just say?" and I repeated myself and she said, "You ignorant
asshole I'm Jewish," and I looked at her and said, "Well sux to be you" and
started laughing. Well we didn't talk the rest of the project, I just let her do
the work then I guess to be a dick I acted like I was scratching my arm and
pulled up the sleeve to show my Neo-Nazi tattoo to her (I am a proud and loyal
NNLR member) and she said, "I can't believe I am sitting next to a Nazi," and I
was like, "I am unfortunately not a Nazi, I missed the good old days," and
started laughing and man was she pissed.

To go on, well we went through the next few weeks barely saying anything to each
other and me and A.J. (a fellow NNLR in my class) would sometimes say some shit
to her. Well it pissed her off enough to try and get her boyfriend after me so
he came up to my table and asked me about some shit and I ended fucking him up
in the lunch room, I mean it was a weak fight with some Jew-loving soccer player
against me a pure Aryan linebacker. LOL. I ended up getting 10 days out for
drawing blood and I just cruised through that easy as hell.

When I came back I found out that sometime when I was gone she had broken up
with her boyfriend. I am not sure why, but it figures he gets his ass beat for
her and she dumps him later for something. Typical Jew. In class, she eyes me
when I sat down and didn't say anything to me, I started razzing her and was
like, "how's you boyfriend doing?" and she's like, "I am not going out with him
anymore but I am sure he's doing fine," and I said, "broke up with him after he
gets his ass beaten for you, that some kind of Hebrew thing?" and she said, "Oh
shut up you asshole, I am so tired of hearing you talk about that," and I razzed
her a little longer. Anyways, later in the month we had a project we had to do
out of class, and it had to be with my desk partner she was mad, but she's a
crazy A student and she asked me, "Well do you want to do the assignment at my
house or yours?" and I said, "Well I am not allowed to have Jews at my house"
and me and AJ started laughing, I was like, "Why don't you just do it?" and she
said, "'cause you're not getting an A for my work," so we ended up going to her
house well it's a typical Hebe home, with the 8 candle stuff and I knocked on
the door and her mom answered, "Hi, are you Luke?" and I was like, "In the
flesh," she said, "Come on in Cindy is in her room," and I looked around and saw
all this Jew stuff and I sort of scoffed, anyway I went to her room and she's
like, "Alright lets get started," and I was just looking around, "I don't think
I'll be able to concentrate in this Yid hol,e" and she's like, "Well then I'll
tell Mr. Deen that you didn't do anything," so I had to sit there and figure out
the project with her.

I wasn't really doing anything but nodding when she said something. While I was
sitting there I was scoping her and thinking what it would be like to get a
piece of Jew ass, I was thinking it the whole time I mean is there really
anything wrong with using one for sex? I mean not dating just fucking? and I
thought about that the whole time.

The night after I went home I was looking at my ceiling and thinking the whole
night on how to fuck Cindy, I was going over some ways and though well maybe
I'll be like in the movies and act like I changed and then after I fuck her,
just tell the bitch about it and break her little kick heart. LOL. I talked it
over with Tom, AJ, and Rob, they all wondered why I wanted to fuck the Jew, but
they knew she was hot and stuff. I decided to act like I didn't want to be a
NNLR anymore and have like AJ and them act like I changed in front of her. Not
to go into much detail, but it was a good plan to tap that ass.

At school the next day I went over to her and was like, "How you doing?" She
seemed a little surprised, "I'm alright," and then AJ walked by and we sorta
gave each other this fake little mean look that we made sure she noticed. She
was like, "Are you and AJ mad about something?" and I was like, "I don't know
he's a dick," she goes, "I thought you guys were good friends?" and I'm like,
"We were but the NNLR are starting to piss me off," and she's like "Is that so?"
and I'm like, "Yeah I am thinking about getting out," and she's like, "That's
good, maybe then you'll stop being such a prick." I wanted to say something but
I restrained and continued the charade.

It lasted much longer than that to her, and I'm not going to go into depth but
in the next few weeks I made it look like I had gotten out of the NNLR's and to
her I wasn't hanging out with them anymore well we had to do another project and
I was like, "Let's do it at my house" and she's like, "I thought you weren't
allowed to have Jewish people there?" I sorta gave a sad face and was like "I'm
not like that anymore," which she thought was true. That night I had to
rearrange my room take down all my party and NNLR emblems and stuff and I made a
great effort to make it look like a typical room. When she came over she was
like "Wow your house is nice," which it is since both my parents are business
workaholics and I'm like "Thanks, it's alright." Well we got into the project
and after it was done we started watching TV on the couch. We got into a deep
convo about the NNLR and I had to say some bad things that it was hard to say
and eventually when she was leaving I talked her into a date with me for
Saturday, I was gonna kiss her but I didn't really feel like pushing it since I
was hoping to get in those little kike panties this weekend anyway.

As the week went on we talked in class and stuff until she probably thought I
was a very tolerant ex-bigot that was pushed into joining the NNLR because of
bad parenting and a need for acceptance. LOL. Not bad huh?

As Saturday came along we went on our date and went to a real expensive place
and ate then we went to a movie, and we held hands and walked around the mall, I
could tell their was no way I was going to get in her pants on the first date
for some reason and I was a little pissed, but I figured it will come
eventually, the date ended that night after making plans for another and we went
into a french kiss in front of her house. She went inside and I wiped off my
mouth, damn I hated kissing the Jew, I just wanted to fuck her. LOL.

We had two more dates before anything real sexual happened and that was when we
were in my car outside her house after going to another expensive restaurant
(damn Jews) and she gave me a decent blowjob in the car. I came all in her mouth
and she swallowed every drop like a good Jew, we made plans for another date the
next weekend and I had the feeling I was finally going to fuck my Jew.

I picked her up and we went to see a movie, then after we went to eat and talk
and junk like that you gotta go through to get laid, I talked her into coming to
my house and I knew I was going to fuck her, well we got into it on the couch
and she gave me another decent blow job and again swallowed like a good Jew.
Then I got her into the bed by like fake tackling her after she stood up we
started laughing and she's like "stop it" and I undid the buttons on her shirt
and we started kissing. So much for stopping it, I got her bra off and sucked on
her tits, then got her jeans off and was about to pull off her panties and she's
like, "Stop it Luke!" and I stopped and looked up all sad faced like, "Why
what's wrong?" and she said, "I never had sex before."

I was rock hard, by the end of the sentence I had the opportunity to pop a Jew
girls cherry I started acting all nice like "Well I don't care if you're a
virgin you'll like it I promise," and she sat up and I kissed her and started
talking about never doing it and eventually I got her to lay down through some
good talking I might add and I took off her panties and finally got a glimpse of
her bush which was pretty fine I might add, I started thinking about a condom,
but then I was like are you stupid? Don't wear one, I mean she's probably not
even thinking about that, and pulled off my underwear and prepared to put it in,
then she asked about a condom and I said don't worry I'm sterile, LOL. I don't
know why she believed me but she didn't press the issue.

She looked a little scared but I wasn't really going to hurt her anyway in that
fashion 'cause I just wanted to fuck the kike bitch. I don't have a monster cock
like it seems everyone else in these stories have but I am very proud of my 7
incher and I led it to her very very tight pussy. I mean I had fucked tight
girls before but never a virgin, and I put it into her and she started like
sorta startled moaning and when I reached the hymen her face was all like all
closed up so I just rammed it in and busted the hymen, she screamed pretty loud,
but then I start inching it in and she was moaning sort of, well I continued the
pace figuring I'd fuck her again later and just went in and out till I came in
her. After I was done I looked at her and she was like all sweaty even worse
than me, and I don't know how much she enjoyed it, but she put her arm on me, I
fucked her again like 40 minutes later and this time I felt her orgasm, she
called her mom and said she was staying at a friend's, and then she fell asleep.

I laid on the bed thinking about how to show her that not only had I just used
her Jew body, but I was still a very loyal NNLR, so while she was sleeping I put
my room (which is my entire basement) like it was before that night she came for
the project, and I had my swastika flag over the bed and the Fuhrer and my SS
posters and stuff back up, and I even put my swastika screen saver on, then I
laid down next to her and dozed off.

I woke up the next morning before her when it was light and decided on another
thing to do so I left a note on the lampshade next to her all it said was
"Thanks for the easy fuck last night, I did enjoy it, when you wake up please
leave my room I don't want your Jewish bitch ass here longer than that. Claiming
NNLR 4 Life" LOL.

I sat in the living room and a little later I saw her walking on the side of our
house where the basement is onto the sidewalk to walk home and she was like
crying hard I mean like her face was so red. LOL. I loved it and the fact that
she lives a 10 minute drive from me and she had to walk all red and stuff home.

When I went to school on Monday I found out that she had asked Mr. Deen for a
new seat and talked him into it and I got to sit my AJ which was cool as hell. I
looked at her but she just sat there and didn't look back. I heard later from
friends she had to go through therapy and all this stuff and her Dad like almost
came after me with a gun when she got home that day, and I wish he would have
I'd have dropped his ass with my .45 as soon as he stepped foot on my property.

NetFlix was good once upon a time... (1, Interesting)

loggia (309962) | more than 12 years ago | (#2981998)

Is this an ad? A review for NetFlix... on NetFlix?

Anyway, this was once a GREAT service, but as I am sure many posts to follow will indicate, it slipped as the dot-com funds disappeared. It takes way too long for processing of returned DVDs and too long to receive new ones - if you can even get the titles you want.

Here's to ya NetFlix, once a great service, still a great idea!

Re:NetFlix was good once upon a time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982028)

I believe the review is from newsgeek but then again I actually clicked on the link.

Re:NetFlix was good once upon a time... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982029)

Is this an ad?

I'm beginning to wonder. I've started to see a lot of posts to Slashdot lately that look more like ads than "Stuff that matters"

NetFlix has been around for some time now. It just now shows up on Slashdot sounding like a plug? Coincedence?

Re:NetFlix was good once upon a time... (2, Insightful)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982166)

Is this an ad? A review for NetFlix... on NetFlix?

Nope, it's just clumsily worded. Newsgeek does the review.

Re:NetFlix was good once upon a time... (2, Informative)

ericsante (194883) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982293)

I agree when the service first started it was GREAT all the movies you WANTED on first shot, but as the userbase grew you would not get the 1st movie on your list it was more like 7 8 or 9 and forget about getting new releases...... ;)

I live on the east coast so delivery sometimes took as much as 8 working days. Also usmail lost 2 dvd's that I returned, no charge for the lost dvd's but they keep totals as how many rented / lost / returned on your acount...

Sure it's an interesting service (1)

Delrin (98403) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982001)

But I doubt it will last, I mean who would want to rent 3 DVDs and then just watch those over and over again? You'd still have to make a trip to pick up something new.. Could really save on those excruciating Blockbuster [blockbuster.com] late charges though..

Re:Sure it's an interesting service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982033)

You don't just watch them over and over again, man. You send them back in their return postage paid envelopes. When netflix gets them in, they send you more videos that are loaded in your rental queue.

Re:Sure it's an interesting service (2)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982329)

Well the idea is you can only have 3 DVDs at a time. When I was a member I would watch one, send it back right away, and the next one in my queue would ship out. So I always had a continous cycling of DVDs. It was nice for when I was building up my DVD collection because I saved a bundle on rental charges.

Problems with DVD Rentals (1)

Arthur_42 (300355) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982005)

Somehow I don't think that DVD rentals will take off the way VHS rentals did. About half the time either I or a friend rents a DVD it is scratched to the point of being unusable. When burnable DVDs get cheap enough to be used frequently people we really start in on copying DVDs, so rental places won't have a place. If I want to watch a DVD I don't have, I'll borrow it from a friend.

Re:Problems with DVD Rentals (3, Insightful)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982027)

They're already taking off. Do a google search on "dvd rental percentage [google.com] " and read some of the stories. While DVD rentals are still only a fraction of the movie-rental market, it's a fraction that's growing by leaps and bounds.

Now, if the movie industry wasn't so lame, what they'd do is send the movies to the rental places over the net, and each individual store would burn their own discs. But I somehow don't see that happening.

Re:Problems with DVD Rentals (1)

morgus morphus (175508) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982421)

And how exactly do you propose they do this, when each CD-R costs as much as they charge for a rental? Huh?
Also don't forget that for places like Blockbuster there is a lot more money to be made from renting out the 1% of movies that 99% of people like to watch, and it will always be cheaper to stamp them and not burn them.

Re:Problems with DVD Rentals (1)

Grax (529699) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982041)

For all the talk of copying DVDs I doubt it happens any more than the copying of VHS movies.

I've rented DVDs multiple times and never had a bad result.

If your friend doesn't have it then what happens? He rents it (aka DVD rental taking off) or he buys it (aka DVD sales taking off)

Re:Problems with DVD Rentals (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982097)

About half the time either I or a friend rents a DVD it is scratched to the point of being unusable.

I have never seen this. The durability of DVDs is a major reason for wanting to rent them. VHS tapes, like cassette tapes, get worn out easily. Many, many times I've rented a nearly unusable VHS tape.

When burnable DVDs get cheap enough to be used frequently people we really start in on copying DVDs, so rental places won't have a place

Burnable DVDs, at least the present kind, don't store as much as movie DVDs (4.7 GB vs over 6 GB). Perhaps there is a technical reason for this, but I wouldn't discount the influence of the MPAA.

Wrong, think about the uasage pattern (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982233)

Sure, if you're building a video library, DVD's are the way to go, since you don't have to worry about VCR heads damaging your tape. But with netflix, you're getting a DVD which has been mailed multiple times, set media-side down on multiple coffee tables, used as a frisbee, etc.

Even with blockbuster, the last half-dozen DVDs I've rented have skipped at least once. I cancelled my netflix account when the last movie I received from them was phsycially broken (a crack all the way through one side).


I think this is going to hasten the rise of video-on-demand vs. movie rental. Food for thought: 10 years ago, forget about going to Blockbuster and getting a new release after 9 on Friday or Saturday. When was the last time you were in a video store on a weekend and saw a recent movie completely checked out?

Re:Problems with DVD Rentals (1)

neafevoc (93684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982273)

Burnable DVDs, at least the present kind, don't store as much as movie DVDs (4.7 GB vs over 6 GB). Perhaps there is a technical reason for this, but I wouldn't discount the influence of the MPAA.

That's because the DVD burners out on the consumer market can only burn single layer, whereas majority of the movies on DVDs out right now are pressed on dual layer.

I think I'm correct about that one.

Btw, I know there are single layers, double sided single layer, single sided dual layer, double sided dual layer DVDs. I have a couple movies that are double sided single layer (The Usual Suspects where one side is wide screen and the other 4:3 format). I was wondering if there were actually double sided dual layer movies being released. It could seem a hassle though... No label and get prints on it easier. Just wondering. (Yeah, I know it's OT). :)

My personal review (5, Interesting)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982009)

We've been a netflix survivor for half a year or so, and I really like it. It's especially great for watching things like The Sopranos, where there are four one-hour episodes on each disc, and you don't necessarily want to watch them all in the same night -- you can keep it as long as you want.

Unlike the reviewer, we're all the way in Boston, so turnaround time is much higher -- sometimes more than a week round-trip. This means that unlike the 45 movies he mentions, we can only fit seven or eight in a month, and that only if we watch right when they come, so I'm highly looking forward to the rumored east-coast distribution center. (This article was the first I'd heard of that.)

Still, it works out to a pretty decent deal for us, and the convenience is unbeatable, especially in these sad and dark post-Kozmo [wired.com] days. We've got a queue of about 45 movies stacked up (and like the reviewer, pretty much always get the first thing on our list -- I don't know if they do this, but I can imagine crunching everyone's upcoming queues for optimal dispersal of inventory...). It's basically like TV-on-demand, with really high latency.

Freudian slip (2)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982106)

Weird! I totally meant to write "netflix subscriber", and in rereading the above just now, I notice I actually wrote "netflix survivor". And I even used "preview" and everything. Well. Take that as you will. :)

Re:My personal review (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982143)

Pluses:
-nearly complete selection of DVDs (not the top-10 stuff of blockbuster); if you are into obscure stuff, this is essential;
-walking to mail box is easier than driving to Blockbuster (some folks don't mind, but I'm growing attached to ordering everything over the net -- for me it's down to groceries and haircuts).
-I have the "blank memory" syndrome when I walk into Blockbuster -- I can't remember that good movie reviewed somewhere; and I end up walking around blockbuster for 45 minutes wondering why I'm wasting my life in here: the netflix rental queue allows you to just save that choice as soon as you see the review and forget it; then it eventually shows up in your mailbox
-for those complaining about not getting your top choice -- try this: generally you can reserve a movie not to long after it comes out in the theatres (e.g. Ali). Did this with American Pie 2 and it came very shortly after release (as evidenced by the lack of scratches -- though that one was pretty bad)

Minuses:
-the rating and recommendation system is a joke, everything has a 3 or 4 stars. Use http://www.imdb.com to build up your queue
-you've gotta watch movies at a decent clip (6-7/mo) to be as cost effective as blockbuster; however I think the luxury of selection/walking to mailbox/and elimination of "blank mind" syndrome are worth it
-I've had to clean a couple of the more popular discs that came: fingerprints, crud, etc.

Did Netflix... (2, Troll)

pigeonhed (137303) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982016)

have to pay for this advertisment or is this in some way that i am missing news?

Re:Did Netflix... (1)

loggia (309962) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982021)

I thought it was strange too. It's not like NetFlix is even remotely new...

Sounds like a good idea... (1)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982019)

...but (and correct me if I'm wrong):

If you live on the east coast, you're going to have to put a lot of faith in the post (ha)

They don't seem to rent out porns

Re:Sounds like a good idea... (1)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982183)

* If you live on the east coast, you're going to have to put a lot of faith in the post (ha)

They make some allowances. I'm in Tampa, FL and the turnaround time is about 3 days. When DVDs have become lost (3 times in 2 years), they've always credited my account and sent the next disk in my queue.

East coast (1)

Zcripter (150135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982020)

Since Netflix movies are shipped from the west coast,
its not very effective if you are on the
east coast. sometimes the time between sending and recieving a DVD is 1 Week+ .

Re:East coast (1)

Spuggy (69103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982415)

[From a post by Derekg99 in the story (take it for what it's worth, the equivalent of a /. post):
You should be happy to know they have recently started distribution center in worcester ma. I think that\'s where it is, if not, it\'s somewhere in MA so it makes the delay almost non-existant...]

Might make the service more feasible for us East-Coasters.

Same Story as Brick-And-Mortar (4, Interesting)

Null_Packet (15946) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982024)

Netflix was a great service for me, and I was a customer for a little over a year. But as their popularity grew, it became harder and harder to get new releases, etc. Netflix always delivered what they said they would on-time, and the ones we sent back in got to them quickly almost every time.

The real problem for us then was availability, and as new releases became harder and harder to get (they show up in your selection queue as out of stock or delayed or something) we found ourselves buying the new releases we liked and using netflix for older stuff we weren't sure was any good before we bought. When we had seen all the ones we wanted to via the service, we saw no point to keeping it. I guess you could say we used it up.

Take this comment as you will, because most people don't watch as many as I do. To date, I have roughly 300 DVD's and watch anywhere from 3-9 per week, as I watch very little television.

Former NetFlix Member (5, Interesting)

Frums (112820) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982025)

I joined NetFlix this past year and had a rather bad experience. My primary reason for joining was to gain access to anime rentals, as the only place in Atlanta that rents anime (that I know of) only has vhs.

But I digress, the big problem i ran into is their queue system. It sounds good, queue up the ones you want and they will send the highest one available as it becomes available. The problem is if your high demand ones are at all popular they will almost never get to you.

The flaw in their system is that they WILL send you a lower priority one when it becomes available. if you have you X number checked out they won't send you anything until you check something back in, then they will send out your highest rated available one - again generally not the one you want most as they tend to be in demand from everyone.

After a few months I realized I could buy the DVD's i wanted for the same price as i was spending either A) waiting with nothing extra in my queue for a specific couple movies, or B) watching lots of movies i don't especially want to but am vaguely interested in so stuck in my queue.

So, yeah, is a great deal if you don't especially care about getting a specific movie, but just one or two of a selection, but if you want some specific movies (which with their vast lit of titles is what attacted me) it is not so hot - especially if you want ones that are typically in high demand, but are not carried sufficiantly in Blockbuster (ie, most anime).

-Frums

Re:Former NetFlix Member (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982147)

Yeah, I ended up just keeping the queue of movies going so you always had something to watch for those nights you were bored, but then I'd still go out and rent specific ones if I wanted to.

It was nice to have the queue, so I could just throw in every movie I was interested in and not have to remember "Oh, Megan said I should rent that." Just throw in movies and eventually, they'll get to you. I guess you could do the same thing with a pen, but that never really occurs to me.

In the end I ended up cancelling anyway. I was only watching like 8 movies a month, and half of them came from the video store anyway, so I was paying $20/month for ~4 rentals and because I was too lazy to use a pen.

Oh well.

Re:Former NetFlix Member (4, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982170)

Agreed, I've been using NetFlix for one month (a Christmas gift; I have three months to go) and this is my biggest problem. Cowboy Bebop v.1 has been in high demand ever since I signed up, and it doesn't seem to be getting available anytime soon. "Long Wait" has been on my queue since I added it.

I think NetFlix needs to add a feature where their database is automatically checked on a weekly/monthly basis, and all high-demand-low-availability discs have extra copies purchased. Combine this with a "purchase used" feature, like the major video chains already do to get rid of movies that are no longer in high demand, and they'd have a killer service.

Economically, the service isn't much better than a pay-per-rental video store, once you factor in the travel time for your movies in the mail. But the convenience of not having to worry about returning them on time (something my family is awful about) is a big plus.

Re:Former NetFlix Member (2)

Nitar (261628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982281)

This was about the same experience I had. I really wonder how long the person who reviewed Netflix in the article, was subscribed for.

I had some specific movies I wanted to see. In my case, these were also anime dvds. Frums is correct. I don't know anywhere to get anime on dvd in Atlanta either. As an off-topic note, if anyone does, enlighten us...

Anyhow, I subscribed to Netflix for about 4 months. They said that it could take up to 3 months to get a particular title. One of the movies I wanted to see was in my queue for four months, and it had still never come back in.

I wrote Netflix several emails about this. Essentially, if these dvds were so popular that they couldn't keep them in stock, why not buy more? Well, they said they were working on it. But they were too slow, so I cancelled. I would have stayed subscribed had I been able to get any of the movies I actually wanted to see. But I kept getting movies that I could rent for really cheap at blockbuster.

My main purpose for Netflix was not the unlimited rental time. It was having access to a huge library of dvds. Although they claim a huge selection, the truth of the matter is that you don't have access to most of it, due to limited inventory. Being on the east coast, it would take 5 days, sometimes more, to get a movie. It would take the same amount of time to get a credit for returning a movie. So I didn't really save any money over going to Blockbuster. It turned out to be a waste of money for me.

So, take that for what it is worth. If they do open an east coast distribution center, and the stock is good, it may be worth trying again. But I think I'll wait another year or two.

-Nitar

still current NetFlix Member (2)

garyrich (30652) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982360)

On the anime dvds you are only telling half the story - as far as I can tell they have not purchased any new ones in the past year. try a search for anything released in 2001 and you will not find it. I've been with them since 12/99, but they bang for the buck is getting more slender all the time.

I can tell yuo what I'm going to do (1, Funny)

tplayford (308405) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982032)

Rent 3 DVDs, rip, rent 3 DVDs, rip ... repeat.


Well, as long as there is no nasty copy protection, humm.

Re:I can tell yuo what I'm going to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982315)

I'm 3 months ahead of you. And no, there is no nasty copy protection.

DivX Renting (1)

roxytheman (463262) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982035)

When will people offer rentals of DivX (or similar) online?
Well, (hmm, I am answering my own question too :-) ) we must make a new format that can't be easily copied first... What about those DVDs that could be read only X times that were mentioned on Slashdot earlier this week? well, they can't be transferred digitally... so they suck.

Re:DivX Renting (1)

smcv (529383) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982384)

Not going to happen... if they can send you a (insert your format here) over the net, it's a stream of bytes. If it's a stream of bytes, you can copy it (although it might be possible to use the same sort of methods as CSS or WMA, to obfuscate it enough that it doesn't seem copiable).

Slow turnaround time. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982039)

I subscribed for 5 months. Sometimes it would take three days to ship out the next selection after recieving the return. The queue page keeps up-to-date on the status of all so you know exactly the when and wheres of all your discs.

The one thing I didn't like was double disc sets counted as two rentals and not just one. So for like Citizen Kane, you have to rent the film disc and the bonus disc separately.

Tried it, and cancelled it... (4, Informative)

matthewcraig (68187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982040)

I used it for two months. Here's what I found:

- Their DVD selection was very impressive. Think Amazon.com.
- NetFlix provides a rating system that they use to generate rental suggestions.
- Customer service never responded to emails, but I did see changes possibly due to my suggestions.
- NetFlix took seven business days to deliver to Atlanta. (i.e. Needs an East Coast distribution center.)
- They charge state tax even without local presence.

Conclusion: A great deal if you live near Los Gatos, California!

Re:Tried it, and cancelled it... (2)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982208)

The review site linked in the main story comments that there is supposed to now be a Massachusetts distribution center, i.e. one on the east coast.

Re:Tried it, and cancelled it... (1)

bobwoodard (92257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982289)

They charge state tax even without local presence.

Here's their take on the tax thing:

In our case, state officials have ruled that because the discs you rent from Netflix are still owned by us, Netflix has a physical presence in your state. This makes Netflix's tax collection responsibility the same as if it had a brick-and-mortar store in your local neighborhood

A Great Service, Depiste The Latency (1)

redross (204085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982044)

I've been a happy, East Coast Netflix user for a while. There is a significant lag time, but the selection is so superior to the offerings in local video outlets that it is worth it. Also, their DVDs are usually in better condition.

Finally, they are willing to take responsibility for the inevitable lost DVDs. When a DVD I returned to them was lost in the mail, I just reported it lost on their website and they immediately removed it from my list of currently rented movies. There was no charge to me and minimal inconvenience. Go Netflix!

Re:A Great Service, Depiste The Latency (1)

Nitar (261628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982309)

Except that their superior selection is mostly out of stock. Try renting an anime. They are always out of stock. Is Netflix too cheap to buy more copies? From the posts I've read, several people here (including myself) have quit Netflix for that very reason.

It seems to me that it would benefit them more to just shell out the cash for some more copies of highly requested dvds. Otherwise they lose customers, and the $240/year that each one provides them.

-Nitar

Irrelevant for half the Slashdot readers (0, Troll)

skarkkai (460411) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982047)

This is a fine example of a story that forgets that large part of Slashdot readers don't live in US. For them it's spectacularly irrelevant if Netflix is worth the money or not, since they can't use it anyway.

It's true that it seems possible to exclude stories in the "United states" category, but how many readers bother going through all the prefs options - and not all US stories are uninteresting. Stories should mention it when the product in question is available in US only.

Re:Irrelevant for half the Slashdot readers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982058)

You wasted even more time by writing and posting this comment than you would have by just skipping the story and reading something else that wasn't US centric.

Re:Irrelevant for half the Slashdot readers (1)

mattdm (1931) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982074)

I'm in the US; I like to read about cool things that are only available in Europe or Japan. (Happens often enough on /.) Shows you what you're missing out on. :)

Whiny foreign scum! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982096)

... and there is a large (read: LARGE) amount of Slashdot readers who AREN'T in Australia.

MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982121)

Good point!

Re:Irrelevant for half the Slashdot readers (2)

lizrd (69275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982192)

I'm in the US and I'd really like to have an option in the user preferences that allows me exclude all of the "this is about something in the US so it sucks" comments. If it could also block all of the "this is boring and slashdot sucks" comments and the "this is old news, why would we want to talk about old news?" comments.

Honestly, if you don't find something interesting don't waste your time and mine by writing a comment about it. There are probably quite a few people out here who do find it interesting and worth discussing.

Re:Irrelevant for half the Slashdot readers (1)

10.0.0.1 (153985) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982331)

a story that forgets that large part of Slashdot readers don't live in US.

Forgets? How about doesn't care. Go away, troll.

Biggest problem with Netflix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982052)

When I want to watch a movie, I'd like to watch it *now*, rather than in a week or so. I tried them out for a month, and I was able to view eight movies. That was one night apiece, watch the movies and send them back ASAP. 8 for $20. Probably a $12 savings over Blockbuster, but with them I get instant gratification and I can keep the movies longer. No thanks.

Mail-Renting (2)

yoink! (196362) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982055)

From what the reviewer writes it does seem like the idea is a good one. Everyone hates late fees anyway, so right off the bat it seems like it's bound to succeed. One thing the reviewer mentions is the added hassle of dropping the movies off at a mailbox. I would think that, in many circumstances, mailboxes are closer than the rental stores the films would be returned to anyway; besides the films come right to your door. Not bad?

Unfortunately the idea can't fly. In these weak iEconomic times it seems like another dot com idea claiming to make the most simple of things (renting a movie) simpler, would be discounted quickly if not ignored at all. People, in general, (and I'm stereotyping here,) enjoy the experience of renting a movie. When done as a group it can be an additional source of entertainment itself. Additionally the flat rate $20/month subscription fee, ultimately desired as the most profitable source of income, will quickly get tiresome... especially those months where you fail to rent a movie. As the final straw it should be noted that renting a movie often involves (at least in paraphased forms) the following request, "Do you want to get a movie tonight?"

"Sorry, it takes two days for them to come in the mail..." Well, it just won't cut it.

Re:Mail-Renting (4, Informative)

Arthen (444856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982265)

Unfortunately the idea can't fly. In these weak iEconomic times it seems like another dot com idea claiming to make the most simple of things (renting a movie) simpler, would be discounted quickly if not ignored at all.

But the idea is already flying. According to Netflix [netflix.com] they've been in business since 1998 and currently have 500,000 subscribers. That's over $10 million a month in subscription revenue, assuming subscriptions average out to the $20/3-movie level. In fact, since there's only one lower level (2 movies a month at $14) but three upgrades available, they most likely average higher than that.

Of course, since Netflix is privately held, we don't know what their bottom line looks like. But they're also not exposed to anti-dot.com feeling in the stock markets.

I'd say that they're well past the point of a new dot.com idea with no proven business plan, and pretty well established. Will they last long-term? Who'd want to predict that? Of course, they're potentially vulnerable to rate hikes by the USPS [usps.com] , but they've got plenty of allies to help them lobby against extreme ones, and I'm sure their number-crunchers have run plenty of scenarios to plan for higher postage costs.

Inquisition this, you science dinks! --The Tick

Re:Mail-Renting (1)

Spuggy (69103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982339)

Pretty much what everyone else is saying here. You gotta be watching 6+ movies a month (more than I usually rent as it is--I'd almost feel obligated to watch bad movies) and live on the West Coast. And it seems to me that if you watch 10+ movies a month, you're much better off getting a pass at one of your local Video Rental Stores (ie. I know Blockbuster had a $20 DVD pass that let you get one DVD a night for a month) As long as you return the movies on time (granted a pain and definitly the bane of Brick & Mortar stores), you can rent 30 movies a month. Sure you might have some difficulty getting the latest releases, but from what everyone else has posted this is just as big a problem with NetFlix as any other place. (Actually worse, because at least you can call up a store and nag them to see if its in, or just keep checking and hope you get lucky--I know Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and the local chains (Giant Eagle Video and Instant Reply) stock 50+ VHS copies and 20+ DVD copies of latest releases) NetFlix will suffer from discount pricing too, because they're really only buying for one distribution center--maybe the equivalent of 20-50 Brick & Mortar Centers; would be interested to see exact numbers. God knows how many Blockbusters there are out there and discounts they probably get from basically buying through one account.

So basically the service is great if:
1) You live on the West Coast
2) You rent more than 5+ movies, but less than 15 per month
3) You're basically looking for more obscure releases and aren't counting on getting the latest releases immediately.

Re:Mail-Renting (2)

nizo (81281) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982433)

People, in general, (and I'm stereotyping here,) enjoy the experience of renting a movie.


Yeah I must admit I really miss wrestling over the last copy of videos down at the local video store, and then waiting in line for 20 minutes to rent it for over $3. Seriously tho, so far I have had a good experience with Netflix (I have been using their service for the past few months). Certain videos do seem to be gone out of circulation for a long time (especially kids videos) but if I just couldn't wait to see it, heck I could go rent it/buy it locally. Come to think of it, half the time I go to Blockbuster what I want to rent (in the DVD section anyway) has already been rented too. I have to assume as their business picks up, they will start to buy more videos or else lose hordes of customers. And I agree with an earlier poster, they should sell their old and just sitting on the shelf videos...


I have been alot more paranoid about returning them to a REAL post office box (i.e. one located in an actual post office, as opposed to leaving them in the outgoing mail basket at work) and so far no problems either direction. I figure I have been easily getting at least 6 videos/month, so the price is reasonable, and not having to pay late fees has certainly saved me money there (why is it I can never get the stinkin videos back to Blockbuster on time??)

Personal Netflix Experience (1)

Mordanthanus (300840) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982056)

I tried the service a few months ago. The "no late fee" idea was a good one, but having to wait a week(!) for a movie to come in the mail was terrible. By the time the movie got to me, I would watch it same night, send it back the next day. But I could get 5 movies with 5 viewing days for the same money. I could only get 4 in a month because of the mail and still had to wait a week to watch it. That is if all the ppl on the west coast hadn't gotten them all first. I waited 3 weeks for a movie to come back in so they could send it to me. My girlfriend got so tired of waiting, decided to go get it from Blockbuster. Wouldn't you know it, showed up same day.

Overall: Excellent idea, but SNAIL mail?

Netflix almost cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982063)

Was a customer for a few years. Generally liked it but about half of the DVDs were unplayable when they arrived. Seemed like quality control was done by waiting for a customer complaint before checking a returned DVD.

It was also strange that about 1/3 of those I returned never arrived back at Netflix. They always immediately considered them retruned when I told them. But it did always make me wonder why so many were lost in the mail.

Net flix is good, on average (1)

Dandre (90053) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982066)

We've had net flix for about 2 months. We've watched about 7 flix, and have 3 ready to watch. Our turnaround is two-three days, because we're in Berkeley, which is nice. The price is right for us, as we're terrible at returning DVDs at blockbuster, so we're saving about 10 bucks a month this way.

Our biggest problem is that it's actually hard to browse their selection. If you know what you want, you can usually find it, but browsing is hard. Their categories aren't as complete as one would like, and the recommendations don't run all that deep (only 10-15 in the indie section, for example). A secondary problem is that we end up with 3 DVDs that we "think" we want to watch someday (e.g. movies like Remains of the Day, Requiem for a Dream) that just sit around because we never quite "feel" like it.

Overall we like the service, but it doesn't replace the impulse movie watching available through our local (non Blockbuster) rental store.

Cheers,

David Andre

cost benefit analysis anyone? (1)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982068)

I can't see myself ever using this service. I have a hard time with traditional rentals. Looking at a cost benefit analysis, a new movie in the theatre typically costs $12.50 per adult in Canada. For my wife and I, that's $25, plus the possibility of a popcorn combo for another $10 so we're now at $35. For the price of one night out, we can save money on gas & the hassel and BUY most new-release DVDs (typically $25 here). With our new 53HX71 Toshiba + surround sound (pro logic...sorry) it's pretty close to the real deal. The thing with DVDs is that I see a $20 value...CDs I see a $2 value, hence mp3s, but if I can buy and own I would never, ever rent.

My one worry (2, Interesting)

jazzyfox (97118) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982079)

I love Netflix for the selection, and I am one of those people that fills my queue to bursting (115 movies at the moment).

The one thing that has had me worried during my two years dealing with netflix is the slow degradation in service levels. In the beginning, you could mail back a DVD, then tell their website you did so and you would get your new one. Not so anymore, though I can understand it for dealing with people who say "yeeeah, I sent it back" but never did. Second was when they bumped the basic service level down to 3 DVDs from 4. Finally, it seems that they are taking much longer to process my movies lately. A couple months ago I could expect that they send the top of my queue out a day after recieving my return. Now it seems there is a 2-3 day lag time between them, without having 'Wait' movies in my queue.

I do love the service though, and bought a year of it for my parents this past Xmas. There's just this nagging feeling that they will do more to cripple it.

USPS is killing their business (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982082)

I was a Netflix subscriber for a few months but cancelled. It's really annoying to have to wait a week for a movie you want to see. In the end, I still had to go to the local Blockbuster...

Unless you live in California, it will take almost a week for the DVD to reach you. For a mail round-trip, that's two weeks. In my experience, you won't be able to watch more than 8 movies in a month. I was really not satisfied with the service.

I wish they had warehouses and shipping centers across the country. That should cut the mail time down to a couple of days. Plus, they could actually have brick-and-mortar rental stores attached to the warehouses. Then you could pay a monthly fee but also go to the store to pick up your titles. If you don't have time to return, just mail them back.
The bottom line is: Netflix falls short of their "unlimited rentals" promise.

Randomly eh? (2, Funny)

Mattygfunk (517948) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982116)

They also have a neat recommendation feature. You rate movies (1 to 5 stars) randomly, and based on those ratings, they will suggest movies you might like.. and most of the time, they are right on target

Wouldn't it make more sense to rate them according to how good they were ;).

Other alternatives.. (3, Informative)

shankark (324928) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982123)

Netflix [netflix.com] isn't the only one around. There's Rentmydvd.com [rentmydvd.com] which incidentally also has a branch in NY. There are some others that are small-scale like Cafedvd.com [cafedvd.com] that operate on a pay-per-DVD option. And back to Netflix and Rentmydvd.com, the thing I like about them is the flexibility they offer. You can, for instance, change your subscription for a particular month to a 2 DVDs a time if its finals time or you're really tight with your work. And you end up paying lesser.

All said and done, what's really needed is a lot more of the classics being converted to DVDs. Usually, if the movie has a DVD version, Netflix has them. Its the ones that don't that are hard to get. It'd be great if these folks would pursue bringing out DVD editions of these movies.

PS: There's also talk abt Netflix opening up shop elsewhere in the country.

Netflix will screw you when you cancel (3, Informative)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982124)

I was a user for about a year, and I kept having problems with them losing movies. They would say they'd shipped the DVD, but it never arrived. After four of these, I got frustrated and cancelled.

The day I cancelled, I got a charge on my credit card for the full retail price of all four DVD's! Their service agreement hadn't said anything about this, and the "lost-dvd" page didn't say anything about it either. I called and called them, e-mailed, tried everything I could, but they wouldn't listen. I even offered to buy them the DVD's at my local Blockbuster (at less than 1/4 of the price they charged my card) but no luck.

Later, we found out that our mailman had been stealing things from everybody's mailboxes at our apartment complex. There still wasn't anything I could do about it, though.

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (1)

elmegil (12001) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982218)

Uh, since you bought the DVD's I'd say it sounds an awful lot like you owned them; which means if the mailman was stealing, you should be able to get the police to return your stolen property, or sue the boy for the price of what he stole.

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (3, Informative)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982228)

Uh, since you bought the DVD's I'd say it sounds an awful lot like you owned them; which means if the mailman was stealing, you should be able to get the police to return your stolen property, or sue the boy for the price of what he stole.

In theory, yeah - if I could only get Netflix to send me a receipt for my purchase. They simply charged my card, and they refused to put anything in writing as to why they charged my card. (I should have mentioned that in the original post!)

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (1)

rjrjr (28310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982294)

Have you written your credit card company to challenge the charge?

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (2)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982317)

Have you written your credit card company to challenge the charge?

Ayup. Still waiting.

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (1)

Arthen (444856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982337)

Ugh, nasty experience. I hope that if and when I have problems, their customer service is a bit better.

Seems like they've updated their policy information on their website since you were with them, at least. When friends first suggested Netflix to me, and I was checking it out before subscribing, I did pretty easily find a reference to this part of their policy:

If you decide to cancel, remember that cancellation is effective immediately, and all discs must be returned to NetFlix within 7 days. [More info is at Netflix [netflix.com] .]

It definitely could suck to pay, say, an extra month's subscription fee just to make sure all the disks I sent back arrived. But I suppose that's one of the drawbacks that balances the convenience of never having to go to the video store.

I dunno if it was in place when you were a subscriber either, but there's a way to report DVDs that never arrived as well. Fortunately I haven't had to use this (yet?) so I don't know what they actually do if you report a shipping problem, but at least there's an established process.

Inquisition this, you science dinks! --The Tick

Re:Netflix will screw you when you cancel (2)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982346)

I dunno if it was in place when you were a subscriber either, but there's a way to report DVDs that never arrived as well. Fortunately I haven't had to use this (yet?) so I don't know what they actually do if you report a shipping problem, but at least there's an established process.

It was in place, and here's what happens: they ask if you're absolutely sure you didn't get it, and then they ask if you'd like to get the same disc or the next thing in your queue. It would seem at first glance like they'd just let it go, but if you dig deep enough in the member services pages, they show all of the discs you've ever reported as lost. They do indeed track it, they just don't even suggest that it's being held against you. If they would have shown it that way, and stated how much they were going to charge upon cancellation, I would have cancelled after the first lost disc.

Not just the East Coast (1)

The Llama King (187264) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982142)

I was a NetFlix user for several months and also was frustrated by turnaround time - but I'm not even on the East Coast. I'm in Houston, and it still took a good 4-5 days to get movies once they were shipped. If you watch DVDs frequently, you can burn through the 3 you get with the $20 rate, then sit and wait for more to come.

The fix for this is really - surprise! - to move to one of the more expensive tiers of service that give you more disks.

That said, NetFlix really is great for those obscure films. I finally got to see Robert Downey's Greaser's Palace [imdb.com] again through NetFlix. I'd loved it in college in the '70s, and had tried to describe it to my wife, but there's no describing that movie. None of the rental stores here had it, but NetFlix did. Ironically, it wasn't as good when seen through more mature eyes. Another myth of youth shot to hell.

RentMyDVD.com (4, Informative)

RedX (71326) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982152)

When I first purchased my DVD player a year or so ago, I excitedly took advantage of the free Netflix trial that was included with the player. However, turn-around times were slow since they ship from the West Coast, and it was very rare to actually get a new release within the first couple of weeks of its release.

I then came across a similar company that, at that time, was fairly new to the DVD rental market, RentMyDVD.com [rentmydvd.com] . New releases seemed to be in stock much more often than with NetFlix, it was rare to have to wait longer than a week to see a new release. Better yet, they have a shipping center in San Francisco and one in New Jersey, meaning I could normally get a fresh batch of movies here in Ohio for each weekend. I stuck with RentMyDVD.com for 6 months or so and was fairly happy, eventually dropping them once I saw most of the movies that I wanted to see but didn't want to own.

The problem that DVD rental services as a whole face are scratched discs, and this is a glaring problem with the Netflix-types of long distance rental companies. It's frustrating enough to settle in for a night of movie watching only to have some bad skipping an hour into the movie. But when you rent locally, you can run down to the local store right away or the next day and have the problem correct. With NetFlix and RentMyDVD, they'll credit you with a free rental, but you're still waiting at least 3-4 days to have the problem rectified. For the most part, these companies do check to ensure that they're sending out unscratched movies, but I've had at least 5 movies ruined by having some pretty bad skipping right in the middle of a movie. For the most part these days, I spend a few bucks more and just buy the bulk of the movies I want to see, and use Half.com or Ebay to get rid of whatever I don't want to keep.

Are there any UK alternatives? (1)

RiotXIX (230569) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982175)

I would appreciate if they could be posted (because frankly, Blockbuster UK is a total rip off in comparision to US counterparts).

Re:Are there any UK alternatives? (1)

JJC (96049) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982241)

There's at least two to choose from, which is a nice suprise, here are the subscription based ones I've found so far:

In-Movies [in-movies.co.uk] , View DVD [viewdvd.co.uk]

east coaster user (1)

/tmp (84345) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982188)

I live in the Boston area and have been using netflix about a year. Cost wise it was like this- looked at my cable bill and realized I was paying way too much so I canceled some of the movie chanels that I never watched because I could never schedule myself to watch movies at exactly 8:00 or 10:00 etc.. (yeah I know I could have looked into a tivo). So I saved ~25 bucks and instead of paying the cable company I pay netflix 20 and save 5 for popcorn.
The time delay for living on the east coast can be a little annoying at times but I don't watch so many movies that it is really a factor (I'd love to see this eastcoast dist center rumored though). I am also one of those people that always ended up paying late fees to blockbuster. (BB is out of my way to get to but I drive right by a drive up mailbox on my way to work so this is a plus for the NF service for me)

bottom line is that the service is good depending on your viewing habits. For some its good for others it is not. You need to try it and see if it fits for you.

BTW- blockbuster has a deal around here where you can get one rental a day for a flat rate of around $20. of course the last time I was in there I don't think I could find enough movies that I would take the time to sit down and watch to really take advantage of the offer and there would be those late fees again :(

Review: Good (2, Interesting)

worldwideweber (116531) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982257)

When thinking about netflix, I basically compare it to my other option: Blockbuster.

  • Price: I rented 24 movies in my 3 months as a member of Netflix. That comes out to a little under $3.00 per movie. At Blockbuster, DVD rental costs $3.99 each, and another $1.50 every three rentals (the cost of the NYC subway token to the Blockbuster rental place). Advantage: Netflix.
  • Convenience: Blockbuster makes me physically drop off the movies, and charges late fees if I don't return movies within 2 days. Netflix uses the US mail system, and does not care when I get a movie back to them. Furthermore, Blockbuster does not refund the cost of the subway token when I visit their location to rent a movie that they don't have that day, so I end up renting some crappy movie to offset my fixed cost per visit. Advantage: Netflix.
  • Selection: I can rent Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, Anime titles, Kurosawa films, the full first season of Twin Peaks. Non of these titles are available at Blockbuster right now. Advantage: Netflix.
  • Availibility: I have had better luck than most people with regard to availability at Netflix. The only movie I have had to wait for was Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth, which I couldn't rent at any blockbuster in New York City. Therefore, I give them both equal grades on availability.

I've really liked netflix.

Nice commercial for NetFlix... (3, Informative)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982259)

If you don't plan to rent 5 DVDs per month check out www.dvdovernight.com. They charge by the rental ($4) instead of a monthly fee. They also rent porn.

Netflix not as good as it used to be, but still OK (1)

IsThisNickTaken (555227) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982262)

I have been a Netflix subscriber for 2 years, so I get 4 DVDs out at once instead of the 3 they currently offer.

The selection is amazing and I usually get the first choice in my queue. I like reading the reviews and searching for similar titles.

The latency problem has been getting worse. Originally, I could tell them when I dropped it in the mail and they would send me my next DVD. Turnaround was around 4 days then.

Later it changed where you could tell them when it has been 4 days since you dropped it in the mail if you have not received an email saying they received it back. They would then send the next movie out. I would be able to drop a movie in the mailbox on Monday morning and claim I sent it out Saturday, since the mail is not picked up from the boxes between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.

A few months ago, they removed that option. Now you can only report a movie delayed if it is over 6 days since you sent it to them. They also consider that lost and have warnings about "If you report them lost too often, your service will be cancelled." (not an exact quote).

I hope the East Coast distribution center happens. The service would be much better.

East coast supporter (3, Informative)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982264)

I and 4 of my family members are all members of Netflix. We all live on the East coast. I was the last to join of my family.

Now, I can't say much about the Anime fan who didn't like the service, but I rent mainly mainstream movies and have enjoyed the service immensly. My biggest problem was that I was always returning movies late. I also watch a lot of movies.

I've always gotten the 3 movies at the top of my list, so far. It's only been two months, but it's definitely saved me money. It only takes 2-3 days for my movies to get returned and another 2-3 days for the new ones to arrive.

I'm even thinking about upgrading my account to one that allows me to have even more out at a time.

The self-addressed, no stamp required, return envelopes are ingenius. It just can't be any easier.

Still a member, still love it (2)

vondo (303621) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982286)

I joined when their pricing structure was a little better. I get 6 movies out at any time for $28/mo plus tax.

Most of what I want to see isn't the new block buster releases, which is why I was really disappointed with the selection at my local Blockbuster.

I used to live in a town with a great video store, had basically everything, so Netflix kept that type of selection for me.

I probably watch about 15 movies a month for a total of about $2 each compared to $4 for Blockbuster.

It may not be for everyone, but for me it is just the thing. The only problem is not being "in the mood" to watch what you have in the house.

Great in a rat hole (1)

Doom Ihl' Varia (315338) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982291)

I live in a rat hole in the back waters of Florida (yeah yeah I need to move but I'm still a minor, not up to me). Anyways, I can' find any descent movies locally, and it's a 2 hour drive to any place with a descent selection. The shipping time isn't so bad. I usually get them a day or two before Netflix's ETA. The selection is awesome. Just watched Apocalypse Now Redux and John Carpenter's They Live last night. I rent alot of obscure movies sometimes and some anime (while living in an anime free area). Netflix saves me alot of time and frustration in finding these movies. All and all, I highly recommend it, even if you live on the East Coast:) *mutters something about needing more gigage so he can rip to VCD*

Cost isn't $20 (4, Informative)

blakestah (91866) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982301)

Netflix tries real hard to get you in at $20/mo, but they offer an option at $12.50/month. You have to start at 3 movies/$20 though - and then manually downgrade.

For this price you can always rent 2 movies.

We live in SF, and probably watch 2 movies a week using netflix. Much more convenient than Blockbuster (which is only 1 mile away, but has wicked lines). The turnaround for movies is about 3 days from when we drop them in the mailbox. Netflix lists in our account when movies should arrive, and it is reasonably consistent.

So far, no hitches. Been using it 3 mo. I think in principle we could watch 15+ movies a month for this price, although we usually watch 6-8. I suspect we'll hit the wall of available and desireable content soon though.

My impressions (2, Interesting)

genka (148122) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982303)

I've been using Netflix for about year and a half. I've been genetally satisfied, however I notice that service goes downhill , slowly but steady. The most irritating new "feature" for me is that now, when you rent a movie which comes on 2 dvd's, you have to rent them as a two separate items! Example [netflix.com] . What could be worse then receiving the last 1/3 of the movie and wait until the beggining willl come out of the "long wait" blackhole!

happy customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982343)

I've been a customer for 1 1/2 years now. I am very happy with this service. I always have the next 2-3 movies i want to watch on top of my dvd player. Very cool. I can decide to watch them any time with no trip to the video store. Great service.

Tried it, thought selection was lousy (1)

rjrjr (28310) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982355)

I must have different tastes than a lot of /.rs, as I thought their catalog was sadly lacking. For example, they are woefully light on the incredible restorations done by Criterion [criterionco.com] .

That took a bit of effort to determine, too, as your choices of categories to browse by are pretty limited, and certainly don't include production house. Their site is generally clunky to browse, as others have mentioned. It's easy to find what you want it you know exactly what it is, but how hard is that?

Cancelling is a hassle, too. You have to speak to a rep and convince them that you really, trully want to leave, you can't just use the site.

They guy I spoke with was surprised that I found their selection so weak. "We stock pretty much everything that gets released," he said. When I mentioned that I couldn't find anything by Ingmar Bergman, he asked, "who's that?" Could explain a few things.

Now, all this said, their actual get it in the mail, keep it 'til you're done service is great. And they gave me no hassle when the second disc they sent me got lost in the mail. If I looked again and saw a broader catalog, I'd sign up.

I hope they make it.

it was great for awhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2982361)

My roommate and i subscribed to netflix a year ago when they were offering 4 dvds per month before they changed the prices. It was great for awhile, as long as you made sure you got your money's worth by always having something ready to be shipped to you when you returned one. But eventually the selection ran dry and it wasn't worth it, not that they have a slim selection, but at 3-4 movies per week, you run out of stuff you *want* to see.

was a member - canceled (1)

inicom (81356) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982367)

I was a member of netflix for 10 months - overall it was good, but...

1. interesting movies (like cult movies, or special interest) were extremely limited, so the waiting list was often on the order of MONTHS

2. popular movies, ibid.

3. initially they were quick to send out movies when your movies were returned. By the time I canceled (sept), they would sit on returns for a few days before sending out the movie at the top of my queue.

4. when I canceled, they charged me for the movies en-route back to them 2 DAYS after cancellation despite their policy that says otherwise.

aem

Here's the deal (0)

ziggy_zero (462010) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982380)

I got NetFlix when it started more than a year ago. It was great. The problem is, that it took at least three days for any dvd to come to my house. This was because I'm on the east coast and they're based on the west coast. People on the west coast will be getting a very good deal, as you can get the dvd you order in usually under two days. I cancelled my service because I'm a filmaholic and could watch a dvd a day (and without my fix man, I get withdrawal symptoms!)

Alan Thicke. DEAD. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982403)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never liked his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon.
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other [slashdot.org]
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love.

Other Options (1)

Mr. Eradicator (470089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982404)

Here are some other options. I haven't tried any of these yet, but I'm about to.

Rent My DVD [rentmydvd.com]

DVD Barn [dvdbarn.com]

Number Slate [numberslate.com]

DVD Overnight [dvdovernight.com]

I recently rented Payback from Netflix. I never used to check the DVD's face for scratches because I assumed Netflix has some sort of quality control (mistake #1). I got about 20 minutes into the movie and then it wouldn't go any further. Upon inspection, the DVD face looked like someone had taken steel wool to it. How the hell does that get past the retard that puts it in the little envelopes?

So I reported it as unplayable and had them send a replacement. I figured this had to happen from time to time .. give them a break. The replacement came and I eagerly watched it (after being teased with the first 20 minutes from the previous week's attempt). I got 1:30 through the movie and it happened again! Sure enough, this DVD was scratched just as bad. You can imagine I was about to throw the damned thing out the window.

It's one thing to send a bad DVD, but to send an unplayable replacement for an unplayable DVD? That's just sad.

Other peeves have already been posted, but I'll reiterate: If you want a 2-DVD set, some of them are split so you have to rent each DVD separately. They don't have many copies of some movies, meaning that you have to wait and watch something else or wait for that movie to be returned to Netflix. Their turnaround time is horrible and they ship bulk mail (slow compared to 1st class).

I had a good run with Netflix, but they seem to be getting worse. I'm to the point that I'm going to try one of these other services out.

DIVX :) (1)

slapstik007 (453523) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982416)

Some of my friends and myself have loked into this. We decided that if each one of us would encode a movie we could get 3 DIVXs movies and only keep the movie for a day. We have yet to try this out but I am wondering if anyone else is doing this to build their DIVX collection?

Bait and switch: a pure Hobson's choice. (1)

Harlow_B_Ashur (35202) | more than 12 years ago | (#2982424)

From NY I found I was lucky to turn a movie around twice a month, they really drag their feet on their end. So with three inventory slots, you can see maybe six movies a month, and then only if you watch them the day they arrive.

But the real problem is that they advertise availability of films that are just not available.

"Hobson's choice. An appearantly free choice that offers no real alternative. After English liveryman Thomas Hobson who required that customers take the horse nearest the door or none." -- American Heritage Dictionary
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