As movie lovers react to Netflix plan adjustments and cost increases, a fair percentage are exploring other movie rental options. Some are trying Amazon’s Prime program in which the movie streaming is a benefit, not the main thrust. Yet others are falling back to “real world” rental businesses again.
While it’s yet unknown whether those users leaving Netflix will stay away or eventually return, both Blockbuster and Redbox are enjoying increases in rental numbers and income. Of these two major brick-and-mortar organizations, which will win the “real rental” wars?
Round 1: Renting a Movie
Blockbuster is probably the better known of the two with outlets across the country. Rent a few videos, return them on time, and choose more. And while you’re there, buy some favorite movie snacks or music.
You don’t rent movies—and soon, games—from a Redbox store, but you often find them at stores. These free-standing machines are like movie vending machines. One-night rentals for a very low price are attractive if you live in or near a town where Redbox is offered. Unfortunately, that’s a major “real world” disadvantage to Redbox, compared to Blockbuster. However, if there is no rental machine near you, all is not lost.
Both Blockbuster and Redbox allow and even encourage online reservations. Blockbuster has the delivery edge, though. While non-subscription reservations and delivery could take up to three business days to arrive, Redbox reserves movies for only you. Redbox does not mail movies; Blockbuster can, giving that edge to Blockbuster. However, because Redbox prohibits anyone else from renting your reserved movie when it arrives back in the kiosk, Redbox holds the reservation edge: Only your confirmation code can release the movie. If someone else reserves the movie after you did, you get “first dibs” on it.
Round 2: Movie Catalogue
Both offer new releases and old favorites, just like Netflix. However, as much like Netflix as these two rental options are, the biggest differences are price and delivery times.
Blockbuster has a slight advantage over Redbox, for Blockbuster does offer an instant-view option, although the download selections are limited. Just like Netflix, you need compatible devices and an Internet connection to view these download entertainment videos.
Redbox probably has the convenience option, however. There’s no membership card to worry about, and prices are, on average, slightly lower than Blockbusters. As of August 2011, Redbox boasts over 27,000 kiosks nationwide, and even greater expansion is planned. Not every kiosk has every movie or game offered, however. That’s where Redbox makes up the difference against Blockbuster: You can reserve movies or games, and when one is available in your area, you are notified, and the movie is held in reserve until you can enter your reservation code and enjoy the rental. The notification is automatic, whereas, if Blockbuster sends you the availability notice, someone took action to notify you, and when people are involved, you might not be notified.
Round 3: Rent Policies
Both Blockbuster and Redbox offer Blueray DVDs. To enjoy those movies, you’ll need a Blueray player or a compatible device, such as a gaming system, so the Blueray issue is an even heat. Both organizations have return policies for damaged disk rentals, so that’s even as well. Both allow online reservations. Both allow discounted prices for purchasing movies—so long as you don’t buy them by default on a late rental.
Redbox has the return DVD advantage. Blockbuster requires you to return your rented movies to the same location. Redbox allows you to return your movie to any Redbox kiosk in the country. You simply enter the return-movie’s data, insert the disk, and it’s done. You could rent in California, watch the movie on the plane and return the disk at the first Redbox kiosk you see on the east coast. Big advantage there, and that simple return-anywhere policy is one of the biggest contributors to Redbox expansion.
This One Goes to the Judges
So which will win the Netflix Aftermath wars? For sheer convenience, cost and returns, Redbox has the advantage. Blockbuster, however, holds the streaming edge, and those Netflix fans rebelling against plan increases find the Blockbuster option a viable alternative.
This article was written by Holly Adams of Coupon Croc. Looking for the very best television media service package? Save big this year when you use Virgin Media discount codes 2011.