We’ve been Netflix* customers on and off for the last 3-4 years, alternating with Blockbuster Online when certain deals come along, or nothing at all during the regular TV season. Right now, we’re back with Netflix mainly because Blockbuster has proven itself unworthy through late deliveries and sending random movies from our queue (even though the top movies are listed as available). But with my classes starting back up and the TV season back in full gear, we’re deciding whether we want to keep Netflix or not.
Costs and Benefits of Netflix
We’ve reduced down to 2 movies a month ($14.83/mth after taxes) from three, and we’re going through about 4-6 movies in a good month. Looking at those numbers, we’re only doing marginally better than just renting directly from a Blockbuster store. But Netflix offers a much wider range of movies AND TV shows from its online catalog than a Blockbuster store could ever offer. If we hear about a good classic movie and want to rent it, good luck finding it at Blockbuster.
Another benefit of Netflix is not having to leave the house, except to check the mail. Granted, the negative is having to wait for the movie to get back to Netflix and wait for the next one. Turnaround time is usually 3 days (Day 1, mail out. Day 2, Netflix confirms receipt. Day 3, get new movie).
Netflix Versus Nothing
So the first decision is whether we want to ditch Netflix entirely and not pick up any other movie service. As I’ve mentioned, Blockbuster sucks, and there’s really no other competitor in the market (wait, wait, I’ll get to Redbox in a moment). Also, as I’ve mentioned, we have more than enough to watch on TV and to keep us busy right now (school for me at least), so movies are a less-needed form of entertainment right now.
Savings: $14.83 per month
Netflix Versus Redbox
While we could probably do fine without renting movies, there are some new releases we would like to watch. There’s a blockbuster in walking distance to our home, but movies cost over $4 a pop there. In the same plaza, there’s a Redbox movie kiosk. If you’re not aware of Redbox, it’s a kiosk with a few dozen movies inside for $1 per night. There’s no subscription required and you’re just charged for the nights you keep the movie.
Oh wait, we already canceled a movie service in favor of Redbox back in 2007: “Blockbuster vs Redbox“.
If we were to rent the 4-6 movies per month that we’re currently doing, and returning the movies the next day:
Savings: $8.83-10.83 per month
Netflix Versus Library
I know I would get hounded if I didn’t mention the library as an option for renting movies. The movies are free, but in exchange, you have a limited selection and have to wait for new releases to make it to the shelves. You can request movies from other library branches (if your library system is large enough) and place a hold on a movie, but if you just want something to watch other than TV, you can pick from dozens of movies on the shelves (VHS and DVD formats).
I have a feeling if we chose this option, we probably would just go to Redbox and spend the $1 (since it’s more convenient) rather than borrow from the library. But at least I’m aware it’s an option for those times we go to the library to borrow books (about once a month).
Savings: $14.83 per month
Which Will We Choose?
I’ll admit that right now I think we’ve watched all the interesting movies in our queue (with 61 movies in the queue remaining, counting TV series), and we’re just keeping it because we just got billed for the next month. You can’t get a refund for a partial month, so if we canceled now, we’d be short-changing ourselves another 3 weeks of movies.
Most likely we’ll put our Netflix account on hold rather than completely cancel it, just so we can retain our ratings history and current queue, and then reassess the situation at the end of the semester.
Anyone else in this boat? Do you love or hate Netflix?
Try Netflix for Free for 14 days
As a note, if YOU would like to try Netflix, and haven’t had the service before, you can try Netflix for 14 days free*. You can cancel online very easily without having to call anyone (trust me, I’ve done it numerous times before).
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