Netflix Review – online movie rental

By glblguy

netflix

I signed up for Netflix online movie rental a few weeks ago. So far we love it and are very happy with our decision and their service. We did wonder about Blockbuster vs. Netflix though for a while. I thought I’d share some details about Netflix with you and offer it up as a great way to potentially save money. We’re looking at it as one of the options for getting rid of our monthly satellite TV service.

Netflix Plans

Netflix offers 5 different plans. The lowest cost option is a limited plan for $4.99. Under this plan you can have 1 DVD out at a time with a limit of only 2 DVDs per month. Additionally the amount of  movies you can watch online is limited to 2 hours.

Their unlimited plans allow you to rent as many movies as you would like include:

  • 1 DVD out at a time – $8.99/month
  • 2 DVDs out at a time – $13.99/month
  • 3 DVDs out at a time – $16.99/month
  • 4 DVDs out at a time – $23.99/month

We currently have the 3 DVD plan, but might be moving down to the 2 at a time plan as we just don’t get enough time to watch the movies.

How Netflix works

Once you’ve signed up and selected a plan, you go into the awesome Netflix interface and start adding movies to your queue. Netflix is a queue based system that ships movies to you based on movies in your queue. You can remove movies from your queue and change the order.

When you first start, Netflix will ship you the first x number of movies in your queue (x being driven by the plan you signed up for). Movies arrive within a day or two from a local shipping center (ours is in Asheville NC) in special envelopes that are used to both ship your movie and to return them.

When you’ve finished watching a movie, you mail it back (postage paid by Netflix). Once Netflix receives your movie, they’ll ship the next movie in your queue. They offer the option of being emailing when your movies are shipped and received.

Another nice feature with Netflix is the ability to watch some movies online. Select movies are available for real-time streaming and can be watched instantly. The number of streamable movies is pretty small compared to the ones available on DVD, but a nice feature anyway that is available for no additional cost.

One of the best features of Netflix is no late fees. Once you have a movie, you can keep it as long as you like. No pressure to have to hurry up and watch a movie. We just watched one last night that’s been sitting at our house for a little more than a week.

Slick Netflix features

I love the Netflix.com website. They have really put a great deal of thought into the user experience and it shows. Here are some of the features I find really nice:

Queue Management

The queue management screen is very easy to use and honestly makes managing your movie queue kind of fun. Here’s a screen shot:

netflix

Ratings and Browsing

Netflix allows you to rate the movies you rent. Not only does this help other Netflix members when renting movies, but Netflix also tracks each movie you rent and uses that to offer up similar movies you might like. The movies you initially see on the “Browse DVD” screen are all based on interests you specified, previous movie rentals and ratings.

Movies on the Browse screen are displayed based on the primary categories you choose when you first signed up. Then as you rent and rate movies, Netflix applies your choices and ratings to make your browsing experience more tailored to you. A slick feature.

One very subtle feature I like is instead of having to click on a movie to see the details, you can just hover over the movie for about 3 seconds and a small pop-up appears showing a brief movie summary and the overall rating by other Netflix members.

When you add a movie to your queue, not only is the movie added, but a list of recommended and similar movies is displayed as well. I’ve found a few really good movies thanks to this feature.

Friends, Family and Community

Have friends or family on Netflix? You can add them and via the friends interface see what movies your friends have been watching and see their thoughts on the movies.  I’ve just started using this feature, but am already addicted. Via the Netflix community, you can also read reviews of movies entered by other Netflix members along with building movie lists others can view.

Want to give it a try?

If you’re interested in giving Netflix a try, they offer a free 2 week trial via this link: Netflix 2 week free trial. You can cancel at anytime. If you don’t cancel within 2 weeks, you’ll be automatically billed for the plan you selected.

Personally, I love Netflix so far. We’ve really enjoyed doing family movie night on Friday nights together. Looking for a low cost entertainment option? Netflix is in my opinion a great value and I highly recommend you give it a try.

Also, check out: Netflix vs. Blockbuster for a great comparison.

This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.


12 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Netflix Review – online movie rental”

  1. Miranda Says:

    We have Netflix and we love it as well. It’s also nice that we can get some movies automatically by downloading them to watch on the computer.

  2. Kristen Says:

    I was a Netflix member for years and loved it. The only reason I cancelled was because when I moved in with my husband he insisted on the all-out cable package with every channel imaginable and On Demand. I found myself watching the Netflix movies less and less, so I cut it from the budget. If I can ever get him to down grade our package, I would definitely go back to Netflix.

  3. Jeff Says:

    I’m on Blockbuster Online. For the mailing portion of the program, it’s exactly identical. It doesn’t offer included downloads (though you can pay for them), but it does allow a number of in-store exchanges (depending on plan) for free. Given that my wife hates watching movies on our computer, this is a better choice for us.

    What I don’t understand is why Netflix has such a larger market share than Blockbuster. They’re essentially the exact same service – the way you’ve described Netflix interface is identical to what I see in Blockbuster’s.

    Until recently, I could go into a Blockbuster store to return my watched DVD and pick up a free rental to fill the time while I waited for the next one to come in the mail. I found that incredibly convenient and compelling. (They’ve recently changed how that works so a DVD from the store holds up the mail queue until you return it, which has significantly lowered the benefit for me.)

    Is the downloadable movie list with Netflix that compelling? It seems to be the only differentiator with Blockbuster. My understanding is that it is mostly older movies, with few new releases.

  4. Laurie Says:

    Like Jeff, we used to have Netflix and now have Blockbuster Online. With Netflix we got too many damaged DVDs and had to wait for replacements, plus the mail time was slower. With BBO we get twice the movies with the in-store trade-in option. Also with our plan (2 at a time, unlimited) we get an additional coupon every month for yet another free in-store rental. I pick all the movies that come in the mail, and my husband picks all the store trade-ins so we’re both happy (especially me because that means HE runs that errand!) :)

  5. Craig Says:

    I joined Netflix a few months back and love it. It has basically any movie you want, and having a blu ray player, has so many movies in blu ray for me to get. Also, you can stream certain movies online. The only issue is new movies can take weeks to rent, I’m not sure how they determine this. The price is right for 1 DVD for me. If I rent 3 dvds in a month it more than pays for it.

  6. sarah p. Says:

    We switched from Blockbuster Total Access to Netflix in December and LOVE it. We do have an XBOX360, so can watch the streaming movies on our TV, which has provided greater benefit than we expected. We have gone from the Blockbuster 3 out at a time plan, to 1 out at a time from Netflix and have never run out of things to watch.

    Some of our favorite streamings: TV series’ and workout videos!

  7. Sarah Says:

    We love Netflix. We’ve had it for over 5 years and only occasionally have we had issues with damaged DVD’s. USPS has never lost one, either.

    Don’t forget the Roku set-top box that you can purchase to watch unlimited Netflix downloads on the TV. We got one of those for $99 and downgraded our Netflix service, so we’ll have recouped the cost in about a year. Like you said, the selection is smallish for now, but it’s growing every day. They recently added Amazon Video on Demand, too. We really like Roku.

  8. Eric Says:

    We have had Netflix for about 3 years now (or maybe more) and we love it too. The best part of the service is of course “No late fees” That right there has saved us A LOT of money.
    And just recently we added the Roku player to our list of gadgets. Roku player streams the Instant play movies from netflix to your tv. We have it hooked up with the “basic” cable setup and the picture looks really good. There are a lot of movies to choose from, but the selections of B and even C movies is greater than the A list movies, but they add movies all the time.
    One last thing that I found on another website is http://www.feedflix.com, it helps analyze your netflix usage for free.

  9. Matt Jabs Says:

    My wife & I signed up for Netflix back in February and absolutely love the service and are happy to report that it is saving us a lot of money!

    We used to go out to the movies a few times a month and would rent videos from our local video store. The trips to the cinema would cost us $26 each time (twice/month is $52) and our video store rentals/late fees averaged around $13 per month.

    Adding these up gave us an average of $65 every month in movie costs!

    When we ordered Netflix we committed to stop going to the theater and obviously didn’t need to visit the video store. Since Netflix costs us $15/month we are saving $50/month!

    The $50 is now going toward debt repayment and savings.

    Matt Jabs aka DebtFREEk!

  10. DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad.com Says:

    I have heard nothing but good things about NetFlix. However, we are big fans of RedBox– dvds for $1 a piece . . . the catch is it is a one night rental.

  11. Jill Marlow Says:

    It all sounds wonderful about Netflix. But the longer you’re a member, the more mistreated you become. I’m finally fed up, searching, and about to cancel. We’ve been members since 2004. We wait forever for new releases in the queue and when we return something, we wait way too long for a new one to replace it. This is their normal practice and it’s been labeled ‘throttling’ and many, many people complain about it. Did I mention that at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the disks are cracked, scratched, or filthy enough you have to stop somewhere in the middle of the movie, take it out, clean it, and start over??

    So I don’t know about you guys, but it seems to me that customer loyalty should not be rewarded with poor treatment. So I’m finally fed up with it all.

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