NetFlix Online DVD Movie Rental

Past and present NetFlix subscribers read this:
NetFlix Class Action Suit Settlement

NetFlix Delivers Movies to Your Door

NetFlix pioneered the business of "DVD movie rentals by mail" back in 1999. I signed up with them in early 2004 and had my membership for a few months but had something of a falling out with them, so I dropped my membership. Those particular issues are less pronounced now but are touched on in my description of BLOCKBUSTER.

For six months in 2005 I used BLOCKBUSTER Online™ and was pleased with their service until they raised their rates to match those of NetFlix; a move which in my opinion might have been premature in some ways, but BlockBuster's third quarter '05 earnings statement was pretty ugly. NetFlix still has a lot going for it and I spent a little time researching their current movies-by-mail DVD rental service to summarize here. You should visit the page I created with a side-by-side comparison of BLOCKBUSTER and NetFlix features after you browse the NetFlix highlights. Until recently, I was recommending BlockBuster Online, but recent events are causing my opinions to change. These days I'm feeling strongly about NetFlix and love the breadth of options Intelliflix offers with annual pre-paid subscriptions which save 50% over NetFlix and BlockBuster, plus video games and mature fillm rentals.

NetFlix free trial

Using NetFlix's online DVD rental is pretty simple stuff. After you signup, you start adding as many movies to your NetFlix "queue" as you desire. You can reorder the queue so that movies you want immediately are near the top. NetFlix sends by first class mail the first three DVDs in your queue (subject to availability - if the next one in the list is not available, they send one higher up which is available). You'll receive the DVDs in one or two days, you watch them at your leisure, then use the included envelope to drop the movie back in any mailbox. As soon as they receive a DVD, the next one is sent out. NetFlix encourages you to try out the service at no risk with a free two-week trial.

NetFlix News

Netflix, which held a 97% market share of online rentals in 2003, saw that share decline to 85%, due to new competition from, according to the NPD Group, which tracks DVD rentals and sales at retail through its VideoWatch service.

Blockbuster controlled 11% of online rentals in 2004. Wal-Mart and other online services such as GreenCine and CafeDVD made up the remaining 4%.

Still, online DVD rental subscription services grew to 15% of the entire rental market in 2004, nearly doubling their share rentals over the previous year, according to NPD. Blockbuster is now at around 500,000 subscribers and Netflix at 2.6 million.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told attendees at the Reuters Technology Conference in San Francisco that he would be willing to forgo profits for up to five years to gain 20 million subscribers and hold off competition from Blockbuster and, according to Reuters.

With the entry of WalMart and BLOCKBUSTER into the online DVD rental market, NetFlix lowered the price on their most popular rental plan, but has refused to get into a price war with competitor BLOCKBUSTER Online™, and is holding firm at their current $17.99 price point.

NetFlix DVD Movie Rental Features

Something that you might want to know about the differences in Blockbuster and Netflix. Netflix has a policy that will move a heavy user of thier service to a low priority. I actually had them inform me of this in an email. I had to correspond with them several times before they would actualy acknowledge I wasn't insane when I told them I suspected them of some sort of intentional delays in my deliveries.

I switched to blockbuster and my service has been equal to the downgraded netfilx service and the service is cheaper with 2 free walkin coupons a month.

I have noticed no differences in availability in titles between the 2 mail services, while Blockbuster stores do remove low activity titles. My wife loves all sorts of obscure stuff and we have found every title she has looked for at the Blockbuster site as well as netflix.

So, in my opinion Netflix is guilty of a little truth bending themsleves in thier 3 at a time policy unlimited titles. Seems if you push them they will try and control your renting frequency and may be indirectly steering you towards a more expensive service.

All other things being equal I'll stick with the less expensive service

posted by "Gossimerg" at

More Than 45,000 Movies

NetFlix has a wide selection of movies -- everything from classics to new releases. When you become a member, you'll be able to choose from any of those 45,000 titles -- five times the selection of a typical video store. And their web site is available 24 hours a day making it convenient to find the movies you want to watch.

Netflix Delivers Your DVD Rentals To You

With Netflix you can rent as many DVDs from the comfort of your home and have them delivered to your door in about 1 business day! There are no late fees and no due dates, and shipping is free both ways. Plans start at $9.99 plus any applicable tax. With their most popular plan, 3-at-a-time, you can rent as many DVDs as you want for just $17.99 a month. You keep a revolving library of up to 3 DVDs at a time and can exchange them for new available DVDs as often as you like.

Get DVDs With Free Shipping and Postage

Select your movies at sign-up and they should arrive in your mailbox in about 1 business day via U.S. mail. When you finish watching a movie, simply put it in its prepaid envelope and mail it back to NetFlix. After they receive it, they'll send your next available movie. Shipping is always free both ways -- no hidden charges.

NetFlix Movie Rental Pricing

Most people select the 3-at-a-time, unlimited DVDs per month plan. This plan costs $17.99/month. They also offer 2-at-a-time, all the way up to 8 out at one time. See my NetFlix vs BLOCKBUSTER comparison chart for more info, or visit the NetFlix website.

Try NetFlix Free


New customers are eligible for a free trial. To avoid being charged after your trial, simply cancel your account before the trial ends. If you are happy with Netflix, your membership will automatically continue on the plan you have selected for as long as you choose to remain a member.


You can cancel your membership anytime, online, 24 hours a day. There are no cancellation fees.

Can I Give a Subscription to NetFlix as a Gift

Looking for the perfect present for your friends and family? NetFlix makes it easy to give friends or loved ones a gift subscription so they can rent their favorite movies on DVD.

Disclaimer for Quality of Service

As of March 26 2005, NetFlix has tweaked their TOS (in my opinion, an implicit admission that they DO throttle heavy movie renters, if for no other reason than because it increases their postage expenses) with the following excerpts:

We reserve the right to allocate and ship DVDs to you in any manner that we, in our sole and absolute discretion, determine. In addition, we will, in our sole and absolute discretion, determine the quantity of DVDs we purchase for any particular title and the level of staffing and number of shipments to be processed at each distribution center. As a result, we may not always send you the first choice from your queue, and we may not ship out your next DVD on the same day that we receive one from you. Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your queue. We try to ship you DVDs from the distribution center closest to you so that you get movies quickly. Often, on the same day that we receive a DVD from you, we will ship the next available DVD from your queue. In certain instances, your next available DVD will not ship until the next business day following our receipt of your returned movie. This can occur, for example, when your top choices are not available to you from your closest distribution center or the number of shipments to be processed by the distribution center on that day has been exceeded. When this happens, your DVD will ship on the next business day and may come from an alternate distribution center.

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those subscribers who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their queue more often than our other subscribers.

NetFlix Facts

  • Netflix has more than 700 million movie ratings from customers. The average subscriber has rated more than 200 movies.
  • Netflix's members rent more than 85 percent of all titles in the Netflix library each quarter.
  • Netflix distributes more than 1 million DVDs a day.
  • On any given day, about 35,000 of the 45,000 titles available at Netflix are in distribution.
  • Netflix members select approximately 60 percent of their movies based on movie recommendations tailored to their individual tastes.
  • Ninety-five percent of Netflix members say they are so satisfied with Netflix that they recommend the service to family and friends.
  • Netflix members say they rent twice as many movies per month than they did prior to joining the service.
  • New Netflix members say they are immediately more satisfied with their home-entertainment experience than they were prior to joining Netflix. Their high level of satisfaction tends to increase the longer they remain with Netflix.

NetFlix's Free Two-week DVD Rental Trial Offer