Netflix was the first online DVD rental service to make it big, but it’s had
to fight off several rivals to stay on top. Most of those rivals tried to do
exactly what Netflix does, but just couldn’t do it better than Netflix. However,
Blockbuster has a new DVD rental service that may just knock Netflix from its
throne because it is using the power of its DVD rental store network to back up
its online service.
At first the Blockbuster Total Access service appears to be fairly similar to
Netflix. You browse their website for the movies that you’d like to watch, save
them to a queue of movies, and the service sends you the movies at the top of
your queue. You can keep the movies as long as you like, and when you’re done
with a movie you simply drop it in the mail in the provided prepaid mailer. When
Blockbuster receives the movie, they send out the next movie on your queue.
There are several levels of membership from $5.99 to $17.99 a month that let you
rent as many movies as you can in a month, that allow you to keep either one,
two, or three movies out at a time. Now here’s where Total Access differs from
Netflix: you can also return your movies at any Blockbuster location. When you
do this your return will be instantly credited and your next movie will be sent
out to you. You also have the option of picking out a movie from the Blockbuster
store for a free rental, and this free rental does not count against the number
of movies you can keep out at a time. Even better, you can use that free rental
on a video game instead of a movie. In addition, Total Access will email you
coupons once a month good for free in-store rentals of movies or games.
After trying out the Total Access service I am quite pleased with the
results. The turnaround time on the mailed movies is pretty quick – generally
they received the movie the day after it was sent and I had my next movie the
next day after that. In-store returns are really easy even if you don’t want to
rent a movie. You can drop your mailer in the movie return slot and save
yourself a day on the turnaround time. It was also pretty convenient to have the
option of picking up a new movie when dropping off a mailer since it essentially
eliminated the wait time until the next movie arrived. If you’re an avid movie
watcher with a nearby Blockbuster store, you can use Total Access to rent a
whole lot of movies for $17.99 a month. Of course, if you’re the type who will
let a movie sit around for a couple of weeks before you get around to watching
it, then the service will effectively cost more per rental for you.
If you’re new to online DVD rentals, then Total Access is a great way to give
it a try. The capability to drop your movies off at a physical store location
goes a long way to alleviating any worries that you may have of having to wait a
few days for your next movie to arrive. If you’re a current Netflix subscriber,
I’d recommend giving Total Access a try. I was a longtime Netflix fan, but the
convenience of dropping off one or more of my movies at the Blockbuster next to
my grocery store and being able to pick up a game or movie right away has
convinced me to switch.
Total Access will win back a lot of movie renters that left Blockbuster for the
convenience of Netflix. It’s both convenient and flexible, and gives you the
option to rent some games for free too.