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Behind The Fine Print Of Online DVD Rental Companies: Which Are The Best Buys?

Aug 18, 2007
Online DVD rental companies have grown tremendously in popularity over the last several years, and with good reason. With our lives busier than ever, who wants to be a slave to a video rental schedule? However, when there is quick growth in an industry and a rapid fight for companies to reach the top, there is often quite a bit of confusion for consumers.

In this article, we'll compare the fine print of two of the most popular online DVD rental companies, Netflix and Blockbuster.

Is In-Store Return and Rental a Benefit or an Added Cost?

Netflix and Blockbuster are equal on many points such as price and selection. However, there is one "benefit" that Blockbuster touts in nearly all of its advertisements, and that is the fact that DVD's can be returned and rented in the local store as well as by mail. But is this really a benefit?

The problem with returning and then renting DVD's inside the Blockbuster store is that those DVD's are subject to the same late fees as any other in-store rentals. This could conceivably become confusing trying to remember which DVD's have to be back to the store by a certain date and which can be returned by mail. Just one late fee and the monthly rate of the service instantly exceeds that of most other competitors.

However, for those with good organizational skills, the in-store rental option is a definite benefit. When the mood strikes to watch a certain movie, who wants to wait 2 days to pop it into the DVD player? If you'll be having friends over for movie night or have a hot date on a Saturday night, you won't be stuck wondering if your DVD will arrive on time.

Cost Comparison

Never underestimate the intelligence of marketers. Most of Blockbuster's marketing material promotes its 1 DVD out at a time plan at $9.99 per month, suggesting that Blockbuster is cheaper than Netflix who commonly advertises its 3 DVD out at a time plan. In reality, the two plans are almost identical in price.

Blockbuster's most popular plan of 3 DVD's out at a time rings in the same as Netflix's comparable plan at $17.99 per month. In fact, Blockbuster is actually a bit more expensive than Netflix because they charge tax on the monthly rate while Netflix does not.

Deciding Which Online DVD Rental Company is Right for You

If you live close to a participating Blockbuster and are pretty good at returning movies on time, Blockbuster Total Access might be right for you. If you don't have the best history of returning movies on time, Blockbuster Total Access can still be a good plan, you just may want to limit your number of in-store rentals.

However, if you only plan on renting by mail, Netflix may be the better option since the monthly rate is a bit lower due to the fact that Netflix does not charge taxes as Blockbuster does. The good thing about both of these plans is that there are no commitments. You can try one and if you don't like it, try the other.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on best
buys
and consumer reviews, please visit http://www.BestBuys.com
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