Saturday, January 2, 2010

Choosing a Movie Subscription Service

The two major movie subscription services are Netflix and Blockbuster by mail.  Back in March 2009, Consumer Reports gave Netflix the nod over Blockbuster and I would have to agree.  Both plans seem to offer similar benefits with plans starting about $8.99 a month, but each have their own strengths.

Blockbuster
  • In store returns and exchanges (limit to 5 per month)
  • No extra charge for Blu-Ray DVD's
  • Discounts for Game rentals and purchase, and DVD purchases
  • Download Movies on Demand (Windows PC Only)
Netflix
  • Watch movies instantly on a PC, Mac, or Netflix ready device

If your just counting bullets, Blockbuster wins by a landslide, however I'm choosing Netflix over Blockbuster because it's an easy solution to stream movies to my TV's.  I plan on purchasing a Roku set-top box ($79.99) for my living room analog TV, and a Roku HD-XR box ($129.99) for the high definition TV in my bedroom.  This will allow me to stream thousands of movies at any time, as long as my Netflix subscription is active.  My kids have an Xbox which allows them to download Netflix movies.  The only limitation there is that they would need a subscription to Xbox Live Gold ($49.99 a year).  If they're willing to foot the bill, I might let them have it.

If Blockbuster had a set-top box option, it may tip the scales, but without that option, it's Netflix and Roku for my family.