Netflix vs. Redbox vs. Illegal Downloading. I Think I Know Who Wins

24 Jun

When renting a movie, you have to consider a few things: the cost, the convenience, the level of your satisfaction, and the likelihood of you retuning the movie on time. If you’re going to rent a movie from a conventional store like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video, you can expect to dish out at least 5 bucks. And that’s not including the costs you incur if you return the movie late. Secondly, will you even like the movie? A lot of the movies available for rent are movies that came out a couple of months ago, and from what I remember, there isn’t much to choose from in terms of quality. Unless you like watching movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Basically, you should just download movies or tv shows off the internet. You’d be surprised at how much you save throughout the year by simply downloading movies or streaming tv shows. I don’t have the statistics or anything because I’m not a nerd, but I bet it’s a fairly large amount. For those of you who are too old to know how to download movies, here is a comparison of Redbox and Netflix, the average persons movie rental service.

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1. The Cost

The best plan for you, cost-wise, depends on how often you rent movies. Redbox rentals cost $1 a night. The cheapest Netflix membershipis $4.99, and you only get two movies per month, one at a time. If you only watch movies every now and then, Redbox is probably your cheaper option.

If you have Netflix, you’ll have to watch at least nine movies a month with the cheapest unlimited membership for it to pay off (not counting pre-paid shipping and the ability to watch movies on your computer).

2. Flexibility

Unlike Netflix, you don’t need to pay a monthly fee to use Redbox kiosks, so if you go weeks without watching movies, you don’t throw your money away on a membership you’re not using.

But since Redbox rentals are $1 per night, with every extra day you keep the movie, another $1 is billed to your creditcard. (If you keep a movie for more than 25 nights, you’ve effectively paid for it, and it’s yours to keep.) With a Netflix unlimited membership, you can keep movies as long as you want without paying more than your monthly membership fee. To get a new DVD, you mail back an old rental in a pre-paid envelope.

3. Location, Location, Location

If convenience is key, your location and timing are vital. There are 15,000 Redbox locations including at certain Wal-Mart (Stock Quote: WMT) , Walgreens (Stock Quote: WAG), McDonald’s (Stock Quote: MCD) and Albertson’s stores.

But if your town only has one Redbox, your options may be limited since each kiosk holds about 700 DVDs, including up to 200 new release titles. And if you’d rather walk to your mailbox instead of traveling to a store, Netflix is a better option.

4. Instant Access vs. Convenience of Home Delivery

With Netflix, however, you’ll want to plan ahead since you’ll have to wait for your DVDs to arrive in the mail. If you want a specific movie to watch over the weekend, you might have to mail your last DVD on Wednesday or Thursday, meaning you can’t use Netflix for unplanned movie watching unless you have a Netflix set-top box.

That said, with music and movies increasingly being downloaded from the Internet, DVDs are expected to go the way of the cassette tape. Unless Redbox kiosks provide downloadable movies, they could become obsolete as well.

Netflix on the other hand lets members watch select movies instantly on their computers. The “Watch Instantly” selection may be limited to the movies and TV series that Netflix is licensed to carry, but members can watch as much as they want, as often as they want.

Don’t Count out Blockbuster, either. One way fierce competitor Blockbuster (Stock Quote: BBI) may have a leg up on Netflix, however, is its movie download option which lets you download a rental that you can keep for up to 30 days. However the Blockbuster memberships, which let you go to stores, have DVDs delivered by mail and download for an extra fee, are more expensive than those at Netflix, which may not be the best choice for penny pinchers cutting costs.

Definitely look into hulu to watch streaming tv shows. They give you a lot for a little. And by a little I mean for free. Take advantage of what the internet has to offer, and use your fucking head. Free = good.

p.s. I saw Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It was mediocre at best.

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