Praise for Netflix

Date Sun, May 18 2008

This will not be the first time I’ve shown love for Netflix, the online service which allows customers to rent movies (in DVD format) by mail. And it probably won’t be the last either. Of course, since my last praises, Netflix has raised the bar again!

On the surface, Netflix seems like a nice investment. If you love to rent DVDs but have trouble returning it on time or rent them so frequently that your video rental bill is ridiculous, Netflix may just be the service from you.

Signing up with Netflix is easy and allows you to choose a different plan. Decide how many movies you want to have out at a time (here’s a hint, the more movies you have out the higher the plan will cost) from 1 movie to 8 and browse their selection of “more than 100,000 movies” to add promising titles to your queue. The titles at the top of the queue will then be mailed directly to your home (or local post office) without and shipping fees.

I personally use the “3 at-a-time (Unlimited)” plan which means that, at any given time, I can have 3 movies out without a deadline to return them. Unfortunately, this does include shipping times so as soon as the distributor mails a DVD is it considered “out” until it’s in their possession again. Still, if that’s an issue, you can choose up to 8 movies at a time and will be sure to always have a DVD at arm’s length. However, the customer doesn’t have to worry about paying shipping and handling when returnign the DVDs as a business return envlope is included; the actual mailing envlope you receive turns into a return envlope by tearing off a piece of paper.

I’ve used this same plan for over 2 years and have never noticed a hike in prices. In fact, the price has actually gone down – twice! Way to go Netflix!

Of course, I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy this service, like I have for the last 2.5 years, if they didn’t ship to military addresses. This certainly benefits anyone in a remote area when there’s nothing better to do or accessible to service members and their family.

In the last year, Netflix has worked hard to release an online viewing option so customers no longer have to wait for movies to be mailed. Instead, select titles can be viewed from one’s computer. Customers are allowed to view as many hours a month as they choose with no extra fee, unless they have enrolled in the 1 at-a-time (2 a month) plan, which allots customers 2 hours of movie viewing a month.

Netflix movies ship quickly. In lower WI, it averaged 2-3 business days from the time I dropped the DVD in the mail tot he time I received the next. Of course, those closer to distribution centers may have less time to wait and those not in the continental states will have a longer wait. Currently, in Japan, my wait time is about 1 week from the time the DVD is shipped (Netflix notifies customers whenever a movie is received and shipped) to reach my post office for a total of 2 weeks between the time I mail off DVDs to the time I receive them.

Netflix also offers some services for those who opt to receive movies in the mail. If a movie is lost in the mail, a customer can report it to Netflix and they will send a replacement immediately. The company understand that sometimes the mail can be unreliable.

Also, if Netflix sends a DVD that has been damaged and will not play, the customer can report it on the website and a replacement will be sent.

However, Netflix cannot return any discs that were erroneously sent to them which is easier said than done. I myself has sent back 2 DVDs by mistake.

Overall I’ve been very happy with service from Netflix. The prices are reasonable, much more so than renting the same amount of movies from a local store every week and the selection is vast. Every DVD I have wanted to rent has been available to me and very few DVDs are not available immediately. The queue works efficiently allowing one to find and add appropriate titles easily and keep track of DVDs rented and returned. Furthermore, Netflix offers tools to rate movies seen and offers recommendations based upon said ratings. Netflix is a great improvement over your local rental shop.

Anyone who is interested can leave a comment with their e-mail and I can invite you to join Netflix for 2 weeks for free!

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