Michael Arrington (of Techcrunch) just posted about his switch to Blockbuster’s online movie rental service called Total Access away from Netflix. Apparently Blockbuster is now offering the option to rent movies online AND bring them back into a local store to instantly get another movie rental. Basically it combines Blockbuster’s online movie rentals with traditional in-store rentals – you can do either or. This is something Netflix can’t offer.
Many years ago I tried Netflix – but at that time their systems were slow and their distribution was not as efficient as I’m sure it is now. The spread between when i mailed back a movie and received the new movie in the mail was too long – about 4-5 days. I canceled it a few months later and have not used an online video rental service since.
Now that Blockbuster Video introduced Total Access, I think I’m going to give it a try. I like the option of just driving down to the Blockbuster any given night and exchanging the video. This should also solve the “difficult to get a new release” problem that Netflix apparently has.
I’d really love to see one of these services come out with an API. I think widgetizing people’s movie queues or what they just watched (sort of like Last.fm for movies) would be a killer marketing strategy for either Netflix or Blockbuster. I also think people could come up with some cool mashups if they just let their data loose.
Actually, I think I’ll sign up for both Netflix and Blockbuster (using my own my affiliate links below) and compare the two video services in a future post.
Update: My experience with Netflix v. Blockbuster Total Access