If you tire of Netflix, you might consider Blockbuster's own online rental service instead, which actually costs a buck less for some of the plans (and also do not charge extra for BDs -- yet?). I'm currently on their unlimited one-out plan for $9+tax -- and plan to switch to the 3-out plan on occasion for $16+tax.
At least in my case (in the NYC area), I'm finding that Blockbuster seems to be improving substantially on availability w/ new/recent releases of BDs. My last 5 rentals from them have all been new/recent releases -- and other new/recent releases on my queue have been "short waits" (or "available").
RE: bad discs and such, that's gonna happen on occasion w/ either service. Not sure how Netflix handles it these days, but you can just report it to Blockbuster's site and have them send out another disc asap (though they might not have the same title available at that moment) -- the replacement can be some other title.
You're absolutely right. With any rental service, there will be occasional bad discs. No way around it. The problem I have with Netflix is two-fold. First, I think 3 bad discs in a 45 -day period in which I have only received 12 total discs is a bit excessive. Second, as far as I can see, they take no real responsibility for bad discs, choosing to penalize the customer instead by reducing the total number of movies the customer will be able to see with most plans.
I purchased a brand new Sony BX1 BD player yesterday and kept Saw IV for a comparative test against my Magnavox. The disc initially exhibited identical behavior in both players, freezing in the 3rd chapter of the film, and then resuming on its own after a few seconds. This happens a couple of more times, and then the Magnavox gives up and returns to the main menu. On the first pass, the Sony eventually resumed play and seemed fine. I cleaned the disc [with a motorized Disc Cleaner unit designed for that purpose] and then tried it again. This time the brand new Sony player wouldn't even load the disc, whereas the Magnavox behaved as it had before.
I'm hoping a call to Netflix will prove helpful, since they do not seem too be interested in interacting with their customers via their web site. Interestingly enough, all of my problems have been with Blu Ray discs. I thought one of the improvements in Blu vs standard DVD was supposed to be scratch tolerance. This has not proven true in my experience.
Lots of scratched films that usually skip every now and then. That just takes me out of the movie. Also, I don't like waiting for films I'm dying to see come in the mail. I might not crave the movie the next day.
I'm not sure about the actual playback tolerance. But I thought BDs were *coated* w/ an extra, tough layer to help *prevent* scratches, not to make actual scratches more transparent to playback. You can feel how much tougher BDs are compared to DVDs -- although it seems like maybe this is only true w/ BD50's, not BD25's, from what I can recall of my own experiences so far. It also seems like the extra toughness might actually make the discs more brittle and more likely to crack big time on impact or when flexed since they do not seem to have the same resilience/flexibility as DVDs (and CDs) -- this too is just my own observation and may not actually be true.
I just watched my Stargate BD [which I own] and it played flawlessy, so I returned the Sony BD player I bought on Wednesday to Costco. My Magnavox player may be more sensitive to scratched BD's, but I am convinced there is nothing inherently wrong with it.
I'll give Netflix a call and hear what they have to say about this before making a final decision.
Shipping of my discs has always been timely. It's just the qualitly of th BD's that seems to be a problem. Other than that, I was really liking Netflix.
Just got off the phone with Netflix. They readily acknowledged that they are having a lot of problems with unplayable BD's. According to the person I spoke with, BD's are known to be more temperamental than standard DVD's. This is completely opposite of what I thought to be true.
Anyway. They were nice enough to credit me a couple of free movies, which I appreciate. I usually opt for the BD whenever its available, but I may start requesting standard DVD's in some cases. OK. Probably not. I'm hooked on Blu.
If they're having alot more problems with Blu-rays, I wonder if it might stem from people with players that need a firmware update or something along those lines. Or in other words, I wonder if alot of the problems are player related rather than a problem with the disc.
That's an interesting question. All I can say is the unplayable discs I received all started out fine, and then experienced problems later in the film. At least 2 of them had several visible scratches. Not sure about the first one since it's been awhile. Seeing the same behavior with 2 different players with Saw IV [I assume the new Sony would have the latest firmware] was enough to point blame at the disc in my mind.
As for a firmware upgrade, I'll check Magnavox or Funai to see if one is available.
"Based on the math, I'm pro-Netflix too, which is why i signed up. But if the discs aren't playable then the math goes out the window, does it not? That's why part of me hopes it is my player, even though I would have to replace it."
OK, John, but your thread is titled "What's Your Netflix Experience" and that is mine.
Several months ago I'd given up on Netflix for Blu-ray's. Understocked, too many BD customers, whatever their problem was I saw no value in it if I had to wait several weeks to get something shipped to me.
I guess the situation might have improved, don't know nor do I care. I never had a problem with unplayable BD's though I didn't get them that often.
For Blu-Ray rentals I opted instead for a Blockbuster unlimited pass at a local BB. Rent as many Blu-Ray (or anything else) titles as I can watch for a month, no long waits for new releases, no late fees, I can pick what I'm in the mood to watch at that time and best of all TRUE UNLIMITED RENTALS - no bullshit throttling like Netflix practices. A much better bang for my buck than Netflix.
Netflix has been great; unfortunately, they are once again affixing labels around the hubs of their discs - not sure if it's Blu-rays only, or all Blu-rays - which can cause playback probs.
I complained a year ago when they were testing this practice, and the customer rep I spoke with back then revealed they were getting anumber of calls and they were discontinuing the practice.
I've now rec'd 2 discs - The Man Who Fell To Earth and Truman Show - both with the hub stickers, which include a barcode. I complained, but at this point, there may not be enough feedback for them to once again reconsider.
Call them at 888-638-3549 and give your input, if interested.
I've been a Netflix customer since December 1999. In that time period, I can count on one hand how many times a disc has been damaged on arrival. Believe it or not, in almost a decade, they've never sent me the wrong disc. I have the four at a time plan. On extremely rare occasions, a disc might skip, but if it does it's just for a second, or is fixed by wiping the disc off.
I started renting Blu-ray discs from them in October and haven't run into any problems with those rentals either.
My experience has improved as of late, and when I did have problems, one call got it taken care of immediately. I am starting to see longer wait times as some predicted I would, but this is not a problem for me as I don't really care when I see a film, as long as I always have something "new-to-me" to watch.