Blockbuster vs Netflix for DVD/BD rentals - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone comment on Blockbuster vs Netflix for DVD/BD mail order rentals (I currently have Netflix)? I searched forum and haven't found much, especially recently.

The price for 2 discs out plan seems to be the same. I don't care about anything BB offers in stores because there aren't any left close enough. I am in Brooklyn, NY and BB probably has local distribution center in my area (NF center is in Queens).

All I know is that some new titles will become available from BB earlier. I spot-checked my NF queue and everything seems to be available from BB as well.
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post #2 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Side note: how is it possible that this page is available in Google search index an hour after I posted it? Does Google actually re-index this forum every hour? Somehow I find it difficult to believe.
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post #3 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 12:46 PM
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I only have the Blockbuster plan because of the in-store swaps. Multiple BB stores near me, makes is very easy and worthwhile... I can swap ANY disc that came from BB for ANY disc from the actual store, incl blu-rays, new releases, etc., so it seems to me I get the best of both worlds in terms of ready access to the newest releases plus access to a deeper back catalog than the store would carry.

Netflix has a deeper back catalog, so better for true rare movies. But no swaps, and sometimes long waits, esp. for newer, popular movies.

It's a much tougher call if you're not planning to do the in-store swaps, however. In your situation I might lean towards Netflix. Back when streaming was included, it was a little easier to decide.
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post #4 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 12:49 PM
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One of the big (often overlooked) differences between NF and BB is the number of distribution centers. NF has around 52 distribution centers compared to about 26 for BB. NF has around 90% coverage for next day delivery in the US. I would check and see how close/far away your are to the nearest BB distribution center.

Every since the BB bankruptcy, there have been some reports that BB has had some problems in obtaining titles from the studios. More than likely the studios put BB on a cash only basis for buying titles from the studios and jacked up the price that they charging BB.

Maybe someone who has used BB over the past 6 months can comment on title availability and wait period.
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post #5 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 12:51 PM
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Well, strictly speaking discs (even though this is the streaming section) here is what I think are the major differences:

I will ignore the in-store exchange thing since you requested I do so.

Pros of Blockbuster over Netflix:
  1. Blockbuster does not have the 28 day delay like Netflix has on some titles.
  2. Blockbuster gets some catalog titles on Blu-ray that Netflix does not. Likewise though, Neflix gets some BB does not (although that's probably more rare) Thread on BD titles BB has not carried by Netflix is here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1319003
  3. Blockbuster has games, but I'm not sure that matters to you. Netflix/Qwikster will be getting these though, but for an extra charge (not sure what that is yet)

Cons of BB:
  1. Blockbuster does not ship or process on Saturdays, unlike Netflix.
  2. Blockbuster typically has longer shipping times. While most people have a 2 day turnaround for Netflix (return on Monday, get a new disc Wednesday), it's not unusual for Blockbuster to have 5, 7, 10 day turnarounds. Based on the other thread in the BD section, it seems to have actually gotten worse since Netflix did their price re-alignment and quite a few people left Netflix. BB has a pretty small customer base (I've read as few as 1 million in the dvd-by-mail program compared to Netflix's 20+ million), so even another 250,000 customers is a pretty big increase in demand that they might no be able to handle. Just conjecture, but it's obvious they aren't set up as well as Netflix and have fewer shipping centers and worst service...in fact, it wasn't unusual (and still isn't based on what I read) for them to "check-in" a disc one day, and wait 2 or 3 days to send the next one. Netflix will always ship a disc the same day they get receive one (although I'm sure there are rare exceptions). You can read recent experiences with BB here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...977031&page=82
  3. It's Blockbuster. Gross

Oh, Blockbuster also touts "no surcharge for Blu-ray" but if you compare the prices for the plans, they are the same (for one disc, BB is $9.99, and Netflix is $7.99 + $2). If one wasn't interested in Blu-ray, Netflix is cheaper.

In my opinion, you will get significantly less discs through Blockbuster, given the typical scenario and that you won't use the in-store exchange. Whether or not the advantage of no 28 day delay for new releases will offset that for you is a matter of individual opinion. Of course, YMMV if you happen to have short shipping times.


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Originally Posted by joeschmoe007 View Post

Side note: how is it possible that this page is available in Google search index an hour after I posted it? Does Google actually re-index this forum every hour? Somehow I find it difficult to believe.

I have seen my posts show up in Google within minutes. That company is a monster!
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post #6 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 01:20 PM
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I can say that I always (so far) get the next available disc in my queue within two days. And I don't believe there is a distribution center in L.A., it's coming from Texas, I think they told me once. So perhaps 2 days is fairly reasonable... but nothing like the one-day turn-around I might get from NF. (I dropped NF a long time ago, since I mostly rent new releases and they take too long to get... with BB and in-store exchanges, this hurdle is removed for me.)

Can't comment on round-trip, since I ALWAYS return in-store so it is immediately registered as returned and the queue starts processing again, so no delay on the return.

I usually get a ship notice for the next title the day after I return the disc in-store, then two days after that, the title arrives.

It's true that they do nothing on weekends, which is annoying, but at least if it shipped Friday, I'll get it Monday, because the post office is still working. (until the post office goes bankrupt, at least)

I've only once gotten a true new release close to the release date, although I've had some in my queue for a while. It's moot for me, however, since I swap for the new release in store without issue.

I'd have a hard time sticking with BB, however, if it weren't for in-store exchanges.
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post #7 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Apparently there are 2 distribution centers around here: Queens and Edison, NJ. I opened trial membership and will report how it goes.
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post #8 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 01:42 PM
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For the OP:

I have the following, it does not include in-store exchange.
  • SUBSCRIPTION PLAN
  • BLOCKBUSTER By Mail
  • $16.99 / month (plus taxes)
  • 3 at-a-time, Unlimited mailings

This plan may or may not still be available.

At my old location disc turn-around times were 3, 4 or 5 days. At my current address turn-around times typically have been 3 days.

I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster because they had lower pricing for Blu-ray plans, greater Blu-ray title selection, no 28 day delay for new titles and in general, shorter wait times.

Don't pay any attention to the Blockbuster hatters, I bet most of them shop at Walmart or subscribe to Netflix both of which put an unprecedented number of small businesses out of business.

For me, I love Netflix, in a short period of time they bought me a new Mercedes via stock gains, I shop at Walmart for certain items, I am a Sam’s Club member......

YMMV
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post #9 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

I switched from Netflix to Blockbuster because they had lower pricing for Blu-ray plans

does BB have cheaper plans than the Total Access price? I can't seem to find plans on their site other than the Total Access (which is the same prices as Netflix's plans with BD).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post

Don't pay any attention to the Blockbuster hatters, I bet most of them shop at Walmart or subscribe to Netflix both of which put an unprecedented number of small businesses out of business.

No not the old Walmart dig! You have won one internets!
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post #10 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

does BB have cheaper plans than the Total Access price? I can't seem to find plans on their site other than the Total Access (which is the same prices as Netflix's plans with BD).

In case you missed the big announcement today, if you're a Dish Network sub, you get 20 premium HD channels, BB 1-at-a-time by mail w/ in-store exchange (incl. games and blu-ray) and streaming all for $10. That's about as cheap as you can get.
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post #11 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

In case you missed the big announcement today, if you're a Dish Network sub, you get 20 premium HD channels, BB 1-at-a-time by mail w/ in-store exchange (incl. games and blu-ray) and streaming all for $10. That's about as cheap as you can get.

Disc plans. That's what we were talking about.

And no, I didn't miss the announcement.
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post #12 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 02:47 PM
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To be honest on the games at BB, they are not available for the mail service til 3-4 months after their actual release date.
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post #13 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

In case you missed the big announcement today, if you're a Dish Network sub, you get 20 premium HD channels, BB 1-at-a-time by mail w/ in-store exchange (incl. games and blu-ray) and streaming all for $10. That's about as cheap as you can get.

It's no doubt a good deal, for now ..

There used to be this cutting edge American company that let you stream all the content you wanted for free, as long as you subscribed to it's disk by mail service .. then one day, the company decided it had to start charging .. the rest is history ..

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post #14 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 02:57 PM
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I'm into my second week of a BB trial after using Netflix for four years. So far, disc turn around is one day more for BB. Netflix was 3 days, BB is 4 days. I'm finding it harder to manage my queue on BB compared to Netflix. Still learning. BB mobile app kinda sucks but at least there is one. Netflix disabled the queue management feature for discs in their mobile app awhile back.
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post #15 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeschmoe007 View Post

Can anyone comment on Blockbuster vs Netflix for DVD/BD mail order rentals (I currently have Netflix)? I searched forum and haven't found much, especially recently.

The price for 2 discs out plan seems to be the same. I don't care about anything BB offers in stores because there aren't any left close enough. I am in Brooklyn, NY and BB probably has local distribution center in my area (NF center is in Queens).

All I know is that some new titles will become available from BB earlier. I spot-checked my NF queue and everything seems to be available from BB as well.

I am a one day mail time from the NF (or whatever it's called today) center, on a one disk at a time plan I easliy do 8 BD's a month .. the NF release date is the de-facto release date AFAIC ..

My experience with BB by mail was much slower turn around times ..

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post #16 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 03:54 PM
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I get my Bluray disc from BB usually the same time as I would Netflix, but sometimes BB will send one late in the day and it will arrive a day later. I also have a store very close and I'm on the 3 at a time plan. So each weekend I have 3 Blurays and the option of 3 in store exchanges.

The main issue I've noticed lately with BB is a shortage or on order with newer releases. But the same disc are available in store.

They have a free trial, I got 30 days.
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post #17 of 56 Old 09-23-2011, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell R. Breland View Post



Don't pay any attention to the Blockbuster hatters, I bet most of them shop at Walmart or subscribe to Netflix both of which put an unprecedented number of small businesses out of business.

Yep, thank goodness that Blockbuster never did anything like that!
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post #18 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 07:41 AM
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I cancelled NF by mail this morning after trying BB for a week. The in-store exchanges are really cool. It was rainy here all weekend, and I just got some new A/V toys so we watched more movies than usual. In the past my discs would have been heading back to NF. In this case, I took them to the local store and traded them for new releases.

I'll keep NF streaming, as it is really convenient. However, we'll see what happens when the Starz stuff is gone. It seems a lot of what gets watched here is part of the Starz deal.

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post #19 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrimore View Post

I cancelled NF by mail this morning after trying BB for a week. The in-store exchanges are really cool. It was rainy here all weekend, and I just got some new A/V toys so we watched more movies than usual. In the past my discs would have been heading back to NF. In this case, I took them to the local store and traded them for new releases.

Just curious how long it took your discs to arrive from Blockbuster.

Not that I have any stores around me any longer, but when I was with BB I had trouble with shipping taking 3-5 days (and discs not being checked back in right away or not shipping out the same day I returned them). Plus, they don't ship on Saturday.

Anyways, even with the instore exchanges, I ended up with less discs than I did with Netflix.

Maybe you're lucky and the discs are only taking 1 day to ship to you?
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post #20 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

does BB have cheaper plans than the Total Access price? I can't seem to find plans on their site other than the Total Access (which is the same prices as Netflix's plans with BD).

You can get a non-Total Access price if you decide to cancel within your Trial Period. They don't offer this up front.
I'm on the 1@ a time for 7.99 month.

My typical turn around with BB is 3 days.
Ship Monday, They receive on Tuesday, They ship on Tuesday and I get on Wednesday.

If I know that I want a new release on Tuesday, I do an in store exchange on Saturday (which does NOT count against my online subscription) for $1.99 in store, which IMMEDIATELY checks in my online subscription disc or just mail my disc on Friday.
Although BB doesn't ship on Saturday, they do check discs in, which frees up a slot on your subscription for Monday when new releases are shipped.

2014
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post #21 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42Plasmaman View Post

You can get a non-Total Access price if you decide to cancel within your Trial Period. They don't offer this up front.
I'm on the 1@ a time for 7.99 month.

My typical turn around with BB is 3 days.
Ship Monday, They receive on Tuesday, They ship on Tuesday and I get on Wednesday.

If I know that I want a new release on Tuesday, I do an in store exchange on Saturday (which does NOT count against my online subscription) for $1.99 in store, which IMMEDIATELY checks in my online subscription disc or just mail my disc on Friday.
Although BB doesn't ship on Saturday, they do check discs in.

Is there anything different about your plan compared to the standard plans? Do you still get BD, games and in-store exchanges?

And what is your turn around time for discs?

EDIT: You edited your post while I was asking you about thses things! HA!
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post #22 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 02:26 PM
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My Star Wars Episode IV, V, VI still show "long wait" on Netflix and they are on their way from Blockbuster as they were next in my queue at BB.

I am on the 30 day free trial from BB and shipping takes one day longer than average. I will be cancelling my Netflix blu ray account and go streaming only from Netflix next month.

BB has many more catalog titles than "Quickster", no 28 day wait for new releases so they will get my business.
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post #23 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42Plasmaman View Post

You can get a non-Total Access price if you decide to cancel within your Trial Period. They don't offer this up front.
I'm on the 1@ a time for 7.99 month.

My typical turn around with BB is 3 days.
Ship Monday, They receive on Tuesday, They ship on Tuesday and I get on Wednesday.

If I know that I want a new release on Tuesday, I do an in store exchange on Saturday (which does NOT count against my online subscription) for $1.99 in store, which IMMEDIATELY checks in my online subscription disc or just mail my disc on Friday.
Although BB doesn't ship on Saturday, they do check discs in, which frees up a slot on your subscription for Monday when new releases are shipped.

Thanks for the info. So you have to join, threaten to cancel and join one of their "wait, don't leave us!" plans. Then you get the option for a $2 cheaper/month plan (assuming you have the BD option on Netflix, otherwise it's the same price).

But if you want the in-store exchanges to NOT count against your online rentals, it costs you $2 a pop (ouch!). Otherwise, they won't ship a new movie until you return the in-store exchange again.

Gotcha, I think. Did I miss anything?

Unfortunately shipping in my area is 3-5 days and I don't have a store anywhere close to me. I was just curious about the "cheaper" plans you were talking about so I can talk intelligently (well, for me) when it comes up and people ask for comparisons. They should just offer that plan up front.
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post #24 of 56 Old 09-26-2011, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post

Thanks for the info. So you have to join, threaten to cancel and join one of their "wait, don't leave us!" plans. Then you get the option for a $2 cheaper/month plan (assuming you have the BD option on Netflix, otherwise it's the same price).

But if you want the in-store exchanges to NOT count against your online rentals, it costs you $2 a pop (ouch!). Otherwise, they won't ship a new movie until you return the in-store exchange again.

Gotcha, I think. Did I miss anything?

Unfortunately shipping in my area is 3-5 days and I don't have a store anywhere close to me. I was just curious about the "cheaper" plans you were talking about so I can talk intelligently (well, for me) when it comes up and people ask for comparisons. They should just offer that plan up front.

Correct.
Threaten to leave and they will give you a carrot.
I believe they use to have the non-Total Access upfront before Dish bought them.

I mainly do online so I don't do in-store exchanges much but having the option is nice incase I missed the Friday mailing of my disc and I want a new release on Tuesday.
It's also nice having the non-Total Access because the in store exchange doesn't count against your online subsription.
The $2 for in store exchange isn't to bad considering I pay $1.50(blu-ray) for Redbox.

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post #25 of 56 Old 09-28-2011, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42Plasmaman View Post

You can get a non-Total Access price if you decide to cancel within your Trial Period. They don't offer this up front.
I'm on the 1@ a time for 7.99 month.

My typical turn around with BB is 3 days.
Ship Monday, They receive on Tuesday, They ship on Tuesday and I get on Wednesday.

If I know that I want a new release on Tuesday, I do an in store exchange on Saturday (which does NOT count against my online subscription) for $1.99 in store, which IMMEDIATELY checks in my online subscription disc or just mail my disc on Friday.
Although BB doesn't ship on Saturday, they do check discs in, which frees up a slot on your subscription for Monday when new releases are shipped.

My turnaround is the same. However, I am near a distribution center.

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post #26 of 56 Old 09-28-2011, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42Plasmaman View Post

Correct.
Threaten to leave and they will give you a carrot.
I believe they use to have the non-Total Access upfront before Dish bought them.

I mainly do online so I don't do in-store exchanges much but having the option is nice incase I missed the Friday mailing of my disc and I want a new release on Tuesday.
It's also nice having the non-Total Access because the in store exchange doesn't count against your online subsription.
The $2 for in store exchange isn't to bad considering I pay $1.50(blu-ray) for Redbox.

I agree, the in-store exchange is a great "extra".

By the way, when I first moved here 5 years ago, I had four stores to rent from- one right by my work, one about two miles away, one right on my drive home and one a mile from my house. Now, the one nearest my house is the only one left.

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post #27 of 56 Old 09-28-2011, 10:00 AM
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Clearly the value of the in-store exchange option is very highly location-sensitive.

Those near BB stores will get a great value out of it, those in BB-free areas will lose out, big time.

The Los Angeles area still has plentiful BB stores. There's one near home, one near work, and two are passed in between. My previous home (just moved a month ago) had a choice of two nearly equidistant shops (both within 2 miles). So for me, the in-store exchange feature brings the BB subscription a good notch in value above Netflix (certainly since NF dropped streaming).
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post #28 of 56 Old 09-29-2011, 06:53 AM
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Can anyone explain the in-store exchange option? I assume you take the movie you received in the mail to the store, select a new movie, and then exchange the two at the desk (for free)? And then when you're done watching the new movie, you mail it back to Blockbuster in the original envelope rather than taking it back to the store? One would think that might cause some weird inventory shifting for stores.

As far as doing the exchange, do you have to have a Blockbuster card? Do you have to present a credit card, membership card, or show ID? I ask because the "Total Access" service might be in the name of one person (say, my name), but the person doing the exchange might be someone else (say, my wife). Ideally she would be able to perform the exchange without me having to be present.
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post #29 of 56 Old 09-29-2011, 07:20 AM
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I just did this yesterday for the first time as I am on my trial month. I took in the Blu Ray I had already sealed up in the mailer. I picked another Blu Ray and walked to the counter. I have a Blockbuster card so they scan that, which brought up my By mail account. They mail back the first one for you.

The one you pick in store is yours to keep for unlimited time just as if you got it in the mail. When you are done with the one you picked up in store, you take it back to the store, and when they scan it in as returned, that triggers them to mail you another one.
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post #30 of 56 Old 09-29-2011, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slordak View Post

....As far as doing the exchange, do you have to have a Blockbuster card? Do you have to present a credit card, membership card, or show ID? I ask because the "Total Access" service might be in the name of one person (say, my name), but the person doing the exchange might be someone else (say, my wife). Ideally she would be able to perform the exchange without me having to be present.

It will cost you nothing to get a card for each family member. Plus I never carried my card with me - I just gave them my driver license and they looked up my account.
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