PROS / In-store returns and exchanges make getting the movies you want even easier.
CONS / You must pay for most online rentals, even if you have a membership.
VERDICT / You can download any movie you want for a price.
Blockbuster’s retail stores might be suffering, but it’s apparent that its online movie download services have much to offer. Everything about the winner of our Top Ten REVIEWS is easy to use: the website, rental system, membership signup and the ways in which you can watch and download movies.
Some of the standout features of Blockbuster’s online service include:
- A huge selection of movies to purchase or rent
- Up to three DVDs out at a time
- Anytime membership cancellation
- A focus on new releases for on-demand viewing
It seems as though Blockbuster’s members have everything and new members have everything to gain. You can join for as little as $11.99 per month and choose from more than 95,000 movies and 3,000 video games to receive through the mail. Members can have up to three discs out at a time and are entitled to up to five in-store exchanges at no extra cost.
Blockbuster also has an impressive selection of movies for members to download as purchases or rentals. However, these come with an additional cost. While members get as many free DVD rentals as they can watch, they must pay an additional $1.99 to $4.99 for online download rentals.
Like most monthly movie download and rental services, there are no due dates and late fees with Blockbuster’s service. However, unlike most of these other services, Blockbuster provides Blu-ray rentals at no additional charge.
Blockbuster provides all the specific information you could ever want to know about each movie rental. Every movie has its own page. Blockbuster lists the most important information as along with a brief description of the movie at the top of the page. Below that is a complete synopsis, and awards and cast lists. Blockbuster also makes suggestions based on your movie interests, rental history and movies similar to the one you’re viewing.
On the right-hand side of the page, you’ll find helpful member reviews that can aid you in making a decision about whether to download a movie. You choose whether to add intriguing titles to your queue, buy them new or used on DVD, check their in-store availability or purchase them for on-demand viewing.
Blockbuster provides links from the movie pages to the pages of their actors, directors, screenwriters and other production staff. These pages include a short or lengthy bio – depending on the person – and a list of each person’s work, starting with the most recent.
Blockbuster doesn’t have the most accessible downloads, but it beats most of its competition in this area. You can view on-demand movies on a number of devices including mobile smartphones and tablet PCs, TVs, laptop and desktop computers and DVRs. This can be a terrific feature, if you can figure out how to set it up. Blockbuster’s website offers step-by-step instructions to help you with questions or procedures such as getting started, configuring devices, compatible devices, activation codes and so forth. For the technologically challenged, this service might not be worth the effort due to the intricacies of setting up the account settings.
We were stunned to find that Blockbuster On Demand isn’t compatible with any Mac device. You can only stream movies to a Mac computer using a Flash 10 Player, or you can purchase a movie that you can then download to an iPad or other Mac device.
This service has the best selection of any online movie download service for on-demand movies. However, you must pay additional charges for each movie you want to download, whether it’s a rental or purchase. Although Blockbuster does have free sections for on-demand purchases and downloads, these only include movie clips, behind-the-scenes films and interviews for certain movies.
One thing we do love about Blockbuster’s rental service is its fantastic selection of movies that you can rent or purchase online. Blockbuster has new releases available for instant viewing up to 28 days before any other movie download site. As great as its movie selection is, however, Blockbuster has no television shows available for on-demand viewing.
Help & Support
One of Blockbuster’s greatest assets is its dedication to customer service. The company’s website is easy to navigate and it has a wonderful Help section. There are numerous FAQs sections based on questions you might have regarding online, in-store or on-demand movie rentals. Members with further questions can contact customer support by telephone, email and live chat. We submitted several questions by email and received timely responses in about an hour.
There is one thing we especially love about Blockbuster’s website: its search engine. Many people rarely use websites’ internal search engines to navigate through the sites they visit, but we have to mention the usefulness of Blockbuster’s. Like most search bars, you type in keywords that relate to what you’re searching for, be it an actor, movie or television show. Blockbuster’s site will then bring up the most relevant results. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can then use the site’s effective filter tool on the left-hand side of the screen that provides you with several options to help you narrow your search.
Blockbuster’s online rental and movie download services have some weak points, but it provides a larger selection and more access than almost any other comparable service. Customers might not be able to access Blockbuster Online on every device they own, but we think the in-store exchanges and ability to cancel your membership at any time make up for this flaw. Blockbuster provides excellent customer service and is a smart choice for online movie downloads.