Netflix Informative - NetFlix vs. IntelliFlix
I have been a long-time subscriber to NetFlix. Like most people, I had become discouraged with the level of service I had been receiving based on the promised NetFlix said they would deliver. I did a search on the Internet for "NetFlix complaints" and was surprised at the number of hits I received. I started wading through all of the negative posts and eventually stumbled on some recommendations for alternatives to NetFlix for online DVD rentals.
I saw that IntelliFlix was a highly rated competitor to NetFlix so I checked it out. They have a SuperPass plan that allows you to sign up for a year in advance for a 3-at-a-time rental plan that includes DVDs, video games, and adult titles. The monthly cost of the plane ended up being less than $15 per month which was less than what either NetFlix or BlockBuster was currently offering with seemingly more choices. I say seemingly because of what transpired after the fact.
I signed up for the SuperPass with IntelliFlix on a Monday and proceeded to fill up my queue with a variety of new and old releases, a couple of adult titles, and numerous other DVDs totalling 20 titles. I then anxiously awaited to see what DVDs would be coming my way in the next few days. There was supposed to be a moratorium of sorts for a couple of days while IntelliFlix sorted out my account before they would ship the first title but by Tuesday the first title showed up in my queue status as being ready to ship. To my actual dismay, it was one of the adult titles I selected and not one of the movies I actually wanted (please keep the snickering to a minimum).
I waited somewhat anxiously to see how long it would take to get the movie (I was more interested in the actual turnaround time at this point rather than the movie content. Again, please quash the snide remarks). The movie didn't show up until Friday and there were still no other selected titles in my queue that were being shown as ready to ship.
I checked the address on the IntelliFlix envelope and found that the DVDs were being shipped from Massachusetts. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing except for the fact that I live in Maryland over 400 miles away. The nearest NetFlix distribution center was less than 40 miles away and most DVDs were turned around in one or two days.
I ran many searches on the IntelliFlix website to try and locate titles but many of the DVDs that I had in my NetFlix queue were not even listed in the IntelliFlix database. I have never had a problem finding new releases of any DVD listed in the NetFlix inventory. I also tried running a search for upcoming releases but again turned up nothing. NetFlix has listings for movies before they're even released to the theaters and allows you to place them in a saved queue until a release date is announced.
Intelliflix has no indication as to the status of any movie in your queue whereas NetFlix at least lets you know if there's a short wait, long wait, extremely long wait, or if the title is available now. IntelliFlix does provide you the option to rent a single DVD outright at rates comparable to Bloickbuster. This makes me wonder if they don't give direct rental customers preferential treatment over their regular subscribers. It certainly makes sense for them if they can get $4.26 for each rental as opposed to $1 or less for each title. That tells me that the regular subscribers are getting shafted even worse than NetFlix members.
In retrospect, while I may be dismayed by NetFlix's business practices, they do provide a good service at a decent price, especially when you consider the convenience of renting online and the fact that most rentals average less than $1.50 each. I'm still pissed that NetFlix sucks customers in and then reneges on their original agreement by forcing a limitation on the number of titles you can rent but when compared to other online rental services, they do appear to be the best available.
I can only assume that the reviewers that rated IntelliFlix so highly must only rent obscure titles in the IntelliFlix inventory and also live within 50 miles of the nearest IntelliFlix distribution center. I, for one, was not the least bit impressed.