Yesterday I received 5 DVDs in the mail. That's because, in addition to my Netflix membership, I recently signed up for a free trial with Blockbuster. Normally that would only last two weeks, but I learned of a secret password here that extends this period to four weeks.
Besides the extra DVDs, the great thing about the Blockbuster trial is that it gives me an opportunity to finally rent the movies that Netflix has labeled "long wait" on my queue, meaning that it may be weeks before they let me have them. Blockbuster, for the most part, lets me get these same movies right away. (Netflix would too if I were a new customer.)
Another advantage is that I get to compare the two services. The first thing that impressed me about Blockbuster were the envelopes, which are more secure than Netflix's. About a third of the disks I get from Netflix are torn at the edge in a very suspicious manner. There is always just enough of an opening so that a postal worker could separate the paper and look in to see the title. I became convinced that this was actual tampering when I received an envelope with a much longer-than-usual tear. I noticed that the disk inside was upside down, meaning that the tear had to be extended to see the title. So far, I've never had a disk become lost in the mail, but it's probably just a matter of time. The Blockbuster envelopes make tampering a bit more difficult.
Where Blockbuster lost a lot of points with me was on my rental of the Battlestar Galactica miniseries. Unlike Netflix, Blockbuster lists it as spanning two DVDs. The first has the original run of four episodes on one side with special features on the other. The second disk, which counts as an additional rental on the three-out plan, has those same special features and nothing else. In other words, it's completely redundant! True, this isn't a huge tragedy for me. I've still got more DVDs out now than I know what to do with. But Netflix has never done anything quite that stupid to me.
I wonder what else awaits me on this epic four-week adventure.