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An online DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental service, offering flat rate rental-by-mail and online streaming to customers in the United States.

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  • Nov 7, 2012
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If you're the movie nut that I am, you've probably endured that scenario a million times where you'd be waiting in anticipation to see some movie you missed in the theaters but really wanted to see, made the walk over to Blockbuster Video (possibly in two and a half feet of snow because it's winter and you live in Buffalo) in anticipation of renting it, and not finding it there. In 1997, a guy named Reed Hastings had that happen once too often and decided to do something about it. He came up with a subscription service called Netflix, which is now a corporation with over 20 million subscribers.

Netflix contains over 35,000 titles. Despite having some limits on the number of DVDs it has, it still sends out over a million new DVDs a day for subscribers to watch as rentals and keep for as long as they'd like. Their film list is impressive, and Netflix has even earned stripes and kudos as an independent film licenser and distributor. That's basically the format people sign for - DVD rentals. They're very effective. They send you DVDs through the Postal Service in a day or two, and you ship them back the same way. You reserve and pick your movies in an online queue, which the employees in distribution centers then pluck from and send out whatever you want to see. If something gets lost, you just put in a word to customer service.

There is a little bit of inconvenience with these DVDs. Movies which come with multiple parts tend to come through multiple packages, and so the chances of losing one in the mail increase. So make sure your local Post Office branch is operating the way it's supposed to before you go and order the special editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Also, if you decide to order a TV series, they're only going to send you one DVD at a time for the entire series, whether you ordered the whole series or just a single season of it. That means you're going to have to potentially be gritting your teeth for days if a DVD ends with a particularly thrilling cliffhanger.

If you're lucky, a movie you're interested in might be available through streaming. This is done instantly, and if you're feeling a little overwhelmed with DVDs, it can be useful in lightening the load a wee bit. This is the place where having a good internet connection is good, because since it streams, it has to buffer. Most of the time I've had Netflix, buffering wasn't an issue, but when it is, it's an ISSUE. There are times when the machine just won't stop buffering, and on the rare occasions it does, it will only last for a few minutes until the buffer stops again, until the movie is over or you run out of patience and take a sledgehammer to your computer.

Netflix is apparently also capable of streaming directly through television, multimedia players, and video game consoles too, although I've never done any of that so I can't give an opinion on how well it works.

Netflix uses a star system to rate movies, and you do this because if you do, the site itself will provide you with recommendations in case you get stuck trying to think of something you're interested in. I love that feature because trust me, it WILL happen, no matter what your list of must-see movies looks like or how well you think you know it. Besides, it's just a hoot sometimes to look at the ridiculously specific categorized lists that come up. Spiritual Sports Movies About English History? Classic Comedies About the Future? It's a lot of fun just to try to come up with the most absurd combination of words you can, just to torture the interface.

The selection is really something. The 35,000 movies you'll have access to include a lot of classics, documentaries on just about every subject which are often straight off The Learning Channel archives, most popular television shows, and obscure anime movies most people in the country don't even know exist. You can get every episode of every Star Trek series ever, or the sole half-season of Firefly that ever existed. Old stand-up comedy specials are in abundance in the comedy category. Ken Burns documentaries in their entirety, British classic TV… You name it, Netflix is sure to have it. Except for Ishtar, the infamous Warren Beatty/Dustin Hoffman bomb, which is in my personal queue with availability "unknown." Although it does contain Panic in Needle Park, an old 1971 flick which was Al Pacino's second movie role (and first in a prominent role).

For those who like to review as well, there's a section of Netflix where you can do just that.

Netflix did recently split the prices for their stream and DVD services. Basically, Reed Hastings appears to have found a way to follow up on his Qwikster threat without actually creating Qwikster. The good news, however, is you won't be paying much to get the combined services. The prices start at $15.99 a month for both, and you're allowed to suspend your account if you need to. This is a can't miss deal if you're into movies. And these days, it's getting more and more the only way to go. Blockbuster knows it and is starting to shut down its stores, and good luck finding anything good on Redbox.

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November 12, 2012
this company really did something special that is until they tried to split up their services into 2 companies and intended to charge more. I do have to say, the delay in new releases is a little annoying but it seems to be the case with most rental services these days.
More Netflix reviews
review by . November 06, 2008
Netflix has been around forever, but I was never interested in getting a subscription.  I felt like a luddite or a cavewoman, having to go to the video stores to rent.  But serioulsy, it was just sooooo unappealing to me that I have to PLAN what to watch days ahead.  There are so many things in life that I have to PLAN ahead.  Why should I plan my video rental?  This is one of very few things left that I can do spontaneously.  So I have been going to local video stores.  …
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
This feature is SO convenient!
Quick Tip by . June 11, 2010
Netflix has an amazing variety of films, you can get things from them that are extremely hard to locate.
review by . August 05, 2009
I got started with Netflix not too long ago, enticed by Watch Instantly.  Everything was going well, but recently I had some weird experience.      I was waiting for a new DVD from my queue, but after over week of returning my last DVD nothing came through in our mail.  I finally went to the site and tried to see what was going on.  It showed that they received the last DVD a week ago, but it showed nothing has been mailed out.      I didn't …
review by . February 08, 2009
What can I say? I used to go to Blockbuster and stay in line to get my movies--there are days that I didn't even come home with the new release I droved 5 miles for to bring home. Back in 2001 or 2002, I was introduced to "Netflix" by a co-worker and I was instantly hooked.    the Pros:  -no lines, no late fees, watch the movie whenever you want  -Millions upon millions of movie selection, they have a wide range of foreign films  -hundreds of warehouses …
review by . December 01, 2009
I never thought I'd subscribe to Netflix.  I was late to use Redbox too.  For the longest time I wondered about those big red machines in my local stores.  Once I started using Redbox I loved it, except for needing to return the disks.  I ended up paying way more than a dollar a movie because I was lazy.  So I looked into Netflix.        I've been using Netflix for several months now and I don't have any complaints.  I've never had a bad disk …
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #17
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is an online DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental service, offering flat rate rental-by-mail and online streaming to customers in the United States. Established in 1997 and headquartered in Los Gatos, California, it has amassed a collection of 100,000 titles and approximately 10 million subscribers. The company has more than 55 million discs and, on average, ships 1.9 million DVDs to customers each day. Netflix previously claimed to spend about $300 million a year on postage. On February 25, 2007, Netflix announced the billionth DVD delivery. Two years later, on April 2, 2009, the company announced that it had mailed its two billionth DVD, and awarded the recipient with a complimentary lifetime membership. It topped the ForeSee Results’ Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index with an American Customer Satisfaction Index score of 86, well over the industry average of 75.
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