Netflix was established in 1997, and they offer the ability to rent DVDs online via the Internet. I initially joined Netflix in 1999. I was not satisfied with the service and canceled my membership three months later. Fast forward to 2005, and the buzz in my workplace is about Netflix. My co-workers tell me service is great and they love it, and I tell them I hated it. I waited about ten days for my first DVD, and I never received any other DVDs. I was a member for three months. I forgot I was a member because I never received any DVDs. My co-workers tell me differently and I decided to try Netflix again. After three years I am still with Netflix, and I have convinced countless co-workers to join, and now I am going to share a few of my Netflix Tips with you.
Distribution Center – Having a distribution center near your home or mailing address will determine how quickly you receive your DVDs. I live in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the Distribution Center for Hawaii uses a Honolulu PO Box. If I put my DVD in the mail on Monday, Netflix will receive the DVD on Tuesday and send out a new DVD that same day. This means I would receive my next DVD on Wednesday. That’s pretty quick if you ask me. IMPORTANT: Please pay close attention to the mailing address on the Netflix return envelope. Every once in a while a DVD may take a while for delivery (I find this true with a lot of the older movies). Check the return address! If it is not from your local distribution center, this is why delivery was delayed. Do NOT send your DVD back in that envelope. Only use envelopes that have your local distribution center address. I normally put 2 DVDs in one envelope so that I have an extra envelope with my local distribution center address to use at a later time. You only need a few extra envelopes because Netflix will always send you a return envelope.
Choose the Right Plan – I switch plans all the time, if you choose the wrong plan, you can easily switch it online. I am currently enrolled in the 3 at-a-time plan. How many DVDs can you watch in one month? If you average $2 per DVD rental, which plan would be the best deal? Let’s say you can watch 8 DVDs in a month. That’s about $16 using my $2 DVD rental average. The 3 at-a-time plan is $16.99 and the 2 at-a-time plan is $13.99. In this case, the 2 at-a-time plan is a better deal because you got $16 worth of DVD rentals for only $13.99. I would never choose the 1 at-a-time (Unlimited) for $8.99 or the 1 at-a-time (2 a month) for $4.99 because if you use my $2 average, Netflix is getting the better deal.
Getting New Releases – People always complain to me that they never can get New Releases from Netflix, yet I always get New Releases. You’ll have to test this one for yourself, but if you’re in Honolulu, and put your DVDs in the mail on Friday (Saturday and Sunday also work, but Friday works best for me). Netflix will receive your DVDs on Monday. New movies are normally released on Tuesday, but Netflix already has the DVDs ready for shipment on Monday. Netflix will send out the New Releases on Monday, and I will get them in the mail on Tuesday. When I first started using Netflix I rarely ever got any New Releases until I figured this out. I simply returned one DVD on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and one on Friday and waited to see what movie on my queue was sent as Netflix received each DVD. As long as the New Release was at the top of my queue, I would normally get the New Release delivered on Tuesday. If I missed the first shipment of a New Release, chances are I would not get the New Release for a while. I can cut down the waiting time if I miss the first shipment, by having one open delivery position, and not having anything on my queue except for the New Release. This cuts down on the amount of DVDs I rent in a month, but if I missed the first shipment of New Releases, this almost ensures that I will get the New Release on the next shipment. You could just have New Releases on your queue, but then you wouldn’t get your moneys worth.
“Throttling” or “Smoothing” – Netflix denies that they “throttle” accounts, but I personally experienced throttling. Throttling or smoothing is Netflix giving priority to people who rent less DVDs. I was on the 3 at-a-time plan and I rented a total of 24 DVDs per month. This went on for about three months and then I started receiving movies from other distribution centers on a weekly basis. Because the DVD came from another distribution center, delivery time was more than doubled. In a few instances my DVDs took 3-5 days to be delivered. Netflix even sent me the same broken DVD twice. I decided to look for answers online and found a Netflix forum. Forum members talked about “throttling”, and I wondered if this was the case for me. I started to watch less DVDs (12 a month) and my delivery schedule went back to normal. I do not think this was a coincidence.
Netflix wants to make a profit, but they don’t make a profit off of someone who rents DVDs frequently. If the amount of DVDs you rent, calculated at $2 per DVD is greater than what your monthly rate is, Netflix doesn’t make as much money; therefore, Netflix gives priority to those who rent less. If there is a limited quantity for a particular movie, this means the infrequent renter will get a higher priority and the frequent renter may not get the movie, or the movie will come from another distribution center which will cause a delay in shipping. This is a little sneaky, but if Netflix didn’t do this, new customers wouldn’t be able to get the DVDs they requested, and Netflix would most likely lose that person as a customer, and then no more Netflix.
Broken, Lost, Scratched, not Playable DVDs – Over the years I have received less than 6 broken DVDs. The majority of the broken DVDs I received were during the time when I was renting 24 DVDs a month. It has been a while since I received a broken DVD. I have received only two DVDs that were not Playable in either my home DVD player or my PC. I received only one DVD that was scratched badly enough that it would not play in my PC or my DVD player. I have personally lost only one DVD over the last three years. When sending your DVD back in the prepaid envelope, make sure there are no sticky surfaces on the outside of the envelope. I remember putting two envelopes in the mail because one was sticking to the other. Netflix only received one of the envelopes. Netflix is very good about broken, lost, scratched, or not playable DVDs. I have never been charged for any of these items.
Netflix provides a great service, and Netflix also allows you to watch some movies instantly on your PC. Your computer will need to meet the minimum system requirements, you will also need a fast Internet Connection, and only older movies have this feature. The quality is not that great using this method, but most older movies are not of good quality to begin with.