Blockbuster Online Movie Rentals

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm
By Shane Rivers

Blockbuster Online offers more than 90,000 DVD titles to those wishing to use the services of the largest movie rental chain in the United States. By choosing from one of the various Blockbuster Online plans, customers can receive movies through the mail, exchange movies in-store, receive discounts on video game rentals, and much more (with no due dates or late fees). Shipping is free for online movie rentals, and most films will arrive within one to two business days. Blu-ray rentals and HD DVDs are also available at no extra charge, and many movies can be downloaded and watched online with the Blockbuster Movielink Manager.

Blockbuster Online Subscription Plans

There are three types of Blockbuster Online subscription plans: Blockbuster Total Access, Blockbuster Total Access Premium, and Blockbuster by Mail. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these movie rental plans.

Blockbuster By Mail – Much like the Netflix service, Blockbuster By Mail allows you to receive and return movie rentals through the mail. This works perfectly for people without a Blockbuster in their area. You can, however, take a movie you received through the mail and return it at a Blockbuster store. If you do this, you can get an in-store rental for only $1.99. The following pricing plans apply:

Blockbuster Total Access – With this plan, you can receive movies by mail, but you may also exchange them at a Blockbuster store for free movie rentals and discounted game rentals (up to the plan’s monthly limit). The following pricing plans apply for Blockbuster Total Access:

NOTE: Once you’ve met your exchange limit on the Total Access plan, you can exchange online rentals for in-store movies at the cost of $1.99. The same applies to in-store video games, although the cost is $4.99.

Blockbuster Total Access Premium – This plan is much like the Total Access option, except that the customer gets unlimited free in-store exchanges for online movie rentals.

Blockbuster Movies Online

When searching for movies online, you’ll be thrilled to know that Blockbuster has an immense selection to choose from (well over 90,000 films). Just check out their list of Blockbuster Online movie categories:

Each of these movie rental categories are also broken up into a number of sub-categories. For example, the Horror category is divided into “Alien Invasion,” “Ghosts & Haunts,” “Gothic Horror,” “Horror Comedy,” “Monsters,” “Nature Gone Wild,” “Occult,” “Sci-Fi Horror,” “Psychos & Slashers,” and “Supernatural Thriller.”

The “Featured List” section also highlights special movie genres and themes. A few of these include “Top 100 Rentals,” “AFI Top Movies,” and “1001 Movies You Must See.” And for those of you looking to increase your Blu-ray collection, a section exists labeled “Blu-ray Disc.” For subscribers with Blu-ray players, this area is highly recommended.

You can also share movie preferences with friends and family, rate movies, and make lists of your favorite films. After you’ve rated 20 movies, Blockbuster Online will start providing recommendations on other films you might be interested in.

Watch Movies Online

In addition to renting movies and having them sent to your home, Blockbuster customers can also choose to watch movies online. This is done by utilizing Blockbuster Movielink Manager, a free utility which allows users to both download and watch movies. This is a very handy and compact utility (under 300kb), allowing automatic resumption of any interrupted movie downloads, and most movies are available for viewing within two to ten minutes after downloading begins.

It should be noted that while some are free movie downloads, others incur a fee. Renting a movie download will allow you to view it for a 24-hour period. Some of these rentals are less than $2.99, while others may be as high as $3.99. In some cases, you’ll also have the option of paying an additional fee to keep it for another 24-hour period (this is useful if you didn’t get around to watching it the first time).

If you really like the movie, you might also consider buying it. For a higher price, you can choose to “download to buy.” Once you’ve downloaded the movie, it’s yours to keep on your computer as long as you want.

To use the Blockbuster Movielink Manager, your computer will need to meet the following system requirements (iPod and PSP devices are not supported):

Blockbuster Online Video Game Rentals

A frequently asked question concerns the availability of Blockbuster Online video game rentals. While Blockbuster Online doesn’t currently offer online video game rentals, the company hopes to offer them in the near future to Total Access subscribers. When this plan is enacted, it will apply to Nintendo Wii online games rentals, PS2 online game rentals, PS3 online game rentals, Xbox online game rentals and Xbox 360 online game rentals.

While video game rentals online aren’t currently available, Blockbuster Online customers can purchase new and used video games via the Internet. Just click the “Games” tab on the Blockbuster site to view all the available gaming options.

Total Access subscribers can also take advantage of Blockbuster’s $4.99 Game Exchange program. When you finish one of your movies received through the mail, return it to a Blockbuster store and receive a video game rental at the discounted price of $4.99 (plus tax).

Contact Blockbuster

If you experience any problems while using Blockbuster Online, you can contact a customer care associate. This can be done by calling 1-866-692-2789 between the hours of 8am and 8pm, Monday through Friday. After hours, an automated service will still allow customers to check their account status and recent DVD or Blu-ray rentals.

Pros and Cons of Blockbuster Online

In closing, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Blockbuster online. Hopefully, this will help you decide whether to use this online movie rental service or choose another option such as Netflix or Redbox.

Pros of Blockbuster Online

Cons of Blockbuster Online