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By Manuel Villanueva: Last update December 31, 2007

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January 2, 2007

December 31, 2007

Long Waits In Blockbuster Queue

Available 11
Short Wait 4
Long Wait 3
Very Long Wait 7
Coming Soon 5
Total 30

It might be that Blockbuster has taken a more accurate inventory of their DVDs.  Less than half of my queue is available for shipment.  Also, some of those listed as available really aren't due to a glitch in Blockbuster's queue.  I do have many older titles in my queue which may be to blame.  The majority of those titles listed as "coming soon" are probably out of print.  If Blockbuster expects to compete with their rivals they need to stock more DVDs and correctly list available rentals.

Netflix Duplicate #3

Netflix sent out 2 copies of Armored Trooper Votoms Stage 4: vol. 2 although my queue never acknowledged the first copy.  It wasn't recorded in my history either.  Netflix sent a notice on 12/10/07 Votoms would be shipped.  Then Netflix sent another notice 2 days later stating Votoms wasn't available.  This was an error though as the rental arrived days later.  For days, my queue stated my rental would be delayed.  It didn't make sense because I already had the rental at home.  Finally, my queue indicated Votoms had been shipped and I received a 2nd copy days later.  I didn't mind except Netflix held up my queue for at least a week until I returned the 2nd copy.  I tried to explain my situation to Netflix customer service.  The jerk on the phone was condescending, didn't care, and treated me like I didn't know what the hell I was talking about.  I'd like to know why there's no record of the 1st copy in my Netflix queue or history.

December 19, 2007

Netflix Broken DVD # 31

Broken Netflix DVD # 31I picked up Karas:  The Revelation at Blockbuster today just to make sure there was something to watch tonight.  Original Dirty Pair vol. 5 arrived cracked from Netflix.  I don't have any other rentals at home so I'm glad I went to Blockbuster.

December 18, 2007

BlockBuster Wrong DVD #8

Blockbuster sent the wrong volume of Case Closed again.  I requested Ill-Fated Imposters.  Instead I was sent Wrong Answers Resolved (picture).  This mistake wasn't as bad as the first as 1) they were episodes I haven't seen before.  2) Also, these episodes are fairly independent of each other.  I don't understand how Blockbuster continues to make the same mistake as they list the correct title and DVD cover:

However, these series use many names.  First, the series are called Case Closed.  Second, the subtitle is One Truth Prevails.  Third, the seasons are labeled as cases (i.e. Case 1).  Fourth, the volumes have decimals (i.e. vol. 3.2).  Finally, episodes are also called cases.  Neither Netflix, GreenCine nor Blockbuster refer to the volumes correctly or consistently although Netflix does the best job.  Renting anime can be troublesome.

December 17, 2007

GreenCine Rentals Found

I received notice from the US Postal Service that my rentals shipped Priority Mail 2-Day Service finally arrived at GreenCine 12 days later!  I'm grateful they were found although I'm disappointed with USPS.  USPS claims First-Class mail sent from zip code 48091 to 91409 takes 3 days:  I've often experienced delivery taking longer than 3 days.  Nevertheless, how did USPS turn 2-Day Priority Mail into a 12 day saga?  USPS informed me there is no refund for Priority Mail.  They don't "guarantee" delivery dates.

Label Number: 0413 8193 3050 3605 5855

Service Type: Delivery Confirmation

Shipment Activity        Location                               Date & Time
Delivered                VAN NUYS CA 91409                      12/17/07  6:26am

Acceptance               WARREN MI 48090                        12/05/07  7:45am

December 15, 2007

My GreenCine Account Suspended!

I don't blame them for being suspicious although it's not my fault.  GreenCine has unofficially suspended my account after reporting the 10th missing rental since October of last year.  Delivery confirmation indicates the rentals disappeared at my local post office.  I have no idea when my GreenCine service will resume.

Update 12/18/07:    GreenCine e-mailed last Sunday they would send out more DVDs.

December 13, 2007

Wrong Blockbuster DVD # 7 (bookmark)

First it was missing DVDs.  Now, Blockbuster sends me the wrong volume of Case Closed.  I requested Ill-Fated Imposters.  Instead, I was sent, Secret Life of Jimmy Kudo--I don't even think that's part of the same series.  This has not been a very good week.

December 12, 2007

GreenCine Missing DVD #8, 9, 10

I would say missing DVD rentals are more annoying than broken rentals.  At least you know what happened when rentals arrive broken in mail.  Missing rentals never arrive so you have no indication what happened.  You treat missing rentals as being late which holds up the online rental process:  Netflix and their competitors won't send another rental until they receive a rental.  I've had so many problems with missing GreenCine rentals that I began my own investigation.  I've been tracking my GreenCine rentals with Delivery Confirmation and discovered they never made it out of my local post office (Warren, MI).

I ask myself, "is renting online really worth it?"

Update 12/14/007:  I've already reported my DVDs stolen to the Postal Inspector however I called my local post office to complain.  A manager told me the most he could do was refund my 65 cents I paid for delivery confirmation.  Also, another employee told me it might have been delivered first class mail instead of priority mail because I dropped it in a regular mail box outside.  The manager disagreed.

December 10, 2007

Blockbuster Friends & Family

  1. Do you use Blockbuster Online?

  2. Do you watch anime?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then add me to your Blockbuster Friends & Family.  No one I know likes anime.

Netflix: Improves Title Information

Series Details

I recently noticed Netflix has improved their title information for series volumes (i.e. episode listing) although they're still missing the DVD artwork.  Subscribers can view this information by clicking "See Series Details."  This is a much needed improvement for subscribers unsure of which volume to rent.

December 8, 2007

Throttling Jams Mail Sorters

What the news hasn't mentioned is Netflix encourages certain practices that jam mail sorting equipment.  Netflix saves money on postage if subscribers place 2 DVDs in a return envelope instead of one.  I used to relabel out of state Netflix return envelopes but gave up that practice as it was time consuming.  Instead I create extra local Netflix return envelopes by returning 2 DVDs in each envelope.  I then return my out of state rentals in the extra local Netflix return envelopes.  Mail sorting machines are more likely to jam sorting Netflix envelopes containing 2 DVDS.

December 5, 2007

Blockbuster History New Feature

Maybe this was done long before.  I just noticed Blockbuster Online lets you sort your rental history alphabetically by title or by date.

December 4, 2007

November Stats

Netflix throttling is alive and well.  Throttling regular customers is the only way Netflix can win their price war with Blockbuster.  For the first time, GreenCine Delivered more rentals than Netflix.

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Cost/Rental* Rentals/
Netflix $18.01 11 0 11@ $1.64 ea 2.5
Blockbuster $19.07 12 0 12@ $1.59 ea 2.8
GreenCine $21.95* 13 0 13@ $1.69 ea 3.0
Total $59.03 36 0 36@ $1.64 ea 8.3

Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.  GreenCine returns supplemented with 2-Day Priority Mail Service which significantly adds to cost ($5.25/return).  Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during November 2007.  Specific rental problems listed here

Blockbuster Missing Rentals #2,3 (Addendum)

I recorded 2 missing rentals last October but didn't mention them here.

November 26, 2007

Netflix Becomes My Anime Workhorse

It didn't happen overnight.  Netflix continues to improve its service.  Blockbuster's rate of improvement has been disappointing while GreenCine surrenders the lead.  A recent incident made it clear Netflix has the best anime selection and availability (of the three).  I started renting Gatchaman from Blockbuster Online.  Blockbuster sent volumes 1-6 without any problem.  Although Gatchaman vol. 7 was listed as "Available" in my Blockbuster queue, it remained idle for weeks while other titles were shipped instead.  Blockbuster inaccurately reports "Available" titles due to a technical glitch yet to be resolved.  If Gatchaman isn't available at Blockbuster I can try GreenCine or Netflix.  GreenCine doesn't have ADV's Gatchaman Collector's Edition.  I rented Gatchaman vol. 7 from Netflix.  It arrived and I mistakenly returned it without watching it!

I may have only given one incident yet this a growing trend in my rental experience.  I try to watch no more than 3 anime serials at a time from each service--anymore and it becomes confusing.  Here's an analogy: reading 3 trilogies every week vs. reading 30 trilogies every week.  Blockbuster's availability glitch has me watching new serials before I have a chance to finish what I've started.  I end up rearranging my Netflix and GreenCine queue to fix Blockbuster's problem.

GreenCine is very reliable with their availability.  GreenCine's problem is they are not maintaining their anime selection.  I find myself looking for titles at Blockbuster and Netflix.  Here I go again readjusting my queues.  More often than not, Netflix is the service doing the most queue accommodation.

November 22, 2007

Blockbuster Online In-store Returns

I haven't been in a Blockbuster for a while.  I noticed when I returned an online rental at the store my queue made note of it: "Received at store."  The change took place quickly.  I rented Tekkonkinkreet for free in exchange for the online rental I returned.

November 21, 2007 (bookmark)

Free Anime Online

Anime Network The Anime News Network (ANN) reports ADV's Anime Network is streaming anime episodes from it's Web site.  No subscription is required.  Player runs on Adobe Flash.  Commercials appear during video but if your an anime fan you'll be treated to ads for upcoming releases.

ANN has a list of titles offered as well as other services that provide free anime.

BlockBuster Widgets

Blockbuster Online has added a few extras to include in your Web site with various options.  I wouldn't mind incorporating this feature on my page except I would rather have a horizontal design to fit my layout.

November 16, 2007

Netflix Watch Now: Still Not Interested

Most anime DVDs offer English dubbed and Japanese subtitled versions.  Diehard anime fans prefer the original version which Netflix doesn't offer.   Connoisseurs of anime know the acting is much better in the Japanese versions.  Listen to the English and Japanese versions of Naruto the Movie (2004) then decide which is better.

Top 10 Why Netflix Watch Now Sucks

  1. 50" HDTV vs. tiny pc screen
  2. 5.1 home theater vs. tiny pc speakers
  3. DVD quality vs. pixilated blur
  4. living room sofa vs. office chair
  5. Netflix "Viewer" = spyware
  6. No Mac support
  7. No omake/bonus episodes or extras
  8. Not dial-up friendly
  9. seiyuu do it better ;-)
  10. fansubs

If Watch Now had subtitled anime I wouldn't make use of it unless absolutely necessary.  Most people buy 50" HDTVs so they can watch football.  I bought mine so I could read subtitles.  Subtitles look crappy on streaming video-- Even when shown using the proportions of my 50" tv:


Subtitles are pixel perfect on my plasma. 

Related post: 

Netflix "Watch Now" Anime? Don't Even Bother!

November 14, 2007

Box Sets: Online Rental Nightmare!

Anyone who has ever purchased a box set knows box sets were never intended for rental. Many DVDs in box sets have few details to discern one from the other. You can imagine the problems services like Netflix encounter labeling box sets for rental. Receiving the wrong volume can occur when renting box set DVDs. For instance, the previous customer may have rented all the volumes in a box set then returned them in the wrong sleeve. I've also made mistakes by ordering wrong DVDs in a box set.

Box Set DVD Examples
Ranma 1/2: Random Rhapsody - TV Season 6 (Disc 4 of 5)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Vol. 05 [Special Edition] - Disc 1
Dan Doh!!: The Super Shot!, Vol. 2 - Back Nine - Disc 2

Blockbuster Online's listing of Dan Doh! Volume 2 doesn't indicate disc 1:

Blockbuster Online: Dan Doh!!

I have Dragon Ball: Piccolo Jr. Saga: Part 1, Disc 1 sitting at home unwatched because I forgot to rent Dragon Ball: King Piccolo Saga: Part 2, Disc 2. Confused? Trust me. The latter takes place before the former. Last month I made the mistake of requesting City Hunter: Season 1, Collection 2, Disc 2 when I had just rented it. Blockbuster's rental history provided little help as it only listed each rental "City Hunter TV [Anime Series]." Fortunately, I kept the email from Blockbuster listing the volume and disc number of this particular rental.  These situations illustrate how useful rental spreadsheets can be.

November 13, 2007

Creating Rental History Spreadsheets

Why?  Spreadsheets help you keep track of anime series especially if you've been renting over many years.  Years ago, Netflix histories made excellent spreadsheets:  all it took was a copy-and-paste.  GreenCine, Blockbuster, and Netflix histories are all online with HTML formatting which creates problems with spreadsheet software.  All 3 services include links for each title rented.  The links are nice to include so others can see what you rent.  Blockbuster's histories have become so complicated with JavaScript that I've given up trying to use their links:

How Blockbuster Creates A Link
<span class="title">
<a onmouseover="if(DndUtil.windowLoaded){
dndBBMgr.registerDraggable( new MovieDraggable(this) );
" title="City Hunter TV [Anime Series]" 
City Hunter TV [Anime Series]

Also, these links are nested in multiple anchor tags (not shown) with catalog references making them even harder to single out.  GreenCine and Netflix also have problems:

Service Spreadsheet Formatting Problem Solution
Blockbuster &nbsp; Find & Replace Function
GreenCine bgColor="white"
Netflix <td class="brdr" colSpan="7" height="2"></td>

GreenCine uses a background color tag producing an unusual appearance on the spreadsheet.  Blockbuster includes space tags in dates making them impossible to format (i.e. 8/7/2007 to 08/07/07).  Netflix makes use of superfluous table rows which end up in your spread sheet.  Wouldn't it be nice if on-line DVD delivery services provided their customers spread sheets?

My Rental Histories

November 9, 2007

The Cost of Criticizing Netflix (bookmark

Since I started my journal 4 years ago, I’ve received much praise for exposing deceitful Netflix company practice before it became public. Many of us knew something was wrong even though Netflix denied the problem. Not once has Netflix contacted me regarding my complaints even after the Associated Press publicized them. Netflix may ignore me overtly yet they harass me on a daily basis through email or my Web site. I'm not a businessman yet I think satisfying a customer makes more sense than harassing them. It would cost Netflix little in the sense of time and resources to compensate customers for service issues. Crediting my account isn't even necessary. Providing a few extra rentals or timely service would be sufficient.

I wonder how much money Netflix spends harassing me? It has to be costly paying SEO consultants to bury my site. Paying hackers to cripple my site can't be cheap. Having someone email me daily with asinine questions can't be cheap either. I estimate Netflix spends over $1,000 per month harassing me. It doesn't make sense—providing good customer service costs nothing yet Netflix would rather spend thousands of dollars harassing one customer.

For those interested in blogging complaints about Netflix I'll give this warning. Netflix is apparently vindictive to an extreme. I would not feel safe doing so if I had small children. Who knows what might happen. (My children are grown and live elsewhere.) If Netflix’s goal is silence through intimidation with terrorist tactics, think again. I live and work in metro Detroit; an area where violence is a way of life. Netflix failed to consider harassment provides motivation to complain even more.  The harassment itself is an indicator of my effect on Netflix that’s measurable. Plus, I can’t help laughing at the time and money Netflix wastes harassing one of their own customers. 

November 2, 2007

October Stats

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Cost/Rental* Rentals/
Netflix $18.01 19 1 18@ $1.00 ea 4.1
Blockbuster $19.07 14 0 14@ $1.36 ea 3.2
GreenCine $21.95 9 0 9@ $2.44 ea 2.1
Total $59.03 42 1 41@ $1.44 ea 9.4

Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.  Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during September 2007.  Specific rental problems listed here

Shipping by Priority Mail

You cannot mail business reply mail (Netflix DVDs) by priority mail.  Actually, I have however it's not the accepted practice.   Both GreenCine and Blockbuster envelopes fit perfectly in 6 x 9 inch envelopes yet Netflix envelopes won't.  You'll have to go one size up.  Actually, you could just mail the DVD in its sleeve without the business reply envelope.  Netflix, GreenCine,  etcetera, can track your account by the barcode on the DVD sleeve.

October 15, 2007

Broken Netflix DVD #30

Broken Netflix DVD # 30

Overall, I've noticed a decrease in the amount of broken discs from both Netflix and Blockbuster.  Dragon Ball: King Piccolo Saga part 1 disc 1 arrived broken last Friday.  Can anyone imagine checking their mail box 30 times only to find a broken Netflix DVD?  When you're a Netflix customer you just get used to this type of thing.  You realize that's one less DVD you get to watch.  Netflix says, "just return your broken rental and we'll send you a replacement right away."  Guess what?  Netflix would have sent you another rental anyways.  So you, the consumer, haven't gained a thing while Netflix makes money over your loss

11/22/07 Update:

It took Netflix an entire week to deliver my replacement.  Nothing new.

Throttled Members Receive More Broken Rentals

Netflix frequently throttles members by shipping rentals from across country.  It stands to reason, your rental has a greater chance of becoming lost or broken the longer it remains in the postal system.  Broken Netflix DVD # 30 was a throttled rental arriving from East coast New Jersey 600 miles away.  Netflix throttled this rental the maximum days possible (3 days or 6 days round trip).

October 10, 2007


Attention Netflix employees and those with vested interest in Netflix:  You are more than welcome to visit this site and email me with your comments.  However, do not harass U.S. servicemen or veterans using this Web site:  It demonstrates poor taste.  My opinion of Netflix has nothing to do with the military.  I hope you realize this.

Manuel Villanueva

October 4, 2007

New Netflix Search Crashes Browser

I cannot use Netflix's site anymore since they updated their Web site.  Last night I tried search for "dragon ball" and nothing happened.  I have trouble clicking on any of the links.  None of the links seem to work now.  My firewall warns me Netflix is running scripts except I'm not blocking anything specifically from Netflix's Web site.  It might be Netflix is running those scripts from another site.  In the screen capture below I try to search for "urusei yatsura" causing my PC to stall and display a list of security threats.

Search function crashes Netflix

Blockbuster Online and GreenCine continue to work without any problems.  The new auto complete search sounds like a great idea but I'm not disabling my firewall and putting my PC at risk for Netflix.  I'm calling customer support to add DVDs to my queue.

10/05/07 Update

If you have problems with Netflix search try this.  Google the movie's name adding " " in the search.  For example "saikano " From the search results, copy the URL of the movie you want.  If the URL contains a question mark, trim the question mark and everything following it off (i.e. ?trkid=174831).  Paste the URL into your browser's address bar.  Example:

This should allow you to search for movies without disabling your firewall.

11/02/07 Update

It appears Netflix has fixed their search feature to work properly with a firewall.

September Stats

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Cost/Rental* Rentals/
Netflix $18.01 13 0 13@ $1.39 ea 3.0
Blockbuster $19.07 12 0 12@ $1.59 ea 2.8
GreenCine $21.95 9 0 9@ $2.44 ea 2.1
Total $59.03 34 0 34@ $1.74 ea 7.9

Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.  Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during September 2007.  Specific rental problems listed here

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©2006 m. villanueva

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