Warning.... Long Post Ahead.... Turn back now or face the consequences....
I've been a Netflix 3-out subscriber for the last 7 years, and recently purchased the Roku Netflix Player.
Their DVD service has been fantastic. There's been very few movies I couldn't find, and only one of those was available through Blockbuster online.
I've tracked my rentals since 2001 in a spreadsheet
, but unfortunately I'm at work and haven't synced it in two months, so this data comes from 481 DVDs I've rented as of the end of June and misses their recent problems.
, so this data comes from 491 DVDs.
On average I receive DVDs in 1.10 days and they are returned in
The most DVDs I've received in a single month was 20, but my mean is
5.42. ( I have no idea where I got 9.87
9 DVDs were lost or broken en route.
1 disappeared on return, was declared missing after 5 days, and then miraculously appeared at Netflix ~100 days later.
1 skipped so badly it was unplayable, but others have had skips that I endured.
I've only needed to contact support three times. Twice because I accidentally sent them a disc from my collection; they say there's no way for them to catch this and send my disc back, but both times they did return them. Once was because of a problem with my credit card. All three times things went smoothly and the CSR was nice.
The recent problems they've had which stopped all shipments for nearly a week, was unfortunate and I hope they're going to put changes in place to prevent it in the future, but I think they handled it well and the 15% credit seems fair. It's always nice when a company automatically credits you for their mistakes instead of only doing so when you complain (I'm glaring at you Comcast!
It does annoy me that their distribution centers are not open on Saturdays, so there's no reason to return a disc on Friday, but I'm sure there would be a significant price increase if they were.
I've never had trouble getting new releases; if there's something I really want coming out on Tuesday I try to ensure they receive a disc on Monday. On a couple occasions I've even received discs before they're officially available.
Their website does leave me a tad wanting. It works well, but I'd like to see more data about the titles (writers for instance) and a more comprehensive search. As it is I tend to use IMDB to browse films and then search for the title on Netflix. The normal site doesn't work well on mobile browsers, and their mobile site is too mobilized; search is restricted by film title and you can't access the Watch Instantly queue. Also, although it's gotten better, I still feel the site's load time could be improved.
So overall, I highly recommend their DVD service.
As for the Roku player and their Watch Instantly... Well the selection is disappointing. I'm sure this will improve but don't get your hopes up that you'll see many new blockbusters. It's a lot of B (or worse)-movies and a selection of TV series. It is nice though that they had some of the current NBC shows right after they first aired (like season 2 of Heroes). The quality through the website is pretty good, on the Roku player it's surprisingly similar to DVD.
The Roku is a nice box, but there are some issues that sometimes make me regret the decision and keep me from buying another.
First, Netflix is trying to get this service spread through other vendors (XBox360, LG Blu-ray players), which makes that $99 seem a bit high. If there were other content available on the box (which is a future possibility) it might be easier to swallow. I just keep hoping Netflix will be available on TiVo.
Second, you can't browse the entire selection of titles on the TV. You have to add them to your Watch Instantly queue on a computer and then you can browse the queue on the Roku. It's annoying that you're still tied to a computer for all of this.
Third, they need to use their buffer more wisely with regards to Rewind/Fast-Forward. Since it's a stream I appreciate the difficulty of this, but they need to at least allow you to easily navigate what is buffered. As it is now, you enter RW/FF mode, which stops playback and moves through single frames of the movie. When you resume it does the whole buffering thing again before playing starts. I really miss that 10-second jump back that TiVo has.
Forth, they need a broader view of the queue for quicker navigation. Currently, you browse the queue either from a line of the movie posters with a few details or in a detail view of each item that shows only one film at a time. This combined with the second point, means I add a ton of movies to my queue just so I can browse them on the Roku, and then have to navigate past things I'm not all that interested in. A nice table view with smaller or no covers would greatly help here.
That said, I'm generally happy with the box, but I think I should have waited to see what other partnerships they may reveal. Though it has been successful at reinvigorating the cheap awful horror film lover in me.
EDIT: Updated stats with more recent figures.