When I first heard that BlockBuster had an Android app for the Motorola Droid X during the Verizon Wireless press conference, I was excited. Sadly, after taking it for a test run, I found that it is one failure stacked on top of another. While Netflix is scoring big with a mobile Apps for the iPhone 4, iPad, and another one due for Windows Phone 7 later this year, Blockbuster is trying to catch up. However, they’ve made just about every mistake possible. I wouldn’t even be writing this piece if I weren’t so frustrated with these issues.
Starting on the topic of HDMI, with Motorola touting it as one of the key features, customers would expect the ability to output HD-like Blockbuster to a HDTV set. Unfortunately, HDMI output is restricted due to copyright protection. Ironically, an illegally downloaded TV show or movie will play just fine. And as a side comment, I don’t encourage illegally downloading movies or music, but the restrictions imposed on legal content is just disappointing. Considering that the Blockbuster App comes pre-installed and that Motorola even offers an optional HDMI dock accessory, the entire situation is just ridiculous. I should also note that the packaging doesn’t include a micro HDMI cable.
Forget HDTVs, how about watching Blockbuster movies on the phone? That works great, right? Unfortunately, this is a disaster too. It turns out that the Blockbuster by Mail subscription plans are entirely independent from Blockbuster On Demand. Paying for one won’t offer access to the other. Meanwhile, Netflix offers free instant streaming to computers, TVs, gaming consoles, and mobile phones with a standard rental-by-mail subscription. Sadly, Blockbuster’s pricing is hefty too, movies go for $3.99 for a 24 hour rental and purchases cost up to $17.99. For the average person, that’s just a bit too much to pay for watching a movie on a 4.3 inch screen. When Redbox costs just a buck, there’s no reason to deal with this.
Even if you were okay with the expensive rates, the experience is still problematic. And if you thought Blockbuster for Android was a streaming technology like Netflix or YouTube, you are wrong. On Demand is rather along the lines of iTunes Movies or Amazon Unbox, which means downloading large movie files. And that’s a problem, since downloads take forever. Verizon doesn’t allow 3G downloads either, users will need to stick around a WiFi network until a download completes. Even with a fast internet connection, downloading a movie took about two hours. The app can conveniently run in the background, but it kills battery life quickly.
For those looking to get media onto their phone, with 8GB of internal storage and a bundled 16GB microSD card, there’s plenty of space for storing content. And if that’s not enough, using DLNA with a Windows 7 machine on a home network is probably the next best experience. It allows streaming music, movies, and photos to and from computers, HDTVs, gaming consoles, and even other DLNA enabled smartphones.
While Blockbuster deserves some credit for bringing 125,000 movies to the Droid X and even offering an option to queue movies for Blockbuster by Mail customers, the overall experience is nothing more than a complete failure. The mere list of issues go on and on: no HDMI output, expensive prices, no streaming, slow downloads, and WiFi restrictions. With the entire service being a nuisance, I decided to uninstall this application, but it turns out that isn’t possible either. The entire application is nothing more than bloatware for the average users. I’m looking forward to when Netflix brings an App to the Android Marketplace, hopefully they won’t make the same mistakes.
Links: Motorola Droid X (Review) | Blockbuster.com
It Took me ten minutes to download Hot tub time machine, and it looked awesome!
Talked with a Verizon rep at the mall on Saturday and they state the HDMI output does work and would give me a refund if I had any trouble. Haven’t tied it yet. Download was 23 minutes but I watched on phone during my train ride.
The Blockbuster app won’t support HDMI; at least not yet. The issue isn’t the app or phone; Blockbuster needs to obtain rights for TV out from the studios first.
It’s not just blockbuster, the only thing you can send out through the HDMI out is YOUR photo album or YOUR video album… Granted you can download a ripped video onto your phone’s SD Card and watch it that way, but then wouldn’t you just watch it from your computer your transferring from?…. Personally the entire phone was a giant letdown…
Ridiculous review. Obviously one sided… Had no problems downloading movies quickly… Maybe he’s on dialup…
this is not working at all. i have comcast for 12 megabytes and a new wifi too. the download stops everytime. stupid. i hope i didnt get charge 4 bucks for retnals. and i read the FAQ it says no HDMI in their
Why would anyone pay such high fees for a movie? Netflix is $9/month and I get as much on my iPad as I want. Even iTunes is cheaper, movies are just $15 to buy in HD. Who would pay this much for a Droid-only copy of a film? Do you get a second download for a computer?
mitch, in reponse to your points:
NFLX is $9 a month, but streaming is old movies and still a limited selection. And, how many old titles do you have to watch to justify a $9/m fee? For lighter users, and those who want new releases, an a la carte pricing plan from BBI works better.
The movie is not Droid only. When you order on the Droid, you can also watch on any other BBI enabled device (soon to be in the hundreds). So you can continue watching on your HDTV, if it is connected to the internet like many of the new ones are. BBI’s app is supposed to even save your position if you stop on your phone and then go watch on TV.
hmm, good point. I guess it’s not a big deal if you only use get a rental just once a month. That’s only $4. But if you get two, I’d say Netflix for sure since it’s around the same price.
Does Netflix have less movies than Blockbuster? I could be wrong, but I thought Netflix had WAY more. (I don’t pay for either at the momment.)
What other devices are Blockbuster compatible? For Netflix it’s Samsung TV, Blu-ray players, PS3, Xbox, Wii, iPhone, iPad, etc. I have yet to see a “Blockbuster enabled” device. I googled it and found some HTC HD phone that also has it, but that was it.
P.S. I’m debating between Hulu Plus and Netflix, but thinking I’ll use Netflix during summer when there’s no TV shows and Hulu Plus during the rest of the year. I’ll just “suspend” my subscription for one or the other at those times. I hate cable and satellite, too expensive and too much crap.
If you buy the movie you can play it on any device you want, the rental is limited to one display.
How much did Apple or netflix paid you to write this horrible review? two hours to download a movie? sounds like BS to me or you still on dial up. Stay watching old movies from netflix my friend.
Ok guys Blockbuster has new releases available 28 days before Netlflix and Redbox. You can get this instore, ondemand by mail like Netflix.
The whole offering is integrated such that you can get a movie by email then take it to a store for an exchange etc.
Blockbuster is a better experience and better value than Netflix, I just wish they would introduce a streaming service.
Go to http://www.blockbuster.com and check it out.
BTW I am not affiliated in anyway with Blockbuster
Thanks for the information. I should have definitely noted that Blockbuster gets movies 28 days earlier. I guess that I was just a bit harsh since I was having issues simply getting a movie to play. I also noticed that there’s an update for the Blockbuster App, I’ll give that a shot sometime and add a note to the end of this review.
You ARE kidding right? Overly expensive new releases, titles considered “new” when they were over two years old thus requiring new release fees, much lower overall selection, over a decade of mysterious late fees, Blockbuster has always been a horrible company than ran roughshod over its customers. Why do you think Netflix and redbox grew so fast? Blockbuster had an almost total monopoly and they took advantage of it just like the current cable companies are doing. There are very few people in the US, other than message board trolls, who would say blockbuster is in any way better than Netflix. I am just hoping that Blockbusters next bankruptcy is its last and the company earns its rightful place in the heap of failed business who dug their own graves through shady business practices.
Blockbuster is a great company, they were pioneers and pioneers don’t always get things right the first time. Blockbuster is a much better company now and a better offering than Netflix or Redbox. I just wish they would provide a streaming service soon.
As for late fees, that is how Netflix makes a lot of its money. When you don’t return that CD on time that is the sound of extra money in Netflix’s pocket.
Having just Netflix leading the market won’t be good for anyone. However if Blockbuster remains a strong competition, it will push both to improve their products and services. And that’s a win for customers.
But with that said, both have some pros and cons. I’m sure customers have both bad and good things to say about each.
@The Dude: Late fees on Netflix? What planet do you live on? There is no “late fee”, no “on time”, and no “extra money” on a fixed-cost Netflix plan, same deal as Blockbuster’s By Mail plan.
I just downloaded a movie on my Droid X and it took LESS than five minutes. This writer is obviously a Iphone fanboy. I will continue to use the Blockbuster app if they continue to get new movies on a regular basis.
netflix has never charged a late fee. i pay $14.00 a month and they arrive in the mail two at a time. i watch them whenever i want and theres never a late fee. never has been. plus i stream movies all the time through my xbox and bluray and pc. i dont even pay for postage either way. turn around time from when i put the movie in the mail is 3 days so in doing the math on a 30 day month thats 20 movies i can receive per month plus all the unlimited streaming i want for under $15.00 per month versus 20 movies from block buster at $3.99 per movie equals $79.80. how is that a better deal?
Ahahahahahahahah dude it’s $8.99/ a month.
Thanks for this review. I was starting to feel a little jealous having only a Droid (no X), but after reading about the HDMI restrictions and the over priced on demand fees I suddenly don’t feel so left out. I too just hope Netflix brings out an andriod app.
Hopefully Blockbuster won’t go bankrupt. All the Blockbusters I know of around my house are closing in southern California.
It all seems weird. Blockbuster has several kiosks within 4 miles of my home(and more if I want to travel a little farther), DVD rentals are just $1. I see at least 2 everyday. Why would they charge so much for a download and so little for a DVD rental? Redbox has them all over as well. At any given moment I have access to 8+ DVD rental kiosks, a Walmart, Kmart, etc. where I can rent or buy a movie. On top of that I have a Netflix account too. It just seems pointless to spend that much money on a movie to watch on your phone or go through the trouble of doing all this to get on your phone so you can watch it via HDMI on your tv. I’m sure most of us have a DVD or Bluray player.
This is shit article, Blockbuster has amazing service. I go to their store all the time. The people are trained and help you choose movie too. Does netflix do that? nope. They don’t even have stores. you can’t see movies before you get them. Netflix is greedy.
if they weren’t why cant you buy or rent just one movie? whoever is paying for this is wasting anyones time
One flat fee, no late fees. Let me tell you about greedy, aside from the online service, Blockbuster will rob you with late fees. I can’t say it any better than Paul R says above so go back and read his comment. I’m not sure how blockbuster is anymore but I dropped them a long time ago. I don’t understand when you say you can’t see movies before you see them. When looking through netflix you can see a movie description, ratings according to other viewers, comments on the movie from other viewers, as well as a trailer for some movies. I don’t know of a blockbuster that shows trailers for their movies but that would be a great idea. Not to mention all Blockbuster stores have moved out of my area and left kiosks behind. The kiosks are great by the way.
A men to that dude. Netflix is good through the new xbox 360 but so fucking retarded. Blockbuster…..never had any issues and I got to Their store all the time no issues ever. My new droid x is coming in the mail august 9th so I will test out the blockbuster app see how it is. And I don’t have to worry about how cheap or expensive the movies are. So enjoy arguing over pointless shit. Netflix and blockbuster are both good bit have their pros and cons boohoo get over it.
@Dan, both the droid and droid x are awesome phones. I probably wouldn’t upgrade just yet if you have the original. The droid 2 is going to roll out anytime now.
@Kat, Same issue here, I’ve seen the ones in Saratoga, CA and Davis, CA close down. I really think it’s all about by-mail rentals and streaming. It’s something they need to get going quickly.
@William, I’ve seen one of those units somewhere, but not in a while. I’ll need to check my area for those units. That might get me interested again. Redbox simply rocks for now with free codes through mobile apps too!
@York, I have no clue what you are talking about…
@ Sahas. It is possible to view blockbuster vids on HDMI. Shoot me an email and I wil explain it to you. Fairly easy to do.
i’m a bit confused as to exactly what cable i need to purchase in order to watch a blockbuster on-demand movie, ON MY TV, using the blockbuster app on my droid x phone. i keep reading “you can’t use HDMI cable for viewing”…does that pertain to watching them on the phone, or on the TV? Any ideas on what specific cable(s) i need to: #1 – hook to droid x & tv and watch movie on tv? thanks!
any idea which specific cable i need to hook to my droid x and to my tv, so i can watch a blockbuster on-demand movie ON my TV? This guy who wrote the article makes this quite unclear (at least to me)…is it simply an HDMI cable? There are so many comments here about “not being able to watch moves in HD” i’m not sure i’m following. Is it safe to assume that i would basically be streaming a movie thru my droid blockbuster app, thru my home wifi connect, and it will play on my tv? thanks for any help you can provide.
I don’t know what jason is referring to. Blockbuster had acknowledged the limitation themselves. If jason is suggesting a hack for a rooted device, it might be a possibility.
Melissa, I apple if my article wasn’t clear. You can download a movie on your Droid X with the pre-installed app and enjoy watching it on the 4.3 inch screen. Its that simple, don’t evaluate what I said any further.
However if you want to watch a movie on a HDTV using the phone as the source. There are two things you need to know. If the movie came from the Blockbuster app, it will not play on your HDTV. But lets say it its a video that you recorded on the camera our copied to your phone from your computer, it will work.
The cable you need to make the latter work is a micro HDMI cable.
I purchased a movie but cannot watch it, when the wifi is on, it tells me no service provider found, when i turn it off it finds the service provider but i cannot watch the movie…..what am i doing wrong?
I’m so confused reading all this. Just got the x. If blockbuster is so bad do I actually have the capability to use.netflix? What do i need to watch movies on tv other than the hdmi cord?
Blockbuster isn’t a “bad app.” It could however use some improvements. Pricing could be more affordable and (from my experience, which doesn’t apply to everyone) downloads could be faster. A HDMI cord costs just a few bucks from MonoPrice.com, but it will only work for videos you transfer onto the phone.
A Netflix app isn’t available just yet, but it’s bound to find it’s way onto Android devices anytime now. Netflix has been working on one for sometime now.
Sahas- so i candownload movies from BB on my phone and then watch them on tv correct? Any specific device I need to do so?
Sorry if I wasn’t clear before. If you download a BlockBuster movie from pre-installed app onto your Droid X, you can’t watch it on a TV. Even if you buy a HDMI cable, the downloaded movie won’t play due to copyright restrictions.
However, if you also own another Blockbuster On Demand enabled box, you won’t have to pay twice to watch the movie in two locations. You can access the same purchase and watch it through your TV there without having to pay for it twice.
I too am very disappointed in my Droid X regarding the Blockbuster application. I went from a BB Storm 1 to this device greatly because I was led to believe I would be able to download and watch movies on this device, or via this device on my tv (via HDMI) . So far I have rented 4 movies, downloaded 3, (each one took over an hour!) and only been allowed to watch one! I seriously hope that this flaw is fixed, that the much talked about and promised version of Flash player arrives soon and lives up to the hype and that someone figures out a way and/or develops an app to stream, download and/or watch movies/tv shows without having.to have wifi. Currently I only have my phone as my only source of being connected to the internet. Was also falsely informed by Verizon that if I subscibed to their mobile hot spot feature I would be able to use this to download movies from Blockbuster on my Droid X when I couldn’t otherwise get a wifi signal. This of course turned to be false as well.
@ GL 2814
So you rented 4 movies and downloaded 3? Are you kidding? How is that even possible. Every movie you rent you have to download. And you can watch every rented movie. I had never a problem with that and there is no problem since the app is based on the VOD of Blockbuster.
So please stop posting lies.
I work for Verizon and am chatting with Blockbuster Tech right now. My Date Nite is just fail after fail. Does not go past 16%. Tech has no clue what is going on. Second, HDMI is only 720p and plays video recorded only by the phone–>TV, and not Blockbuster app movies. If you want to watch the movie on your TV, you have to use a blueray/gaming system subscription and or purchase for 17.99 and have the digital e-mailed to your PC then burn or connect to TV.
I’ve never been ablet to connect my DroidX to computer or TV, nor of course have I connected to Blockbuster. It takes me in a perpetual loop when trying to connect to computer or TV. I switched from Droid-one to DroidX, and am thinking about upgrading to my old Droid1. Maybe it’s a seperate blog, but I don’t like that in the Facebook ap it synchs every contact I have on Facebook with my phone list. Used to be I could sync only what’s on my phone list rather than every Facebook friend being inserted on my list.
Man this review has me anchies to get my droid x today. I know I don’t have the money for a hdmi cord today but I hope I can just watch movies on my phone, after all that is y I picked the droid x over the droid 2. R there any free websites I can download movies onto my phone. Wen I gt it?
I am done trying to work with a very poor blockbuster app on a droid x. I have paid for 2 movies that i did not get to watch because of an “invalid licence”. They never produced the promotions they promised at signup and have yet to reply or even acknowledge my email asking for resolution. No wonder theses guys are in bankruptcy. Amazon or netflix, please give me a reason to never use these guys again.
I recently bought a droid x and attempted to download a movie from blockbuster….but the movie wouldn’t play. The only thing I saw was a bunch of colorful lines. I let them know and they refunded my money
Never did get it to work right. Highly disappointed i