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I don't know the precise reason for why Blockbuster or Netflix doesn't do this. Desktop software has done this kind of thing for eons. If I were one of these companies I'd write the app (since it only takes a day or 2 at most to write), and then put it out for consumption. Perhaps its some form of informal gentleman's agreement (bah! I'd get all George Soros on their Thai behind). I'm sure it would spread easily across the blogosphere.

A bigger pain then the queue to move is your set of recommendations. Maybe when I have a movie that gets delayed a day I will come up with conspiracy theories and get mad and write such a program. ;)

Tony Gentile

This is called 'lock-in', and as I've noted before, it's not a Web 2.0 friendly behavior. Most companies you work with today are of the same mindset, misguidedly believing that holding your data hostage makes you more loyal.

I've promised myself that I won't effect change by writing a software solution (if I did, it would be focused on my 650+ movie ratings vs. my queue, but I understand the appeal of the latter). Rather, I'm hoping that Netflix will change policies over time...

I suspect, however, that someone with less patience will write a scraper before that happens.


I think they don't offer such a feature because there really is no need for it. I'm sure with the size of their company they make regular backups of the databases which hold your queue information. Even if something occured to the information in your queue they most likley have a backed up version of it from not long ago, thus making you only update the few most recent changes. Thats just my opinion from a technical aspect.


A backup mechanism is prolly 99.9% unlikely to be necessary. Moving the info from one provider to another may be more useful. The challenge I think is the correlation of Movie ID's which appear proprietary. Then you might want to handle some of the boundary cases (Like 1 service has version A and the other has Version B of the same movie, etc.).

The easiest dirtiest way might just be a plain title search with all straight-up matches being correlated, and all remaining items at the end simply being listed for printing/manual work.


I use the in store BB coupons for 2 video game rentals per month to supplement my many NF dvd selections.

So, my boyfriend selects and controls my BB dvd queue selections. (he is not obsessed with videogames like me)

That way we both always have our own selections and don't have to take turns, or share the same queue and reccomendations.

We don't have the same tastes in film really, and now I don't feel so bad renting so many sci-fi and awful horror films because he still gets his urban comedy and drama selections, which I am sometimes growing to enjoy as well !

I call it the best of both ways plan.


Just over $30 bucks a month and way better than cable ever was!


I would import it into Listology.com for safekeeping. However, getting into BB would be tedious.


I wrote a perl script that manages my unofficial queue. It is even smart enough to find an image to associate with each movie, thus giving me a graphical display of my queue. I use it to group and order the movies I would like to see, and then I move a few movies at a time from there to my small Netflix queue.

I have considered many times converting this to a public service website, and would do so if I thought there would be sufficient demand.


Here's how I added 115 movies from the book "Never Coming to a Theater near you" to my queue.

1) Get all the movies as electronic text (I did this by scanning the table of contents and using OCR software). From the web, copy and past your queue into a text editor. Clean it up so you have one movie per line.

2) Figure out how to search for movies on Blockbuster. For Netflix, here's an example: http://www.netflix.com/Search?v1=Devil in a Blue Dress

3) Use your favorite text editor (or spreadsheet, I used Excel) to build a clean HTML page that has one movie per line.

4) Click each one, add to queue, move on to the next. From start to finish, I was able to add the 115 movies (I think 5 or 6 weren't carried by Netflix) in 30 minutes.


By the way, I posted a feature request for Netflix Addict (http://sourceforge.net/projects/netflixaddict/) to add an "export queue to text file" feature.


It seems to me like getting your queue out of Netflix and into Blockbuster may not be that difficult.

Simply save the RSS feed for your queue as a single document, open it in Excel and strip out the stuff you don't want. You'll need to then trim off the first few characters of each title (since the feed prefixes each one with the number and a hyphen), but a script or Excel should make short work of that.

I don't subscribe to Blockbuster, but I'd assume they have a title search. You should be able to feed your Excel doc into a script that opens the Blockbuster search page, searches for the title, and then adds the first returned item to your queue.

It won't be foolproof, but it should work reasonably well. I'm a C# hack, but I'm guessing I could get something like that up and running in a few hours.

Your ratings history is far more valuable, and unfortunately, Netflix gives no way of getting that out thus far, but I'd think an RSS feed of that might not be far behind - especially with the new friends features.

Speaking of which, if anyone wanted to include me (rtoohil @ vt.edu), it'd be most appreciated :)

Hmm, maybe I'll even try to hack together a Netflix import/export .NET app of some sort this weekend. It won't work for Blockbuster unless I can figure out the URLs for searching and adding to the queue.

John Resig

Not long ago I wrote a mini Perl Module (if you're familiar with the language, then this should work out nicely) which allows you to export your movie ratings from Netflix.

Netflix Perl Module:

As per moving your movie queue - utilizing the RSS feature (as Ryan said, above) would probably be your best bet.

Blood Parrot

Check Out this link for more about NetFlix and RSS http://www.netflix.com/RSSFeeds?lnkctr=sbRssF


the two free in store movies is bullshit. because i went in and they told me that i had to sign up to use it. which is ridiculous and i really didnt want to do that. fuck that man. plus they didnt have the movie i wanted. so dont waste ur time

to import you should copy and past and put in notepad, save and voila. i did it when moving to nf from bb. you'll have to manually add it, so what? stop being so damn lazy. as if they would team up for that. they're competitors! HELLO!


As for a scraper app, yes, eventually someone will make it happen. I could, but it's not worth the trouble.

As for the BB vs. Netflix, do the free trial and see what you think. I did because i was curious and i was going to pay $17 for Shrek2 anyway. What you will probably find is that the 100+ movies in your Queue that Netflix has available right now, will be hard to get on BB. Less than 50% of the ones i wanted were actually available from BB. The in-store coupons are really nice, but i did get stuck with one late fee which just reminded me of why i hate video stores (many other reasons of course).

So i killed my BB subscription after a month and i wouldn't recommend them to anyone looking for anything more than free rentals. ... .joe

The Best PC Lover Ever

Try this link, if you have a mac...

Jared Evans

This would be very easy to do if you use Perl or PHP in One of two likely ways:

1) Employing conventional screen-scrapping techniques by parsing all elements in the HTML output of your queue to extract the information you want.

2) Making use perl/php XML modules to extract the movie information from the netflix queue rss.

This would be an afternoon project :-)

Jared Evans

I did the work for you:

You just need to replace
with your netflix queue rss number.

Change $max_count for the number of movies you want to retrieve.


C:\perl-progs>cat netflix.pl
# Jared Evans -10/17/04
# http://jarednevans.livejournal.com
# Parse Your Netflix Queue RSS output into a text file

use strict;
use XML::RSSLite;
use LWP::Simple;
use CGI;

# create a CGI output
my $cgi = new CGI;

# Declare variables for URL to be parsed
my $url2parse;
# Setup argument to your Netflix RSS
my $arg = "http://rss.netflix.com/QueueRSS?id=PXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX";
# Get the URL, assign it to url2parse, and then parse the RSS content
$url2parse = get($arg);
die "Could not retrieve $arg" unless $url2parse;

my %result;
my $item;

# Process the RSS and save it in easily accessible variables
parseRSS(\%result, \$url2parse);

# Generate a list of only the first 10 movies in the queue
my $count = 0;
my $max_count = 10;

foreach $item (@{$result{'item'}}) {
next unless defined($item->{'title'}) && defined($item->{'link'}) && ($coun
t {'link'}\">$item->{'title'}\n";
$count = $count + 1 ;

C:\perl-progs>netflix.pl > x.htm
C:\perl-progs>x.htm (should automatically open in your default web browser)

Jared Evans

I neglected to mention that if you want to actually move your netflix queue into blockbuster, you would use the LWP module inside the foreach loop to automatically insert into Blockbuster Queue on their website.

I'm not a member of blockbuster online rental service not do I plan to be in the near future so I have no idea what the urls would be to use. But it would only take a few hours at the most to set up this kind of code.

Jared Evans

Hacking Netflix blog comments doesn't really work with copy n' pasting of code so here is the proper code:



5 years later and no one's actually done this yet? Rats! I wanna get out of BB and into Netflix, but I have like 300 movies in my queue over there. Hrmph.

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