Alternatives to Netflix

Category: Video

Netflix recently changed its pricing structure, upsetting a lot of people. The video rental giant not only jacked the price of its DVD with Online Streaming package by 60 per cent (to $15.98 per month), it had the nerve to force customers to make choices! Should you protest in the street, find an alternative, or do nothing? Here's my take…

Netflix Price Hike - What To Do?

Netflix has ended the option to pay $9.99 a month for their service which offered online movie streaming along with DVDs by mail. Those two services are now sold separately at $7.99 per month each.

So you can subscribe to the DVD-only service, or the unlimited online streaming service, or both. The basic DVD-only plan ($7.99) lets you rent one DVD at a time; if you want to hold onto two discs at once, it costs $11.99 per month. You can still stream as many flicks as you like per month for $7.99.

People are up in arms about this "unfair" price hike on the combo package. I'm not sure why, or what the "boycott Netflix" crowd plans to do with their couch time. For some, this will actually be a price DECREASE, if they decide they really just want either the DVD service or the streaming service ala carte.
Netflix Alternatives

But if you're mad and you're not gonna take it, consider some of the possible alternatives to Netflix:

Netflix Alternatives, Pro and Con

Hulu Plus: Streaming only, $7.99 per month, same as the new Netflix. Mainly old TV shows and classic movies. The Hulu library hasn't nearly the depth of Netflix. DVDs are not an option, so you need a high-quality Internet connection. Oh, and every stream is filled with commercials. But if TV programming is your game, Hulu may be all you need.

Apple TV and iTunes: Streaming only, and you must start by buying a $99 set-top box. The selection of programming on iTunes is extensive but priced a la carte; there is no all-you-can-eat option. Most HD movies cost $3.99 a pop, and most TV shows are 99 cents. You can't pause a stream and restart where you left off. No DVD rental, of course.

Amazon Prime: Wait, that's an expedited shipping service from Amazon, right? Well, yes, but it also includes Amazon Instant Video service. Amazon Prime costs $79 a year ($6.50/month). How much of that you spend on Instant Video is debatable. Call it "free." But the free part of the library is really, really old compared to Netflix or just about anyone else. Currently, the top ten on Instant Video include episodes from the first season of Monty Python's Flying Circus and a documentary about swingers' clubs in the 1970s. New releases cost $3.99 per view. Still no DVD rentals.

Redbox: Ah, THERE's the DVD rental! For only a buck per DVD, too. But you have to go find a red box, many of which are located in unsavory venues such as WalMart, or the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. Rumor has it that Redbox will launch a streaming subscription service this year. We'll see.

Blockbuster: Always leave them laughing, I say. When watching Blockbuster stores close gets boring, you can turn to the nearly-defunct company's streaming and mail-order DVD rental services. You can even rent games. One disc at a time will cost $11.99 per month; two discs, $16.99; up to three discs, $19.99. Streaming rental start at $1.99 and you have up to 30 days to start watching it, or re-watching it as many times as you wish in a 24 hour window. Sounds a lot like the new Netflix, only it costs more and offers more of those aggravating choices.

There really is no good alternative to Netflix at the moment. Maybe one will come along to offer the good old days of $9.99 all-you-can-eat DVD and streaming rental. But even with its new pricing plan, I say Netflix offers a good deal - especially if you can choose between DVD and streaming.

Your thoughts are welcome on this topic! Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Alternatives to Netflix"

Posted by:

Ken S.
14 Jul 2011

I got my notice about Netflix and was made--I was going from $10 bucks to over $15 a month!!! Then I realized--I was also ticked at Netflix when they stopped letting me rent a single DVD back in the day. (Yes, I've been a Netflix user from BEFORE they had unlimited monthly rentals!) And then I realized something else. A month or so ago my wife and I went to a 3D movie in the theater. Price: $10.50/person, or $21.00 just to get in! Suddenly Netflix doesn't seem so pricy, especially when I realize it's not unusual between the whole family to watch maybe 10 instant streaming features a week! (And I make better popcorn than the theater anyway...)

P.S. Bob, for classic movie lover's like myself, there is also ClassicFlix. Nothing in their library made after 1970, but they rival Netflix in depth of titles from before 1970.

Posted by:

14 Jul 2011

I agree with you, Mr. Rankin, & just recently explained your same reasoning to some of my cry-baby pals. We get the unlimited streaming, plus the unlimited discs 4-at-a-time, & our bill is only going up $2 per month. We don't pay for cable, avoid Redbox like the fkn plague, & forgot all about the blue boys at Blockbuster after all the branches in our area went missing. Nothing beats Netflix so I don't get what all the tears are for. Thanks for proving my point, Sir! :)

Posted by:

14 Jul 2011

Yes, I agree with you Bob...Netflix is still the best choice. Combine Netflix with the $1.00 Redbox movies and you have an unbeatable deal...unless of course you can send and receive more than 10 movies a month then the Netflix combo package is the way to go! That is of course until the ISP's get on the throttling bandwagon...then we're all screwed :(

Posted by:

14 Jul 2011

We had the 2 disk plan with streaming, and we bought a Roku set top when they were 100.
I think it is very brave of Netflix to offer their service at half the price, since we will only be keeping the streaming now. I don't know if I'd want to own their stock now (may be a great shrting opportunity).
It took a long time to get new releases via shipping (sometimes they had "LONG WAIT" for hit movies,) and we hit the Red Box anyway since they had everything quicker.
BTW, Roku has other "channels" available, including music, that I didn't look into before but will now.
Thank you Netflix for halfing my bill!

Posted by:

Tim Strominge
15 Jul 2011

I boycott all them and just get movies from the library. It's free and I can check out up to 6 movies at a time.

Posted by:

15 Jul 2011

The reason I am upset is that I used the streaming on Netflix anywhere from 1 to 3 times per month. I would like to have had a choice of low use streaming or some tier system similar to the number of dvds out at a time. That would have made sense to me. But going from 11.99/month (I get Blu-Ray) to 17.98/month is not acceptable to me. As was mentioned, if I continue with Netflix, I will come out ahead because I will drop the streaming and go with only Blu-Ray 1 at a time.

Posted by:

15 Jul 2011

"unsavory venues" ... WHAT is so unsavory about a Red Box inside a WalMart?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sorry, I forgot to turn up the {sarcasm} setting before that sentence. Consider it italicized. :-)

Posted by:

15 Jul 2011

Only problem with streaming videos is the recent 150GB cap imposed by AT&T. Doesn't take long to exceed the cap and get hit with some hefty overage fees.

Posted by:

16 Jul 2011

I agree with you, Bob. For disks, NF delivers them like clockwork. I return them the same or next day, and 2 days later, I get a new disk. BB never could get that right. NF raised their prices ~ 18 months ago, and again this time. Yet, even if I return the title the next day, it still costs ~75¢ per title (i.e., less than Redbox, and zero driving costs or time involved). At least this time, they'll be making something from people with my rental habits. I supplement this with the public library, but while you get at least a week with their titles, there are long queues, they tend to freeze up more, and it's only cost effective if I pick up and drop off multiple titles at the same time (cost of driving and time to/from). I added streaming more recently, suspicious of going over the cap. Other vulnerabilities are the irregularity of the Internet and the Internet or NF going down, and both have. My beef with NF's streaming: old titles and they remove titles without notifying you, i.e. you have to monitor your queue, and you're lucky if you find out a few days ahead of time, insufficient for a series, which ironically goes back to DVD only! For DVD service, NF has no competitors to worry about, for streaming, they've got all you mentioned and more: Zediva, Crackle, free Hulu, and others.

Posted by:

18 Jul 2011

I happen to disagree. #1, just recently the price for DVDs went up, an obvious move to start squeezing out users like me. I am an original subscriber so ANOTHER increase so soon is just irritating. What made the recent move sort of palatable was the fact that I COULD stream if I got internet connection to my TV, but now they've made that more expensive too. They are losing a 12-year subscriber.

Posted by:

29 Jul 2011

I am still wavering on what to do personally. I do wonder if you know of any way for those of us who are expats living in other countries to legally stream things. We're in Germany. My kids in Salt Lake City can watch just about anything. So far we're dependent on the DVDs because I don't know where to stream (of course IF it would realistically stream on our 448 kbit/sec connection would be a second problem) movies legally.

Posted by:

05 Aug 2011

Rentals have always been an inexpensive way to pass a rainy evening or scorching summer day, and many consumers will not stand for this increase. Rather, they will be shopping for another means of entertainment and as an employee of DISH Network I know that what they started offering through Blockbuster is going to turn a lot of heads. DISH is giving new subscribers 3 months free of Blockbuster. This includes in-store and mail-in services on DVD’s, Blu-ray’s, AND video games with no late fees and no commitment after the trial. These are the details

Posted by:

08 Mar 2012

I keep Netflix both streaming and 1 Blu-ray at a time. I've had it for a while. It still beats the price of going to a movie with the family. Since my daughter is now 12 yrs old, she counts as an adult. One movie in the theaters now cost about $40 for our family to go. Even at the new price levels, this is way, way cheaper. We watch streaming videos a couple of times per week and we get Blu-rays about once per week (for weekend viewing). Not interested in pay per view nor iTunes rental.

Posted by:

Shabre N.
08 Jan 2013

I am a user of four of these services. Netflix, Redbox, Hulu(no plus)and Amazon Prime. While I like all four because somethings are not available on some of them, I absolutely love Redbox and Netflix. My prime membership with Amazon is debatable because it's in every sense of the word a "ripoff". It's not free like most would think or assume. I did not renew this memebership, but will continue to use Amazon. I like Redbox for the dvd rentals that Netflix is otherwise charging $7.99 for. So my best two picks out of the four are Netflix and Redbox. Did I even mention Blockbuster?....Blockbuster who???:)

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