8 Alternatives to Netflix

Photo (cc) by ginnerobot

The movie service Netflix had more than 21 million subscribers as of April and a net income of almost $161 million last year. But next year, that might all change.

Prior to September, Netflix allowed unlimited movie downloads plus unlimited DVDs by mail for 10 bucks a month. On Sept. 1, the online and mail services were unbundled – now each costs $7.99 per month, for a total of $16. That’s a 20-percent discount if you were receiving your movies one way or the other, but a 60-percent increase if you were using both streaming and mail.

After implementing the price hike, Netflix estimated a million customers bailed. A survey by consulting group Magid made higher estimates: They found 16 percent planned to cancel, and another 14 percent are thinking about it.

Netflix stock had been slowly dropping since the price change was announced in July, and fell sharply (15 percent in a day) when the company announced its customer loss. It’s only begun trending back up since Netflix backed off the decision this week to separate its DVD and streaming services. (July 13 stock price: $298. Now: $115.) But the decision to keep both streaming and DVD-by-mail under one roof doesn’t affect the new unbundled prices.

The market has spoken, but what about consumers – are outraged customers finding better options for movies? In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson takes a look at competing services. Check it out, and then read on for more details.

Many consumers are realizing Netflix isn’t the only game in town. But everybody plays – and prices – a little differently. How do the rest stack up? Let’s look at them one by one and sum up with a chart.

1. Blockbuster

Once known for its blue-and-gold brand and brick-and-mortar stores, Blockbuster’s struggled to stay in the game and has shuttered hundreds of locations. They’ve launched a DVD-by-mail service called Total Access, with monthly plans starting at $10 (with a one-month free trial), which is more expensive than Netflix’s delivery service, but allows you the option to return discs to a local store and swap them out instead of mailing them back and waiting. (You can’t swap out games, though – only movies.)

They also have a streaming service called On Demand, and if you only watch a couple of flicks a month, this could be cheaper than Netflix streaming – rentals start at $2 each, and the library includes “thousands of movies.” New releases are available as soon as the DVD/Blu-ray versions are on sale, and run $4.

They’re also experimenting with a kiosk service, called Blockbuster Express, with rentals starting at $1 a night, no membership required. You can find them in many grocery stores.

2. Redbox

According to that Magid survey, almost 60 percent of Netflix subscribers already use Redbox, and 20 percent say they will use it more because of the price changes. With rentals as low as $1 a day, and 28,000 locations across the country, that makes sense.

But because these are basically movie and game vending machines, selection is limited to mostly recent titles, usually updated weekly. You can look up what’s available – and reserve a rental copy – online. You can sometimes find free codes for rentals on coupon sites and places like Inside Redbox.

3. Hulu Plus

This streaming service has wider offerings in TV than films – they say “more than 33,000 episodes and hundreds of movies” – and runs the same $7.99 a month that Netflix charges. Anyone can get a free week trial, but if you have a student email address (.edu) you can get a free month to try it out. There is a free version too, but that’s not in HD, only runs on your computer, and doesn’t offer current season episodes or as many shows and films. Either way, there are ads.

4. Amazon Instant

You can stream thousands of movies and TV episodes starting at $1, and going up to $4 for newer titles. But if you have Amazon Prime service – $80 a year, but cheaper than a year of Netflix, and it comes with fast shipping benefits – you have access to the whole library of thousands of movies and TV shows, which you can view on a variety of devices.

There’s a one-month free trial. Amazon sometimes gives out promotional video credits with other orders on their site too.

5. iTunes

Movies start at $3 each (new releases $4), and can be streamed on Apple devices including iPhone and iPad. You can also stream on an Apple TV if you have one ($99).

6. Vudu

This service rents movies for $1 to $6 and TV shows for $2 to $3. Although their prices on some titles are a little higher than other services, according to BusinessInsider they have one of the best catalogs of older popular titles, on par with iTunes’.

7. GameFly

This is the best-known service for games – in fact, it’s often called “Netflix for games” – with a library of more than 7,000 games ranging from the GameCube generation of consoles to current titles on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and hand-held devices. Monthly plans start at $16, though the first month is half-off.

8. Your local library

If all these services sound too pricy, try the cheapest of them all. The selection might be limited, but you won’t know until you look – and hey, it’s free. Imagine if they started streaming…

Looking for more ways to save on entertainment? Check out 3 Steps to Cut Your Cable Bill 90 Percent and 26 Tips to Save on Entertainment.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security
6 Types of People Who Can’t Count on Social Security

If you fall into one of these groups, don’t assume that you will receive benefits.

25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead
25 Things You Should Never Buy — and What to Buy Instead

If you really want to save money, become a more intentional shopper.

7 Reasons You Should Consider a Career Change at 50
7 Reasons You Should Consider a Career Change at 50

Wondering how to change careers at 50, or if it’s possible at all? The good news is that many older workers have the energy and experience to pull it off.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors
7 Bank Accounts With Extra Perks for Seniors

These accounts offer exclusive discounts and other perks — including interest — to older customers.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.