A little while back, Internet subscription service Netflix, known for providing movies and television shows by DVD or streaming option, informed their 25 million users that they would be increasing the prices of their plans. Netflix was a popular option for movie buffs, as they had affordable options to watch movies, first by sending DVD rentals to the subscriber’s mailbox. They then offered virtual streaming of movies and television shows through the Internet and other media devices and game consoles. Fans of Netflix were furious to know that popular plans would now be more expensive. What Netflix alternatives are out there now that they raised their prices?
Netflix Plans and Prices
Netflix has several plans, some of which changed with their prices. They have a limited plan, which allows 2 rentals per month, 1 DVD at a time, and 2 hours of online streaming. This is the cheapest plan, only $4.99 per month, but of course offers the most restrictions. There’s an unlimited streaming option, which does not allow DVDs to be sent, for $7.99/month, and 2 unlimited DVD options, which do not allow streaming online, where you can either take out 1 or 2 DVDs at a time for $7.99/month and $11.99/month respectively. The combination plans are what caused the most uproar. If you want the best of both worlds, DVDs and online streaming, you can expect to pay $15.98 each month for 1 DVD, $19.98 monthly for 2 DVDs, $23.98/month for 3 DVDs or 4 DVDs for a monthly fee of $29.98. You can also expect to pay more for Blu-Ray copies.
Yes, the prices increased over 50% in some cases, but when you compare Netflix to options like buying DVDs on your own, purchasing a DVR, or even going to the movie theatre, even their most expensive plan comes out to be a more affordable option. The price increase has lead millions of users to change their plans or cancel their subscriptions altogether. In our home, we decided to go with the streaming only option because weeks would go by before we would sit and watch the DVD we got in our mailbox. Our Netflix bill went from $12.06 in 2010, to $13.04 in 2011 (probably because we switched to Blu-Ray) and now I will expect to pay $7.99 plus tax a month.
So if you’re one of the people who is in a dilemma regarding their media consumption options, here are a few Netflix alternatives:
- Redbox: Have you noticed those, well, red boxes in your local grocery stores? You may have noticed lines on some nights. Well, they’re not a Coinstar machines with a new paint job. Redbox are kiosks that allow you to rent movies and games for as low as $1/day, making this a more affordable option depending on how long it takes you to watch and return your movie. No need to wait around for the mail since there’s bound to be a location near you, making it a convenient option.
- Hulu Plus: If you weren’t so much into movies with your Netflix, but absolutely needed to catch up on seasons of your favorite shows, Hulu Plus could be the best alternative for you. They also have movies, just not as big of a library as Netflix. With Hulu Plus, you can enjoy past and current seasons of popular TV shows, high definition viewing, and you can watch it on your computer, game console, and even your smart phone. The cost is only $7.99/month and you can get a 1 week free trial. If you’re a college student with a .edu e-mail address, your free trial can be 1 month long!
- iTunes: Apple’s iTunes store offers movie and television show downloads, either to buy or rent. This is a good choice for the more sporadic movie watcher. If you don’t mind waiting for your rental to download, which can take an hour or so, then you can enjoy affordable rental options of new releases. $3.99 will get your movie rented, and $4.99 will deliver it in HD. You can also purchase the movie if you’d like, and have it available on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.
- Amazon Instant Video: Similar to iTunes, Amazon Instant Video allows you to buy or rent movies and TV shows instantly online and to your TV. Prices depend on the movie/TV you want, though Amazon Prime members have unlimited instant streaming (a nice bonus to quick shipping).
There’s plenty of people who are fine with the price hike, as it still fits in their entertainment budget, but if you feel Netflix took the wrong approach, these alternatives can fill the void.