After getting home from a full day of sharing videos like a boss, sometimes you need to relax a little with Hollywood types.
We’re Netflix fans ourselves, but this recent price hike has people up in arms. (For those that need an update: Netflix will no longer offer unlimited streaming and DVD rentals for $9.99; instead, customers must pay $15.98 for a single DVD out at a time and unlimited streaming—a 60% price increase. The changes are effective September 1.)
Of course, we know that eventually DVDs will be completely obsolete—but in the mean time, here are some excellent alternatives to help you get your Hollywood fix at the right price.
Hulu burst onto the scene in 2007 with AOL, Facebook, and Yahoo! as partners. It has since grown exponentially with the creation of Hulu Plus, a subscription program that offers thousands of television shows and movies for a monthly fee of $7.99 (as well as makes it available on game consoles and smartphones.) It’s also free as a basic service, which basically means that if you missed the last two or three episodes of 30 Rock or The Office(and not too much time has passed) you can catch up on Hulu without paying anything.
Quirky, hip, and/or in-the-know when it comes to independent and foreign films (or want to be)? Mail-only GreenCine might be the way to go. Sure, there’s no streaming, but plans start at $9.95 up to $49.95 a month (for an eight-DVD plan). It’s got over 30,000 titles, most of them niche, all of them likely distinguished enough to impress your freakishly cultured friends (or at least that cute girl with the glasses that works at the local bookstore).
Make fun of Redbox all you want for its limited selection of Wayans Bros. films, but the price is hard to beat: DVDs are $1 and games are $2 (provided you only rent for 24 hours.) There are over 27,000 Redbox kiosks worldwide—usually in front of grocery stores. If you’re looking for a popular new movie, Redbox is the way to go. Just keep in mind that it only holds about 200 new titles at any given time. Hope you’re a fan of Michael Bay.
Amazon Prime exists mostly for the benefit of online shopping obsessives; it costs $79 a year for free, two-day shipping. But as a side perk, members get unlimited streaming of all their movies (about 6,000 or so in total). More titles are available for anywhere between $1 and about $4 per individual rental. A little on the expensive side, but worth a consideration if you find yourself compulsively shipping a new gadget to your home every couple of days (or suddenly find yourself in possession of a trust fund.)
The name “Blockbuster” likely conjures up ‘90s movie nostalgia coupled with an intense dislike of restocking, late fees, and hopelessly cranky teenage employees. Since Netflix increased its prices, Blockbuster may be giving competitor Netflix a run for its money (for the first time). Its streaming video and disc-by-mail services are separate, and one disc at a time costs $11.99--but it also offers blu-rays at the same price (Netflix charges more) and video games. Additionally, it offers streaming movies on demand for $2-$3, often weeks or months before Netflix offers up its newest selection. Sure, the brick-and-mortar video store model may be dead, but Blockbuster is already capitalizing on Netflix’s user backlash by offering members a free month trial and a pricing promotion.
Which one will you choose?