A week or so ago Netflix announced that they would be raising their prices on all of their streaming and DVD rental plans. There was a bit of an outcry throughout the internet with people talking about how they were going to cancel or drop part of their package to reduce costs. Nobody likes to pay for more for a service that they've been signed up for and using for such a long time.
It's understandable to not want to pay more, but what are your alternatives if you don't want to pay for Netflix anymore? Today I thought I'd look at how the Netflix pricing is changing, and what alternatives you have to replace them.
Netflix Prices Going Up
In their announcement that prices were changing Netflix told how pricing was changing, and what was going to be available for plans going forward. You can either do streaming only, DVD only, or a combo of the two for increased costs. Here is their new pricing.
- Limited 1 DVD at a time, 2 per month: $4.99
- Streaming video only: $7.99
- 1 DVD at a time: $7.99
- 2 DVD at a time: $11.99
- 1 DVD at a time + streaming video: $15.98
- 2 DVD at a time + streaming video: $19.98
- 3 DVD at a time + streaming video: $23.98
- 4 DVD at a time + streaming video: $29.98
- 5 DVD at a time + streaming video: $35.98
- 6 DVD at a time + streaming video: $40.98
- 7 DVD at a time + streaming video: $45.98
- 8 DVD at a time + streaming video: $51.98
Now I don't know anyone who would need more than 1 or 2 DVDs out at a time, I can't imagine that they have that many people signed up for those 7-8 DVD plans. The funny thing is, some of those higher number DVD plans have actually dropped in price from previous price levels.
For most people who had unlimited streaming and unlimited 1 DVD at a time plans the pricing is going from $9.99 to $15.98/month. So a price jump of about $6.
To find out if you think your plan is still a good value even with the price jump, check out our post: Is Netflix A Cost Efficient Entertainment Option For You?
With a lot of people talking about canceling Netflix or moving to another provider, just what other streaming and DVD providers are there out there? Here's a quick rundown of some of the more visible options.
Redbox DVD & Game Kiosks
Redbox Kiosks are located at a variety of gas stations, department stores, grocery stores and restaurants all over the United States. You can rent any new release or classic movie from the kiosk for $1/night plus tax. They also have video games and Blu-Ray movies for slightly more. If you try hard you can also find codes for free rentals at the Redbox kiosks, although those are becoming harder to find. Still, $1 per movie is an affordable option, especially if you're close to a redbox location like we are.
Amazon Instant Video
Amazon launched a video streaming service in the past year. The best part? It’s free for all Amazon Prime members. So if you’re already a member of Amazon Prime’s unlimited free or reduced price shipping on the site, you’ll get the video streaming service for free (not if you're on one of the free Prime memberships for students or parents, however). The cost? $79/year for Amazon Prime, or about $6.58/month. Not too bad, especially when you also get all the benefits of 2 day shipping on all Amazon items. The only downside that I've found is that they only have about a quarter of the titles available on Netflix, so options aren't as varied and some more popular and new release movies may not be available.
In addition to their Amazon Instant Video streaming options you can also purchase or rent selected movies and TV shows via Video On Demand. Rentals cost up to $3.99, and movie purchases cost $9.99.
Blockbuster On Demand & DVD plans
Blockbuster has a streaming rental and purchase program as well that you can use through a variety of connected devices. Prices are going to vary but rentals will be anywhere from $1.99-3.99 per movie, and to purchase movies will usually be around $9.99, similar to Amazon.
For DVD and game rentals with unlimited returns to stores it will cost $9.99/month for 1 disc at a time, or $14.99/month for 2 discs at a time. This pricing is still going to be more than Netflix unfortunately, but you also can rent games and return in a blockbuster store (if you have one in your area still), as well as get some titles 28 days earlier than Netflix.
Another alternative, especially for folks who like to watch a lot of TV and classic movies is Hulu Plus. It costs $7.99/month and you can stream the video content to a variety of connected devices including Xbox and Playstation consoles, as well some Blu-Ray players and TVs. Or if you want to get a little more down and dirty, you can set up a streaming video solution like we have at our house using a Playon Media Server.
Best Buy has a streaming video service as well called Cinema Now. I haven't used this service but it seems to be mainly an on demand video rental site. Prices will be in the range of $1.99-3.99 for video rentals.
There Are Other Options, But Are Any Better?
As you can see from the list above there are several other options of video rental services to use instead of Netflix if you aren't happy with the price increases, but the question remains – are any of them better or more affordable options than Netflix?
Even after the price change I still think that Netflix offers a pretty good value in comparison to the other sites and video rental services. It still costs less than Blockbuster DVD rental plans, and their streaming options, while still only being OK – are still ahead of most other sites offering the service. Can you find cheaper options? Maybe, but their combination of ease of use, DVDs and streaming, leave them hard to beat still in my opinion.
Right now we'll probably continue on with our 1 DVD + Streaming plan and pay the extra six bucks just because we've been pretty happy with the service. If we do decide to try and cut some expenses, however, we'll probably end up cancelling the DVD portion of our plan and doing the streaming only plan for $7.99. Then we can supplement new releases by renting at our local Redbox.
How about you – are you cancelling your Netflix plan, and if so are you going to be using something else instead? Tell us your thoughts on the price increase, and about what alternatives you might be likely to try.