Friday, October 7, 2011
All those who already use Netflix have heard the news that they increased their prices by 60% effective September 1st. I had a plan where I paid $9.99 per month for unlimited on-line viewing and 1 DVD-by-mail at a time. That same service is now $17.99. Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service offers the latest movies and the best picture and sound quality. Their streaming service generally offers older movies and lower picture and sound quality. The DVD-by-mail and instant streaming packages were split into two separate offerings, both available for $8 per month each. I’m a capitalist pig so I understand why Netflix did it but the way they did it was just rude. So I’ve been looking for a substitute. I’m not alone. Millions of people have joined the Netflixodus. That has resulted in a dramatic drop in their stock price as well as a heart-felt apology from their CEO. But they haven’t changed their mind. I would be OK with their streaming-only plan if the selection were better. Most newer movies are not offered as part of the streaming service. But what's more frustrating is that its streaming catalog is clogged with hundreds of really crappy B-list and C-list movies. More often than not, highly acclaimed movies are not available on the streaming service, even if they're several years old. Netflix is supposed to start offering newer movies on their streaming service but I haven’t seen them. I’ll keep Netflix’s streaming service and will use various other sources for the occasional new release. This move gave me the opportunity to explore options from other movie providers. Here is what I’ve found so far: Lot’s of people don’t know that Youtube.com offers feature length new release movies for $3.99. Amazon.com is seizing the opportunity presented by Netflix’s rough handling of customer by ramping up their Amazon Prime service. Blockbuster Movies is still around. Their movie-by-mail service is more expensive than Netflix’s but they get new releases up to 28 days sooner than the competition. They were recently acquired by Dish Network so I expect to hear more from them soon. For TV-show junkies, Hulu.com’s Hulu Plus is $8.00 per month for unlimited viewing. And one of the best kept secrets is the public library. They are free (as long as you are a legal citizen) and you can keep the movies for 1 week. The bulk of most library collections are old classics and lots of old and new TV series, lots of kids videos, and historical and biographical collections. Funding has been cut for “new release” movies but they still get the occasional new release. They try to lean towards stuff that is often hard to find in the traditional rental outlets. They do take donations so if you want to clean out your old DVD collection, they will welcome them. Happy viewing!