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7 alternatives to Netflix

Customers are unhappy with the company's latest move, which will make it more difficult to manage streaming and mailed-DVD accounts.

By MSN Money Partner Sep 19, 2011 4:13PM

This post comes from Cameron Huddleston at partner site Kiplinger.


Two months after announcing it would split its mail-order DVD and video streaming into two services and charge for each separately, Netflix is making another change. Its DVD-by-mail service will be renamed Qwikster in a few weeks, CEO Reed Hastings wrote on the Netflix blog.


Hastings also apologized for the way Netflix announced the separation of its DVD and streaming services and new pricing. "It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility," Hastings wrote in response to the thousands of comments posted on Netflix's blog since the company said in July that customers would have to pay extra for unlimited video streaming starting Sept. 1.


Previously, Netflix members received unlimited streaming and unlimited (mailed) DVDs for $9.99 a month. Now members have to pay $15.98 a month to get both services ($7.99 for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for unlimited DVDs).


When Qwikster launches, members will also have access to mail-order video games. However, and will not be integrated. So those who receive both services will have to manage their DVD and streaming accounts separately.

More than 6,000 comments already have been posted to the company's blog in response to the name-change announcement -- many of them calling it a mistake. Post continues after video.

So if you're looking for alternatives to Netflix, here are some options:


Vudu. This streaming service has a wide selection of high-definition movies available the day they are released on Blu-ray. And it's one of the cheapest alternatives to Netflix. You can stream movies to Vudu-enabled HDTVs or Blu-ray players, your computer, iPad or PlayStation 3. You can also watch Vudu movies at Cost: You pay $2 to "rent" a movie for two nights.


Amazon Instant Video. You can choose from nearly 50,000 movies and TV shows to watch instantly on your computer or on TV with a streaming device. Cost: $3.99 for a 48-hour rental. Amazon Prime ($79 a year) members get access to 5,000 movies and TV shows at no additional charge.

Apple TV. This device lets you stream thousands of movies and TV shows directly to your TV. Many movies are available the day they're released on DVD. You have 30 days to start watching but, once you start, you have only 24 hours to finish viewing. Cost: $99 for the Apple TV device; 99 cents for TV rentals, $2.99 and up for movie rentals.


Blockbuster. Like Netflix, Blockbuster will mail DVD rentals. You can choose from more than 100,000 titles. Cost: $4.99 for a seven-day rental. Or with Blockbuster On Demand, you can watch movies instantly. Cost: Free to $3.99 (depending on the movie) for a 24-hour rental.


Hulu. The website known for online streaming of TV shows also has hundreds of movies -- older releases, though. Cost: Many of the movies are free, but you can gain access to more with a Hulu Plus membership for $7.99 a month (the same as what you'd pay for Netflix unlimited streaming, which offers a lot more movies).


Redbox. This DVD-rental company has kiosks at more than 27,000 locations nationwide -- from restaurants to grocery stores to national landmarks, such as the Empire State Building. The kiosks feature up to 200 titles (630 actual DVDs). Redbox isn't nearly as convenient as the instant video streaming or mail-delivery DVDs that the services above offer, but it's cheap. Cost: $1 a day, but you can find codes for free Redbox rentals at


Public library. The DVD selection at your local public library probably won't match what the services above offer, but it's a good source of free or dirt-cheap entertainment. Cost: Free or a minimal fee.


More on Kiplinger and MSN Money:

Sep 20, 2011 11:13AM
All these haters and complainers need to get their facts straight!!!! Especially all these news agencies, like msn,  that are trying to piss everyone off towards netflix! I've been a netflix subscriber for 5 years with no complaints. Even with the price hike I can't complain because of these simple facts: 1. my service only went up 3 dollars a month, that's 2 dvds out at a time unlimited monthly, and unlimited streaming. 2. let's look at that per month charge, our family averages 12-20 dvds a month, and tons of streaming. Just the charges for 12 movies a month through any other service (except maybe blockbuster) would be 15- 20 bucks a month with tax. 3. they have 10's of thousands of movie to rent or stream, no one else(again except maybe blockbuster  has that. And with netflix you have numerous ways you can view streaming content (tv's,xboxes,ps3's,wii's,bluray players,tablets,cell phones,and pc's), all the others you are limited to either your pc,or if your lucky a bluray player or tv,or you have to buy a box(apple). I love how people nowadays will complain about such stupid little things like 15-20 bucks a month for all the video entertainment you could want or use, but yet these same people will pay 3 bucks in fees to withdrawl money from an atm, or 3 bucks extra to see a movie that was half ***ed converted into 3d, 5 dollars a day to smoke cigarettes,4 bucks to drink a  beer at a bar when you can buy a 6 pack for 6 bucks,and  the list goes on and  is endless!!!! So let's find some real things around the world to complain about and quit crtisizing a company that charges 15 bucks to send out millions of movies to millions of people every month. That's the end of my ranting,thanks for listening.
Sep 20, 2011 12:16PM

compare the prices above to what netflix costs and netflix still comes out the winner because their service is UNLIMITED not $1-$4 a pop for movies. Since I've had netflix I've been able to cancel my cable television which is a huge savings even with the recent price increase not to mention doing away with time wasted on commercials. A lot of people are upset with netflix but  I see them as the only commercial free (cf), unlimited viewing (uv) option out there so I can't complain when they change things in order to provide a better product.  I will continue to support netflix and the cf, uv format until a competitor can offer a better value, and as this article proves, the next best thing isn't even close.

Sep 19, 2011 9:23PM
To poster Christopher Clark: There was a time when I would shout "Netflix" from the rooftops. I even "recruited" new viewers for them via my friends and acquaintances.  The past four months, however, has been like living with an Alzheimer's patient. They have forgoten how to run their business, they have forgoten the meaning of quality service, they have forgoten the millions of people that got them to the top and Sh@t all over them, and most importantly, like most large companies, they forgot who pays the bills. I currently still enjoy Neflix but I'm considering dumping the entire program....we'll see. 
Sep 20, 2011 1:03PM

Look at all the restrictions and fees with the 'other guys'. On Netflix I can watch any movie that is available, anytime, for as many times as I like for as long as it is on Netflix. I don't have to worry about fee/movie or having to watch it within a certain timeframe. I can watch in 'my time'. I will stick w/Netflix - presently there aren't any viable alternatives.

Sep 20, 2011 10:32AM

I personally think that netflix streaming is the better purchase for the cost. I refuse to get cable or satellite tv. I'd spend more money just to go back and forth to the store getting $1 redbox rentals. I can watch one movie on my computer while the family watches another on the big screen tv using the wii. I used to try to watch the 'free' sites , but the quality sucked.


Oh, one more thing...there is more to life than watching movies or sitting in front of the computer  and I think I'll start doing it after this post.

Sep 20, 2011 5:12AM
I think with all the upcoming problems with the US Postal Service, Netflix is planning on getting out of the dvd delivery business altogether, and the creation of Quikster (which should have been called Kwikflix, isn't that a better name?) is the first step.   One the PO hikes its prices, Qwickster will announce that it can no longer operate profitably and go out of business, leaving the much more lucrative streaming service. 
Sep 20, 2011 12:30PM
Hulu Plus for $7.99 still makes you watch commercials on it's television shows. They started with 1 commercial per break, then they moved to 2, and now I see them squeezing in 3 commercials sometimes. If cable charges me 0.75/mth for FX, USA, or SciFi, I understand commercials, but I'd be paying $8.00 to watch tv on my compter. I'm not watching commercials.
Sep 20, 2011 8:53AM
I used to get movies in the mail from Netflix, but they never seemed to arrive on the date I wanted to watch them.  So Redbox is a better alternative since I can get online, find it and reserve it for pick up when I want to see it.  I still have Netflix streaming and it's a great way to catch movies I missed, classics I love, series I never had the time to watch, or anything for the kids at a moments notice.  For me, Netflix is the best deal at the best price.... but it's not for everyone.  Wish people would stop complaining.  It's just like any other deal out there, if it's not for you, find the alternative that is!
Sep 19, 2011 10:01PM
Don't forget the 1000's of independent Video Stores out there. Fortunately for me I have a great indie store close to me. Over 30,000 titles and 1000's of games, Always have what I want and great knowledgeable employees. Plus they get new releases 28 days before redbox and blockbuster boxes and netflix. The boxes get 2-4 titles a week and my indie store gets 10-20 new titles every Tuesday. I love browsing thru the old "B" movie horror section.
Also I love blueray and 3D blueray on my big screen. All the streaming sites look terrible on my 60" HDTV. And buffering is unacceptable to me. I hoping for the return of the MOM & POP stores!

Sep 19, 2011 10:59PM
My indie store has been here for 26 years! Most of the blockbuster stores are closed. You must live in the city. Broadband offerings in rural areas don't don't have the speed. I will give my money to local businesses that treat their customers like family.   
Sep 19, 2011 11:17PM
Thanks to others for pointing some of the information left out of this article - I almost joined vudu until I saw that the charge for new releases is as much as 5.99!  That's almost a matinee at the theater!  Also, Blockbuster's 1-2-3 out at a time plans INCLUDES blu-ray AND games AND unlimited trade-ins at stores (for movies only, though).  Netflix charges extra to get blu-ray and doesn't have games (although the new site will, but, again, for extra $) So, if you're a blu-ray watcher and/or gamer, Blockbuster has the best all around plan for the $, I think (I really, really, never thought I would say that).
Sep 20, 2011 2:32PM
After seeing all the different options given here is painful to say that NETFLIX is still the best for your money. I know sucks.........
Sep 20, 2011 12:00AM
For our family, Netflix is still a good deal.  We have 3 kids still at home.  It keeps the son from asking if he can Pay-per-view movies, it lets my girls get the DVD's of the shows & movies they want-or they can stream it thru the Wii  (which the other services don't offer & I'm not going to go buy a different game system)  None of us like watching on the computer, so, for us, it just works.  NO, I'm not really happy about having to use 2 service providers now,  and I think Netflix as a company couldn't really care less about their customers, but until someone else offers a similar package that works for us...
Sep 20, 2011 1:00AM
avatar's not just msn.  it's also cnbc and most business channels.  you should have been shorting the stock when it was at $'s around $140 now and headed for $70-$110.  you might still be able to pick up some coin by shorting it tomorrow, but the main move is over.  btw...their price increase was absurd in this economy and now they are paying the price as their shares have plummeted 50% from their high of around $300.
Sep 20, 2011 1:59PM
To Netflix - How about renaming it "Ripster" instead of "Qwikster"? From a very unhappy 10 year subscriber!
Sep 20, 2011 7:54AM
Wow, really you guys? A company that offers whole seasons of shows which might even interest a pirate (for the sake of harddrive space) and the fact that its not under $10 is too much for you? I baby sit 30 hours a week minimum. I get paid $20 a week, and to watch all the movies from the last ten years at any times for that cheap sounds like polite pirating. Theres so much you can watch on netflix you can practically replace your TV provider which is probably charging you $50 a month minimum. But nah, it seems the collective of america is so cheap that MSN has to post alternatives because an extra $8 is crossing the damn line. Well america, you're beating the system. take your $8 and buy something meaningful....really, go do it.

-Anonymous 19 year old who thinks she knows the world

Sep 20, 2011 10:50AM
This is an example of how to screw up a company. I was on the two at a time $13.99 plan with the streaming.  I would maybe take 2 -3 DVD's a month. Now I am  paying $7.99 for streaming only.  Netflix just lost $6.00 a month.  Smart......
Sep 20, 2011 10:25AM

I'm cancelling as soon as my billing date arrives; well 1 day before.  Bye bye Netflix.  I am not a big TV buff, have no access to internet, nor streaming, and only got mailed DVD's which for about 3/mailed per month, isn't worth it to me ($3.00 per film).  Not a movie buff either, so not much of a loss for me.  I know that I am probably one of very few who is not bullied into any one of those legal cable thieves (Dish, Satelite, Direct, Comcast, Fairpoint, etc.).  In that way, I keep easily $200/month on fees in "my" pocket, plus as soon as the cell phone contract runs out (unlimited everything via Verizon) and I get NOTHING, not even email from my home for $175.00/month!!  Bye bye Droid in May and another $175.00 in my pocket, thank you!!  I don't know how people pay for all this B.S. 


A good HDTV antenna from Home Antenna is the best way to see TV still free, remember that??  Pitch for Home Antenna is ok, since for a measley $60/antenna, you can have TV w/o power outages, line problems, and everything that goes wrong with cable/satellite.  Thanx for reading...

Sep 20, 2011 1:17AM
While I did not appreciate the way I had to find out about the change in Netflix policy, I will stay with them.  I guess I'm getting old but I don't like the new releases there is to much violence and sex in the new stuff I prefer a good story.  Yes, I am guilty of watching the same shows over and over again.  I do wish they would get some new t.v. shows from the 60's of course.  But Netflix will keep me until I find something actually cheaper.
Sep 20, 2011 3:38PM
I, for one, don't see what all the fuss is about.  Gas goes up, groceries are ridiculous, and everyone complains about entertainment ?  Netflix is still the best bang for the buck.  Can you say late fees and having 24 hours to watch a movie with the other options?  And how many people are cheating Netflix by sharing their streaming?  Good Lord, my son was streaming Netflix movies with my account 600 miles away (he previously did that from his downstairs bedroom).  I have faith that Netflix will eventually have decent and newer streaming movies (and probably no mailed DVDs), IF they aren't forced to go under because everyone got so pissed off prematurely.  Sometimes it's better to stick around long enough to see what will happen rather than cutting off your nose to spite your face. 
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