Sigh. Netflix just raised their prices. Instead of paying $10 per month for unlimited DVD-rental and streaming, the same level of service will now cost $16 per month, which translates to a 60% rate hike, from $120 per year (manageable) to $192 per year (ridiculous). In a bow to our budget, Joshua, my husband, has decided to ditch his subscription. But Joshua has been traveling some for business and he likes watching old movies when he's not at home, and well, I hate that he has to give that up. I've been researching some free or low-cost alternative to Netflix. While there doesn't seem to be an exact or better replacement solution to Netflix, some of these aren't so bad, and maybe in combination, they might fill the Netflix gap. Here's what I've come up with so far:
- GreenCine: Their plans start at $9.95 per month, which lets you take out one DVD at a time. Most on-demand rentals are $5 for 30 days, and you download the movie on DivX rather than stream. They have a great selection of independent and foreign films but unless you stick to the one video at a time plan, they are pricey. No streaming movies or tv.
- Crackle: A free, streaming only movie and TV library owned by Sony. No registration required, but you do have to sit through the occasional mindless advertisements. The library is not extensive but it is growing. You can watch on your laptop, iPhone, iPad or Android. No DVD rental yet.
- Hulu Plus: $7.99 per month for streaming movies and tv. Some shows come with commercials, which is a definite minus. No DVD rental yet. Movie selections available are good, not great. Happily, you can try Hulu Plus out for a month for free to see if you like it.
- Amazon Prime: For $79 per year ($6.60 per month) we can subscribe to Amazon Instant Video service. It offers no DVD rental but it does have a semi-decent (sort of) selection of streaming movies and tv shows. The on-demand shows are about $4 each per view. Of course, nothing to do with the video service, but this also comes with free shipping on all Amazon purchases, which is a huge perk. The greatest plus to going with Amazon Instant Video is that 1) we can pay for it with free Amazon gift cards that we earned from Swagbucks or 2) we can pay for it with reward credits from our Amazon Visa, so as long as we had these, there would no ding on our budget at all.