Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Was A Netflix Fan (options)

I've been a happy Netflix subscriber since December 2004.  Yesterday was the first day I shopped around.

They raised my rate from $11.99 per month to $17.98 per month starting September 1.  This irked me because of the significant increase.  And, according to several news sources, I'm not the only one irked.

So, yesterday and today I went shopping.  Basically, for $11.99 I was getting the 1 DVD at a time + Blu Ray and unlimited streaming.  With their new plan, the 1 DVD at a time + Blu Ray would cost me $9.99 and the unlimited streaming would cost me $7.99.

Could I split the things, cancel Netflix and save money?  First, I checked my Amazon Prime trial account.  For $79/year I get unlimited streaming from "some" Amazon titles.  None of the shows I've been watching via Netflix are available on Amazon Prime.  So, I'll cancel my Amazon Prime account.

Hulu had a very similar selection as Netflix for streaming.  How much does Hulu cost?  $7.99 per month.  No savings there so stick with Netflix?  Of course, I could cancel Netflix just on principle.  I've always thought very highly of their service for the price and now they jack my rates by 60%.

Okay, how about physical DVD's?  Red Box allows you to go to a vending machine and rent movies for a $1.  With the one at a time plan, I have the convenience of having a movie mailed to me so I don't have to go to the store.  I usually see 2 physical DVD's per week.  That's about 8 per month which would be $8 on Red Box so I could possibly save $2 per month.  That's not bad.  However, you miss the fine print.  They charge $1.50 for Blu Ray titles.  You get charged for every night you keep the movie.  If you pick it up and then can't watch it because of some unforeseen circumstance, you end up paying an extra night's rental.  It could quickly run out of control.  The convenience of not having these worries is probably worth the extra $2 per month if you are intent on watching physical DVD's.

Blockbuster has a mail order plan.  How much is it?  $11.99 per month for 1 DVD at a time + Blu Ray.  Blockbuster allows you to bring DVD's into a physical location to trade them out, but where's the convenience in that?  I've also heard Blockbuster is close to being no more.  It's kind of a shame if that's the case.  They are the only ones capable of competing with Netflix at this time.

I could just quit watching all together.  It's probably a big waste of time.  But, I'm on episode 13 of 111 in the Ally McBeal series.  I'm almost done with Spartacus.  I just started watching all the Star Trek movies.  I just started season 3 of True Blood.  I don't know that I can just give it up like that.

If I wanted to "stick it" to Netflix I could switch to Hulu Plus and Red Box.  It'd probably be cheaper if I was pedantic with my Red Box rentals.  Red Box would also give me the ability to go pick up a movie on a whim.

So there it is.  If you are irritated with the new Netflix pricing structure, switch to Red Box for physical rentals which gives you the convenience of spontaneously picking something up when necessary and Hulu for streaming.

Maybe I should start my own service and compete with Netflix.  I could start small and only do online and physical DVD's to the Dallas area.  Eventually, I could expand.  Maybe even offer games.  I could call it DigiGar.  Then I'd have something to do with my old domain name.

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