By this time you probably know that Netflix has been forced to increase their prices by sixty percent in order to remain profitable after Hollywood decided to kill the golden goose (e.g., jack up the prices that Netflix has to pay for streaming movies and rental DVDs). My wife is adamant that we’re going to cancel our Netflix subscription altogether because of this. I don’t have to live with Netflix, so I’ll live without them.
But what will replace our instant-gratification streaming movies and cheap DVD rentals?
Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that Blockbuster is not an option; they’ve just closed the local store in my home town, and I don’t trust them to stay in business long enough to deliver any streaming video after they get my money, so buh-bye Blockbuster, it’s been real.
What about Hulu Plus? Nah. One basic rule: Never pay to watch commercials (cable or satellite doesn’t count, you’re paying them for signal, not content). Besides, even the most recent experience I’ve had with Hulu tells me that they don’t understand how to design a streaming video client that works well on anything less than a Cray, or a HAL 9000.
So what else is out there?
- The free version of Hulu. Not my first choice, but let’s just get it out of the way. Not available for Roku (yet). Works (for some values of “works”) on PCs.
- Redbox for DVDs, although they’ve had to increase prices, too, from 99 cents to $1.15 per night.
- A quick look at Amazon Video On Demand shows me that they have most of what I’d be willing to pay for, and mostly at reasonable rates. In fact, Amazon Prime members don’t pay extra for quite a few of the shows and movies I’d be interested in seeing. Amazon Prime works out to about $6.58 per month (it’s quoted as “$79/year”), so that’s even less than the Netflix streaming-only option under the new price structure, at $7.99/month. Supports Roku and PC.
- E-Z-Takes offers both sale and rental of “hard to find” video, both streaming and downloadable (which can then be burned to DVD).
- Crackle.com (mentioned here previously) has movies, TV, and original content for free (ad-supported, with considerably fewer ads than prime-time TV). They have a new Android app, too, in addition to the PC and Roku options.
- First on Mars has a pretty good line-up of broadcast TV series. PC only as near as I can tell.
- eclipse.tv works with Google Chrome, Firefox, Google TV, and Ubuntu to bring you streaming video.
- YouTube Movies offers full-length videos on a pay-per-view basis, including free and 99 cent rentals.
- Boxee either as a downloaded and installed program on your Mac, PC, or Linux system, or the Boxee Box. This gives you centralized access to all sorts of streaming video as well as local content (on your hard drive or local area network).
So, I will miss Netflix, but not that much. It’s not like there’s a whole lot of content coming out of Hollywood that’s worth watching, anyhow.