By Noah Henry • July 16, 2014
To put it bluntly, Netflix is the deserved king of movie and TV streaming. Its expansive and eclectic selection is second to none and certainly worth the $7.99 a month. There’s a reason why over 48 million people across the planet choose Netflix as their provider of entertainment for long weekends and kickback weekdays.
Daily Finance says Netflix is still a bargain, even after they unveiled in April they would increase the monthly cost by a buck for new subscribers. But for those who can’t grapple with the idea of paying more or simply want to know what else is out there, rest assured, there are cheaper options.
Cheaper Alternatives to Netflix
$8.25 a month
Considering somewhere in the ballpark of 20 million people have Amazon Prime, it’s likely you already have access to Amazon Instant Video. If you’re biting your fingernails over Netflix’s price hike, don’t worry, you have nearly two years to decide whether to drop your membership. As a service that is cost-beneficial to virtually every paying consumer, it guarantees free two-day shipping, over a million free songs, and over 500,000 free e-books—and oh yeah, a Netflix-esque video streaming service which offers thousands of movies and television shows. With Amazon announcing its licensing agreement with HBO in April, and subsequent classic shows and movies like “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” hitting the Prime library, it certainly raises the stakes and places Amazon Instant Video into superior territory.
$7.99 a month
If you have no qualms about watching the occasional commercial with your movies, Hulu Plus wins for the cheapest service. We don’t see any price increases in the near future, either. As a Hulu subscriber I’m consistently impressed by its vast library of television shows, which is perhaps its most distinguishing asset. TV junkies will appreciate its status as the streaming service with the most current-run episodes in comparison to Netflix and Amazon. This could come as convenient if you’ve seen the first few seasons of a show and want to catch the latest episodes as they’re airing on TV.
$0.99 to $5.99
If you’re someone who likes to watch movies only every so often, VUDU is one of the cheapest services streaming on a pay-per-view basis. There are more than 17,000 movies and TV shows available in Blu-ray quality, and these titles span from $.99 to $5.99. As opposed to Netflix, which makes available new commercial releases after 28 days of going to DVD or Blu-ray, VUDU offers a much shorter wait. When you sign for a VUDU either on its proprietary website or at Walmart (Walmart acquired VUDU in 2010), you can pick five free digital movies to own as a welcome.
Another streaming service with a helping of quality content and only a bit of advertising is Crackle. In contrast to the previously mentioned services, Crackle is free. It houses a limited yet rotating selection of movies and television along with exclusives like Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” It certainly doesn’t hurt to add Crackle to your saddlebag of entertainment go-to’s, as Crackle has provided me a good deal of relief from other streaming services that momentarily couldn’t cut it.
So long as you have a library card, you’re free to watch television and movies courtesy of your local library. Founded in January 2013, Hoopla partners with hundreds of libraries across the country—in big municipalities and small—syncing your library card with a sweet selection of free titles. Movies and TV shows are available for 72 hours, or three days, after borrowing. If there’s no Hoopla in your area, request it from your local library; call, write letters, urgently plead, whatever. There’s nothing better than a free flick.
It’s likely you’ve wondered whether YouTube itself is streaming your favorite movie. See for yourself at YouTube Movies. Although the library might remind one of a yard sale, it does contain some classics like Hellraiser II and Nosferatu. Hit it up if you’re tired of viewing vines and cat videos.
Founded in 1999 under Screen Media Ventures, one of the largest independent distributors of motion pictures in the world, Popcorn Flix offers what appears to be a nerdist’s lifetime collection of trashy indie films, cult classics and horror flicks riddled with hijinks. For instance, there’s a movie called Psycho Shark in there. No doubt Tara Reid is the most popular actress in the library. Still, Popcorn Flix would make an excellent rainy day refuge for tasteful couples and best-worst movie junkies.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!