NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Netflix announced a major price hike Tuesday, raising the monthly rate for online streaming and one DVD at a time by mail from $9.99 to a combined $16. The rate change goes into effect immediately for new customers, and existing customers will see their rates change in September.
The reaction from Netflix (Stock Quote: NFLX) subscribers to this 60% price hike was immediate and predictable. “Dear Netflix” became a trending topic on Twitter, and many of the tweets read more like “Dear John” letters. Meanwhile, a poll conducted among TheStreet readers found only 10% were willing to pay for both DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming. While the price hike will allow the company to realize better margins, it’s also going to lose some customers to one of the many competing services.
If you’re one of the customers thinking of jumping ship, here are a few of your options.
While Netflix streams movies or mails DVDs to you, Redbox actually requires you to get in your car and pick up the DVD from one of the company’s red vending machines. The selection isn’t as good with Redbox, especially if there aren’t many locations nearby (each box holds only 700 DVDs, while Netflix has a library of more than 100,000 titles). But Redbox charges only $1 per day for a DVD rental, so if you only rent a couple of movies a month and get them back in a timely manner, it’s the better bet. If on the other hand you like to rent several movies a month and don’t always get them back in a timely manner, you’re better off choosing one of Netflix’s plans.
If you mainly used Netflix to rent TV shows, you might consider switching to Hulu’s premium service. In addition to new episodes of current TV shows, Hulu Plus also has a massive back catalog of old TV shows. It costs $7.99 a month, the same price you’ll pay for unlimited Netflix streaming without DVDs by mail. If you still like to get a lot of movies you should probably stick with Netflix, but if you want to be able to watch old episodes of Airwolf whenever you want, consider making the jump to Hulu. Like Netflix, it can stream to your TV via devices such as Roku and video game consoles such as the Xbox 360. It does not have a DVD-by-mail option.