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Netflix announced it was planning to split its DVD/Blu-Ray rent by mail and online streaming services back in early September. The mail delivery service was branded as Qwikster and video games would be made available for rent as well. Since then the plan was called off and entry into the video game rental market was put on hold as many customers opposed the split.
Subscribers did not like the idea of having to visit a different website and mange a second account to rent movies or video games. Netflix’s stock price has been steadily dropping since the 60% price hike in July and loss of 800,000 subscribers in the last quarter despite the firm’s profits.
Shareholders were also not happy as Netflix would have to spend millions to launch Qwikster when consumers have already established Netflix as a rent by mail service under the Netflix brand. With Netflix’s missteps that leaves one begging the question, is there a legitimate alternative to Netflix?
Angry Netflix users have been on the lookout for something new and there might just be a replacement depending on their viewing habits. Online streaming services like iTunes and VUDU have no monthly fee but the bill will quickly add up from just a few purchases as each rental will cost around $0.99 to $5.99 depending on what it is.
The content per dollar ratio is probably not what Netflix users are looking for. Amazon Prime Instant video and Hulu Plus are much more viable alternatives as they allow unlimited streaming for a monthly fee.
Amazon Prime has the smallest selection but also has the lowest price at $79 a year, and offered a discounted price for college students that subscribed earlier this year, but Amazon has not stated if it will offer that deal year after year. Amazon Prime also has content for rental much like VUDU and iTunes.
Hulu concentrates more on what is current on television offering a free option that allows users to see five episodes of a show’s current season, movies, and in standard definition. Hulu Plus gives access to full seasons, a better selection of movies, and in high definition for $7.99 a month. Hulu uploads episodes a day after it airs on television giving it an edge over Netflix’s usual 28 day wait.
There really is no widely accepted alternative to Netflix at the moment. For $7.99 a month Netflix offers the biggest online streaming selection in movies and television. Hulu Plus is definitely better than Netflix for television fans but it is the other way around for movie buffs.
As much as people argue which is better to have Hulu Plus or Netflix (even though they have some of the same content available) at the moment they should be considered compliments and not substitutes of each other.