Author Topic: Alternatives to Netflix?  (Read 7175 times)

nexus

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Alternatives to Netflix?
« on: August 09, 2016, 04:15:58 PM »
I've never had cable, but always subscribed to the streaming version of Netflix back when it was $7.99. Over the years the price raised to $8.75 and more recently it has jumped to $10.94 despite once receiving a letter saying my rate would never go up again. I haven't called and threaten to cancel yet, but wanted to know what other Mustachians have done.

I was doing some research on the Fire Stick, but discovered that you still need to have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime to receive some of their streaming services. Has anyone just connected it to Wi-Fi and been happy with the results?

I liked the idea of the Fire Stick because if I cancelled Netflix, it would pay for itself within 5 months if I bought the basic one for $49.99.

Other than just cancelling Netflix and looking for streaming content online, what else might my options be?

Many thanks!

Khaetra

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 04:38:11 PM »
If you are looking for a lot of free stuff, ditch the Fire and get a Roku.  Tons of free stuff like movies, shows, etc plus live news.

Helvegen

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 11:02:01 AM »
IDK, I still think $11 a month is pretty reasonable given that they now produce so many high quality shows of their own with no commercial interruption (a very big deal for us).

WSUCoug1994

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 11:15:33 AM »
I use Amazon fire devices.  I also store all of my digital media with Amazon - I have a reasonable movie collection but I rent most of my movies through amazon as well.  The interface is amazing but the free content for Amazon Prime (today) doesn't compare with Netflix.  It is getting better and will continue to improve but it is just not the same.  The free movies are good but there isn't much that is really current. 

I agree with with the comment above - $11/month for what netflix offers feels like a great deal to me.  If you do get a fire device I would not opt for the fire stick.  Because of the location of the HDMI/USB connections on most TV's I have struggled to maintain a good wifi signal.  I turned in my fire sticks and went with the Fire TV box instead which has a better wifi capability but also has the ethernet option (my house has ethernet in each room).

dcozad999

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2016, 11:27:37 AM »
I was an early cord cutter and have been with Netflix practically forever. I have never received a letter saying they would NEVER raise the price, and I'm pretty sure you never did either. What company would ever send out a letter like that?

What they did do was grandfather us in to the old rate for 2 years, which is now coming to an end. Yes it sucks to pay $3/month more, but it's still a bargain for all the content they give you.

With This Herring

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2016, 11:44:11 AM »
Well, you could split a Netflix subscription with a friend.  Last I knew, you could be logged in and streaming on a couple devices simultaneously.

How large is the DVD collection at your local library and in your library system?  In my area, they have a pretty decent set that is kept current.

nexus

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2016, 11:50:26 AM »
After posting this yesterday, I checked my account settings and somehow I have been subscribed to something along the lines of '2 HD streaming devices" which has a higher price point than the standard 1 device for $7.99. I re-selected the $7.99 option and it is set to take effect during the next billing cycle at the end of the month. Because this cheaper version doesn't indicate HD, I'll be interested to see if it has a lower quality display.

redbird

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2016, 12:04:16 PM »
Keep in mind that some TV you can legally watch online for free. I watch Survivor and The Amazing Race every season as a guilty pleasure sort of thing. I don't know if it'll change at some point because of CBS getting more hardcore about CBS All-Access, but right now, you can watch currently airing CBS shows on CBS.com for free. It's typically only the 5 most recent episodes or something like that which stay free, and everything else is moved to All-Access. I just watch each episode the day after it airs (when it first goes on the site) each week so I don't forget.

I used to watch a few NBC shows, and at the time they did a similar thing. I don't know if they still do.

The only things I currently pay for are Amazon Prime (the video choices are very mediocre, but it's more than worth it to me for the other benefits too) and the small TV package Comcast gave me for free with my internet service. I have local channels and HBO. I did not even hook up the cable box and just stream that stuff online. (Yes, I understand technically I'm paying for that, but the package price I got was cheaper than internet alone.)

mskyle

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2016, 12:18:36 PM »
We subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, which is definitely more than we need. Netflix has a lot of exclusive content that I like - in the last month or so we watched the series Stranger Things and Lady Dynamite, and I definitely feel like we got our $10 worth there. I also loved Jessica Jones.

As for alternatives -
* Right now I'm getting free Vudu credits every week from T-Mobile and using those to buy episodes of TV I want to watch but can't get for free on the other services, so that might be an alternative if you have T-Mobile
* Obviously there's also the public library for DVDs
* An OTA antenna will get you a lot of current shows, but I've gotten so used to not watching commercials I don't want to go back

I feel like if I wanted to pay more attention, I could probably put my various subscriptions on hold at different times and probably only pay half as much in the end, since we tend to binge on shows - why pay for Netflix when we're catching up on Game of Thrones on a different service; why pay for Hulu when the shows we watch there are mostly off until fall? But I never actually do this because it seems like kind of a pain in the ass.

rgregory

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 12:27:25 PM »
I re-selected the $7.99 option and it is set to take effect during the next billing cycle at the end of the month. Because this cheaper version doesn't indicate HD, I'll be interested to see if it has a lower quality display.

The base or cheapest version of Netflix doesn't include HD quality. The cheaper plan with no HD is a new option that came out after the price hike I believe.

RedBaron3

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2016, 12:39:31 PM »
We sign up for HBO Now for 3 months a year for Game of Thrones (and as many movies as we can fit in), usually getting the first month free with a trial.  We currently have no active subscription (cancelled with expiration date of 7/8/2016) but HBO Go keeps working so I'm not complaining...
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 07:24:03 PM by RedBaron3 »

ketchup

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2016, 12:41:44 PM »
I have Prime and a friend has Netflix; we share both accounts.  I'd definitely say Netflix has a better selection of things I care about, but Amazon does have a few excellent shows available (The Wire comes to mind).

BlueHouse

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2016, 01:24:03 PM »
I'm dumping Netflix because I spend too much time in front of the boob tube and I just spent 80 hours of my life watching Sons of Anarchy and SOMEONE REALLY IMPORTANT DIES A VERY VIOLENT DEATH AND I DON'T WANT TO WATCH ANYMORE EVER AGAIN.

dignam

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2016, 02:06:54 PM »
$11/month is perfectly acceptable to me for the amount of shows and movies available.  I haven't paid for cable since I was in college.  My friend and I split subscriptions (I got the better end of the deal; I have his cable login so I can stream live ESPN, etc.).

Very cheap entertainment, IMO.  Granted it's not always best to spend so much time in front of the TV...

As far as alternatives?  You're not going to get much cheaper than that.  Unless you check things out from the library or something.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 02:08:47 PM by dignam »

Nothlit

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2016, 02:13:03 PM »
Because $8.75 and $10.94 are not standard Netflix rates, I can only assume those are "with tax" rates in a state that charges sales tax on streaming video subscriptions. The tax rate appears to be 9.5%. So even when you were paying $8.75 you were technically on the $7.99 Netflix plan. I highly doubt Netflix told you that your rates would "never go up again" - that is not a thing that businesses typically say. What you may be remembering is a notice that was sent out about two years ago to people on the $7.99 plan indicating that you would be grandfathered in at that rate for two years, even as Netflix slowly raised their rate for brand new subscribers to $8.99 and subsequently $9.99. That grandfather period just expired. For reference, here is the text of the email I received in 2014 about this:

Quote
In order to continue adding more movies and TV shows, we are increasing our price from $7.99 to $8.99 for new members. As a thank you for being a member of Netflix already, we guarantee that your plan and price will not change for two years.

And then a subsequent email I received last month:

Quote
When we raised prices for new Netflix members in 2014, we kept your price the same for two years. Your special pricing is now ending and as of _(redacted date here)_ your new price will be $9.99 per month.

No surprises here, and no broken promises, as far as I can see. I remain subscribed because I find $10/month to be a good value for the amount and kind of content that I find to enjoy on Netflix.

The 1-device $7.99 plan you have now subscribed to has been around for a while. I think it was $5.99 or $6.99 before. It is limited to standard def only.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 02:20:40 PM by Nothlit »

Lanthiriel

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2016, 02:38:15 PM »
For me, Netflix is worth every penny of the $7.99 I spent for regular SD streaming (which is what I've always had because YAY data caps up here in the Great Land). I recently made the husband pick between Hulu and Crunchy Roll, and he went with unlimited Japanese insanity (girls fighting as the reincarnations of battleships, anyone?). I think that brings our total TV costs to $15/mo or $180/year, which seems almost obscenely low for how much time these two introverts spend in separate rooms watching TV.

more4less

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2016, 02:54:48 PM »
Just torrent this stuff, bro. As a side effect you don't need much bandwidth to stream stuff on demand.

Spiffy

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2016, 02:59:29 PM »
I have Acorn TV for $49.95 per year. You can also go monthly for $4.99. It is all British shows, documentaries, mysteries, etc. I love it.

FLBiker

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2016, 03:04:39 PM »
Just torrent this stuff, bro. As a side effect you don't need much bandwidth to stream stuff on demand.

+1.  That's what we've always done, although we watch virtually nothing since DD was born 1.5 years ago.

lightmyfire

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2016, 04:51:59 PM »
I'm dumping Netflix because I spend too much time in front of the boob tube and I just spent 80 hours of my life watching Sons of Anarchy and SOMEONE REALLY IMPORTANT DIES A VERY VIOLENT DEATH AND I DON'T WANT TO WATCH ANYMORE EVER AGAIN.

Lol, I've been checking out Sons of Anarchy from the library and just reached the same hurdle. It's pretty bleak, my friend...

galliver

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2016, 05:53:19 PM »
Surprised no one has brought up antennas yet. If you're part of the 80% (?) of the US living in urban areas, you should get a good number of channels. Of course, on their schedule.

Another idea if you don't watch much (and have a smartphone, I think) is to do Google Rewards surveys and buy tv/movies with your credits to watch on computer/phone (or get a Chromecast if you want). Also depends on how you feel about giving away that information, of course.

(Disclaimer: I do have Netflix, actually. And bf has Prime, Hulu, and HBO. I'd give up the last 2 given how much (little) we use them outside GOT season, but it's his subscriptions-his choice. Netflix would be the last one I'd give up.)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2016, 05:55:17 PM by galliver »

Oldsmobile

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2016, 06:47:48 PM »
I use my old laptop, an old hard drive, and software to make my own private Netflix.  Use MakeMKV to rip your DVD library, and Kodi to play it back.  netflix-like interface, easy to use, and it beats swapping physical discs.   It does require a bit of technical know-how and/or comfort with learning new things.

DVDs are also getting cheap at yard sales and flea markets; I've gotten movies and tv shows for fifty cents or a dollar.  Those make cheap additions to the library. 

But TV is more of a wintertime thing at my place; I'm usually working on something versus watching TV.

Oh, and a TV antenna is definitely worth investigating.  I can watch my two shows a week with an antenna and that keeps me quite satisfied.

FLBiker

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #22 on: August 11, 2016, 05:15:41 AM »
Surprised no one has brought up antennas yet. If you're part of the 80% (?) of the US living in urban areas, you should get a good number of channels. Of course, on their schedule.

Good point.  This is what we do for live TV (sports), and the occasional PBS kids show for DD.  We used to torrent a few cable dramas (Mad Men, GOT) before DD was born.

kenaces

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #23 on: August 11, 2016, 10:38:04 AM »
koditv

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #24 on: August 11, 2016, 11:23:41 AM »
Check and see if your local library system has the Hoopla service.   Stream movies and tv shows for free with your library card number..

www.hoopladigital.com



« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 02:49:02 PM by Koogie »

robartsd

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #25 on: August 11, 2016, 12:39:51 PM »
* An OTA antenna will get you a lot of current shows, but I've gotten so used to not watching commercials I don't want to go back
It's not all that hard to set up your own DVR - just requires a computer with a TV card (or networked tuner) and a lot of disk space. I currently use MythTV (which can be a little bit of a pain to set up) on Debian, but previously used Media Center on Vista. MythTV has commercial detection (not perfect, but pretty good) and can record all the program streams from a carrier signal simultaneously from a tuner (don't know if later versions of Media Center have learned this DTV trick). My system started with a thrift store computer (Core 2 Duo) with a TV tuner purchased in 2011 (~$100). A 22" TV serves as monitor (~$100). We added a 3TB external drive (~$100) prior to the 2012 London games and a 3TB internal drive (~$100) when the old internal was failing. In our area about 20 channels of English programming (not counting religious or shopping channels) can be pulled in with a cheap indoor antenna (~$30). Between OTA TV and library DVD's we have plenty to watch.

RedBaron3

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2016, 01:12:24 PM »
Check and see if your local library system has the Hoopla service.   Stream movies and tv shows for free with your library card number..

Wow this is pretty great, and my library is supported.  I never heard of it before. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 07:22:24 PM by RedBaron3 »

DoubleNickels

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2016, 02:42:29 PM »
Check and see if your local library system has the Hoopla service.   Stream movies and tv shows for free with your library card number..

https://www.hoopladigital.com/home

I agree with the person above. I had no idea and my library offers 10 free titles a month.   However, check your PM.

retiringearly

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #28 on: August 11, 2016, 02:57:20 PM »
koditv

This.

Kodi kicks ass.  It takes a while to understand it but it kicks ass once you understand it.  I loaded it on my pc and I also have it loaded on an Amazon Firestick.

https://kodi.tv/
https://www.thrillist.com/tech/nation/kodi-black-market-netflix-is-the-ultimate-streaming-hack

retiringearly

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #29 on: August 11, 2016, 03:00:28 PM »
Check and see if your local library system has the Hoopla service.   Stream movies and tv shows for free with your library card number..

www.hoopladigital.com
Nice!  Thanks!

JimLahey

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2016, 10:59:12 PM »
I don't think threatening to cancel Netflix works quite like it does with cable. It's a month to month subscription. I have had Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and Amazon. I have kept Netflix. I think it has the best format and is still reasonably priced even with the price hike. Which i'm perfectly fine with if it means they can turn out more original content. A lot of their original shows are pretty solid. I have basic cable at the moment but only because it's included in my rent. I'm closing on a house next month and the only option I will have other than antenna is Dish or DirecTV. I can't even get cable internet. The best I can get is DSL. So I plan on getting DSL, an Xbox One TV tuner, and keeping Netflix. I actually watch quite a bit of content on YouTube. Specifically there are fishing and hunting channels that I watch. There's also a subreddit for movies on YouTube called /r/fullmoviesonyoutube. Hoopla is another option if your library offers it. Not to mention checking out physical media from the library.

Trudie

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2016, 08:35:27 AM »
+1 for Roku

Public libraries are upping their game with DVD collections.  So, free...

BTDretire

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Re: Alternatives to Netflix?
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2016, 09:07:23 PM »
koditv

This.

Kodi kicks ass.  It takes a while to understand it but it kicks ass once you understand it.  I loaded it on my pc and I also have it loaded on an Amazon Firestick.

https://kodi.tv/
https://www.thrillist.com/tech/nation/kodi-black-market-netflix-is-the-ultimate-streaming-hack
Yes Kodi, I have it loaded on a Raspberry Pi 2.
 I have a friend that is more technically savvy then myself. He helped me.
If I had taken the time to read and watched a few Youtube videos, I probably could have got it configured, but I didn't need to.
There are thousands of programs, movies, documentaries and much more.
https://kodi.tv/