If the recent Netflix price hike has you looking for a better value for DVD rental by mail, you might check out GreenCine (same $19.95 price as Netflix used to be, with a focus on independent films, documentaries, and anime, although they also carry mainstream films) or Wal-Mart's service, which starts at $15.54 for a two-out service (you can get a four-out service for a whole penny less than Netflix's new rate).
If either of these other services don't use the impossible envelopes patented by NetFlix, that would be a real incentive to switch. I hate those things. Anyone know?
Apparently some people are getting a lower price out of Netflix by canceling. That's kind of sneaky and makes Netflix look bad, in my estimation.
Other than the sneakiness and the envelopes, though, I'm mostly okay with the price hike, as I view Netflix more as competition for the $40-a-month DirecTV movie channel package rather than for the local Blockbuster or Hollywood. I know from personal experience that I just won't go to the video store very often, but with TiVo and the satellite movie channels I could program a wishlist for movies I was interested in while they were still in the theater and nab them automatically when they hit HBO or Starz. What sold me on Netflix was that they do list movies while they're still in the theater and let you add them to your queue, so I can do basically the same thing I'd been doing with the TiVo.
Given that I was paying $40 for the DirecTV movie channels, I would probably pay up to $30 a month for a service like Netflix. But it's nice to see some alternatives. Maybe one of the other guys can figure out how to turn a profit with this business model (Netflix lost $5.8 million last quarter). If anyone can do that, I bet Wal-Mart can.
Revised April 27