Looking for the best alternatives to Netflix? Check out these apps and channels
If you’ve been searching for an alternative to Netflix, there’s a lot out there to consider.
I’ve cobbled together a list worth looking over. Some of my research led to unexpected results.
The biggest surprise?
Gamefly, the popular video game subscription service. It offers new movies and in old-school Netlfix style by mailing movies to your home. You can get a movie or two a month along with games during its 90-day promotions, which costs the same price as Netflix subscriptions.
Look, there’s no doubt that Netflix is king.
With shows like “Stranger Things” and “Making A Murderer”, Netflix showed a willingness to defy the old expectations of network and cable television.
Competitors were forced to step up their game, and we all benefit from higher quality programming. That doesn’t make Netflix or even Amazon Video the last stop for finding great movies. After a while, anything can get kind of stale.
One of the greatest benefits to being a cord cutter is being able to hop around and try out different kinds of subscriptions.
Cord cutters are always searching for value in what they’re being offered. Anyone who tells you that cord cutters are either disinterested Millennials, or disenfranchised cable customers angry about their bill just doesn’t get it. No need to get upset about it. They probably have own anger issues to work out. I’ll be focused on getting more entertainment while saving some cash.
Is Gamefly worth it?
It takes a while for me to work through hours of a game, especially one I am really enjoying. So renting a game – even without the penalty of a late fee – seems counterintuitive.
Reverse engineer what you use Gamefly for by using it as a movies-first rental option, then it might be a better value for you. Like I said, Gamefly mails movies (including Blu-ray) to your home. All the new movies that you see at a Redbox are up for grabs.
Want to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this week?
With Redbox, you’ll have to compete with everyone else who wants to see Rogue One within a three mile radius of your crib. You can buy it from Google Play, Vudu or Amazon for $20.
But if you take advantage of Gamefly’s current discounted trials, the price is essentially the same as a month of Netflix. And you will get a video game rental as well.
Depending on what promotion you choose, you can essentially get a movie or two a month sent your way. At the same time, you will be able to try out a game that you’re interested in.
Being able to try out a game before you buy it (even if you’re getting it used) is a real value to me. I definitely don’t want to be one of those dudes you see standing around in Target. You know who I’m talking about. They go to store display of an Xbox One or PlayStation 4, stand legs apart so they’re taking up the whole aisle. You can’t get by them and have to walk around to the next aisle.
They spend the next 45 minutes at the console, picking their nose and breathing heavy all over the game controller. They fall into a daze of gameplay, forgetting completely that they’re not at home. (Loser.)
Try a discounted 3-month trial at Gamefly then cancel if you don’t like the full price afterward. You’ll automatically broaden your options.
Best alternatives to Netflix for horror
You can find dozens of horror movies on Netflix, but if you’re a horror aficionado, you are probably going elsewhere. Shudder has a nice mix of newer horror movies — what I would consider “serious” horror that focuses on story, and flicks on the campy side. Shudder has a free 7-day trial if you’re interested in checking it out. It costs $6.99 per month for a subscription. Even if you only watch a couple movies a month from it, you are definitely coming out ahead compared to trying to find something on Redbox.
Sundance Now: best alternative to Netflix for indie movies
This subscription-based app was among the first real gems I found in my search for alternatives to Netflix.
Sundance Now is a couple of bucks cheaper than Netflix. In exchange, you will get exclusive films that cover every genre that you can imagine. Comedy, crime & suspense and international films are among the genres.
Every year, you will hear about a movie or two that will get a lot of buzz at a major film festival then get picked up by a major studio. Some of those movies will wind up at your local movie theater. Depending on what’s going on in your life at the time, you might get out to the theater. You might not.
Where did that great movie go?
You might be able to find it at Amazon Video. What Sundance Now offers is a better chance to discover all the other great movies you missed. There are only seven genres within in Sundance Now. The lack of horror films is noticeable. But AMC, the parent company of Sundance Now also has horror-exclusive app called Shudder.
Sundance Now offers a free 7-day trial. It costs $6.99 per month, but you can get a 16 percent discount if you pay for it annually.
If you an Amazon Prime customer, you can also try out the Sundance Now channel for free via Amazon Channels.
What are Amazon Channel subscriptions?
If you’re already an Amazon Prime customer, you can essentially create a customized a la carte channel lineup.
Amazon Channels are essentially add-on subscriptions that you can stream via Amazon Video. So the days of needing a cable subscription for HBO are over. Same is true for channels like Cinemax or Showtime. If you are not an Amazon Prime customer, you can try it free for 30 days
But subscribing to the popular channels cost a bit more than $9.99 per month. So I’m all about finding options that cost a little less to be a legit alternative to Netflix. Here’s a short list of value-added prospects.
Amazon Channels is a cheaper Netflix alternative
Tribeca Shortlist: You’re always searching for movie recommendations. How about an entire channel with award-winning movies selected by some of the best actors and directors in the business? Stream all you want for only $4.99 per month, but check it out first with a free 7-day trial.
History Vault: Take a deep dive into History Channel produced programming. This channel is full of non-fiction historical series such as “The Men Who Built America” and “Engineering An Empire” and “American Civil War: Brother vs Brother”. History Vault costs $4.99 per month and has a free trial.
Acorn TV: If you peruse the current Netflix catalog, you’ll notice a wide variety of programming comes from across the pond. Netflix and PBS aren’t the only games in town when it comes to U.K.-based programming. Acorn TV has a wide selection of British films and short series. You can also find series like Martin Clunes’ Islands of Australia. Acorn TV is $4.99 per month, and has a free trial.
ComicCon HQ: Even if you’ve never been to the annual convention in San Diego, the Comic Con HQ channel has plenty to offer. Action movies, superhero tales, horror flicks and documentaries are all here. You’ll see plenty of comedies too. There are lots of titles you’ll recognize and new ones as well. ComiCon HQ is $4.99 per month, and has a free trial.
Magnolia Select: If you’re looking for some unique horror and thriller movies, Magnolia Select has a solid lineup. There are also independently produced comedies and great documentaries. It’s worth perusing their catalog because some titles you simply rent instead of subscribing. Magnolia Select is $4.99 per month and has a free trial.
How do I get a free trial of Amazon Prime?
But you get more than just two-day shipping for your packages. Your benefits include unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, and access to the Amazon Music catalog, a competitor to services like Spotify.
What do you think are the best Netflix alternatives? Leave a comment below and share with fellow readers.