You may have heard the news that Netflix will be discontinuing its long-running DVDs-by-mail service, with its final DVDs shipping in September of this year. Netflix’s mail service remains one of the few places you can still get movies and shows from a variety of studios in one place with a single subscription- even, surprisingly, “streaming original” shows on DVD or Blu-Ray.
For fans of physical media, there are still options available to rent DVDs and Blu-rays. Here we’ve compiled the best alternatives to Netflix’s DVD service.
This game rental service is probably the most similar to Netflix’s DVD service. Its primary focus is on renting video games but it also rents movies, too.
The downside here is that they do not rent TV shows, but perhaps that will change considering Netflix’s soon-to-be absence in the DVD market.
GameFly’s service works in a very similar way to Netflix’s by-mail service: you select the movie you want (or add it to your queue), it ships via First Class mail in about five business days, you can keep it for as long as you’d like with no late fee, and once you ship it back in the included envelope your next movie gets sent your way.
Here is the breakdown on their plans available. Each plan is monthly with no long-term commitment, which means you can cancel at any time.
Movies Only (DVD or Blu-ray)
- 1 disc at a time for $8.95/month (no 4K UHD). New customers can choose between 30 day free trial or $5/month for first 3 months offer.
- 1 disc at a time including 4K UHD for $13.95/month. New customers can choose between 30 day free trial or $8/month for first 3 months offer. Plan also includes $5 reward coupons.
- 2 discs at a time for $13.95/month (no 4K UHD). First three months are $8/month for new customers.
- 2 discs at a time for $18.95/month (includes 4K UHD). First three months are $11/month for new customers. Plan also includes $5 reward coupons.
Plans that include both movie AND game rentals range in price from $8.95/month to $29.95/month. You can find find out more details on their website here.
Yes the kiosks you walk past on the way into the grocery store are still very much in business, even if the company has gotten just as much into streaming as it is into discs.
Redbox is now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soup Entertainment, the same company behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul streaming service and Crackle. At a Redbox kiosk you can rent DVDs or Blu-rays for $2.25 per night or 4K UHD movies for $2.50 a night. You can reserve movies with the Redbox app and earn points for free rentals with Redbox Perks.
They do offer a yearly subscription called Redbox+, although there’s no plan that gets you unlimited rentals. $9.99/year gets you just one movie rental a month and $19.99/year gets you 24 rentals a year. It seems like with some tweaks this could be a much better deal, but for now the appeal of Redbox+ is limited.
Intriguingly enough, the CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has expressed interest in purchasing Netflix’s DVD business, although Netflix has indicated they are shuttering it down, not selling.
Your Local Library
Lots of people are sleeping on the value they can get from a local library. Whether it’s books, comics, magazines, music, or movies, there is a ton of media you can check out for low to no-cost.
In addition to services that let you stream movies for free through your library like OverDrive, Kanopy, and Hoopla, libraries typically offer physical copies of DVDs and Blu-rays for check out, too.
My local library allows you to check out up to 30 (!) DVDs for free for up to two weeks, only charging if items are lost or damaged.
The selection may be a little more limited, but you can always request a movie with a librarian or see if they can loan it from another library if something you’d like to watch is unavailable
Swap a DVD
Do you have a bunch of DVDs (or Blu-rays) that you wouldn’t mind “swapping” for new ones? This service allows you to post DVDs you’ve watched and swap them with other people.
How it works is you list your DVDs on their website and if someone is interested in your movie, they can request it. For every movie that you mail out to someone, you get a credit. Credits can be exchanged for movies other people have listed (along with a $0.49 fee that goes to the site). After you list your first ten DVDs you also get a free “gift” credit.
You’re responsible for paying the postage on the movies you mail out, although the website can provide a postage label for you to print out as a convenience.
Wait a minute, what? Yes, technically there exists just one lonely Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon after the company went bankrupt and closed all their stores.
The brand is still licensed to its parent company Dish Network, though. Recent activity from Blockbuster's official Twitter account and a new landing page for their website has set the internet abuzz that the company may relaunch.
Will Blockbuster get back into the DVD business now that Netflix is stepping aside? Time will tell.
Final Thoughts: Alternatives to Netflix’s DVD service
Do you still watch DVDs? Which of these services do you plan to use? Let us know in the comment section below!