Top 9 Ways to Rent Movies: Your Movie Rental Service Guide

Top 9 Ways to Rent Movies: Your Movie Rental Service Guide

Save money by watching movies at home.

Make sure to consider all Netflix alternatives for your movie night!

We may have said "Hasta la vista, baby" to the late fees, overpriced rentals, and the inconvenience of video stores, but most of us are still learning how to find our way through the ever-evolving DVD rental world. With all the recent buzz and drama surrounding video streaming and rental services you must be wondering, "Which service is right for me?" And most importantly, "Which movie rental service keeps the most cash in my pocket?" Which is why we compiled a guide of the top 10 movie rental services to help make this decision a little easier for you and your wallet. For your consideration, here are the nominees...

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Price: The Amazon Prime service is $79/year. It allows you to ship all Amazon orders for free or expedite shipping at a discounted rate. With this membership, you also get unlimited streaming movies and TV shows to computer, Xbox 360, Roku Streaming Player, Blu-ray players, select HD TVs, Google TV, and TiVo.
Pros: Unlimited instant video streaming, unlimited FREE 2-day shipping with any size order, and one-day shipping for $3.99 per item.
Cons: Smaller movie and television show selection than its main competitor, Netflix. However, Amazon Instant Video is expected to expand their movie and TV show collection. Amazon Instant Video is the best Netflix alternative.
Bonus: 1 month free trial!
Best suited for: Amazon shoppers. If you love to shop on Amazon, paying the $79 a year for unlimited free shipping is majorly worth it! Plus, if you are a movie lover, and already have a device to stream videos on, this service is perfect for you.

Apple TV

Price: $99 for Apple TV console; movie and TV show rentals run $0.99-$4.99 each
Pros: The Apple TV console streams Netflix, HD movies, TV shows, live MLB games, and includes NBA scores and highlights. This console also can play movies, TV shows, and music from your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.
Cons: You will still need to pay for movie and TV rentals on an individual basis, or for an instant streaming service like Netflix.
Best suited for: Apple Aficionados. Loyalists to the Apple brand will greatly appreciate the ease and sleekness of this device. Also, if you do not plan on buying a gaming console or Blu-ray player, this is one of the cheapest streaming device options. For only $7.99/month for streaming videos via Netflix, the need for actual DVDs and Blu-rays becomes obsolete.

Roku 2 Streaming Player

Price: $59.99-$99.99; The Roku 2 Streaming Player features 300+ channels, and streaming instantly from your Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video account.
Pros: Roku 2 is cheaper than Apple TV, and includes a bunch of free stations, as well as unique premium channels like MLS Network and Crackle for free!
Cons: No DVD by mail service, and adding an additional rental service like Amazon Instant Video or Netflix might be necessary.
Bonus: FREE movie service from Crackle! Crackle features hundreds of Hollywood movies ondemand.
Best suited for
: The Video Streamer. If you already have a video rental/streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, but you don't have a way to stream videos on your TV yet, the Roku 2 perfect for you. The Roku 2 player is $40 cheaper than Apple TV, and streams your movies and TV shows directly to your television. If you aren't ready to pull the trigger on a Blu-ray player, the Roku 2 is certainly a device to consider.


Price: $1/night per DVD; $1.50/night per Blu-ray disc; $1/night per PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii game
Pros: Cheap prices, plenty of Redbox locations, and an app to reserve your movie pick before you even arrive at the Redbox kiosk make this movie rental service the most convenient and economical. Plus, Redbox features games for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii consoles, so you can test out a new game without buying it first.
Cons: New movie releases often do not arrive to a Redbox for a few weeks after its initial release date. Plus, Redbox has not yet released TV show titles for rent. Redbox also has no way of tracking previous rentals, so accidental re-rentals can happen easily.
Bonus: Coupon codes to redeem free rentals!
Best suited for: The casual movie watcher and gamer. Redbox offers DVDs, Blu-ray, and games on the cheap. If you are not into instant streaming, but occasionally rent movies or games, this rental service is definitely for you.

Blockbuster Express

Price: $1/night per DVD; $1.50/night per Blu-ray disc at your local Blockbuster Express kiosk
Pros: Super cheap rentals (as long as you return your DVD or Blu-ray on time!) and no long-term commitment.
Cons: Blockbuster Express has not reached as many locations as its main competitor Redbox, so you may have trouble finding one. Plus, Blockbuster Express does not carry any TV show titles.
Bonus: Coupon codes to redeem free rentals!
Best suited for: Casual movie watchers. If you plan to rent a movie once or twice a week, this service is for you.

Blockbuster Total Access

Price: $9.99/month for 1 disk out at a time via mail service; $14.99/month for 2 disks
Pros: Blockbuster Total Access features unlimited rentals by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges. Biggest draw? New releases come out up to a month earlier than Redbox or Netflix
Cons: No video streaming service
Bonus: 1 month free trial!
Best suited for: Netflix rebels. Blockbuster Express offers unlimited DVDs each month for $9.99, which is currently more expensive than Netflix's $7.99 for unlimited DVDs by mail. However, since Netflix surprisingly increased their prices, customers may want to try a Netflix alternative.

Hulu Plus

Price: $7.99/month for unlimited instant streaming of movies and TV shows to computer, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku Streaming Player, Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Apple iPod Touch, and Android Smartphones.
Pros: Hulu Plus features a wide variety of TV shows, plus for only $7.99/month, using Hulu Plus to catch up on your favorite TV shows is cheaper than DVR or TiVo.
Cons: Small movie selection compared to Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, most Hulu content is unavailable on Hulu Plus.
Bonus: 1 week free trial!
Best suited for: The TV Lover. Hulu Plus features full seasons of a variety of TV shows for a small price. If you love TV, and do not feel like paying for TiVo or DVR, Hulu Plus could be a great option for you.


Price: $7.99/month for unlimited streaming to computer, Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, and Blu-ray player; $7.99/month for DVDs by mail; or $15.98/month for both streaming and DVD by mail services.
Pros: Netflix has the by far largest selection of movies and TV shows, including full seasons of cable programs that you will not find on Hulu Plus.
Cons: New releases are delayed by up to a month. More importantly, the rising prices for Netflix (and its new sister company Qwikster) are nothing to get pumped about.
Bonus: 1 month free trial!
Best suited for: The extreme movie and television watcher. If you plan on streaming movies and TV shows on a daily basis, Netflix is the right choice for you. With the best selection in the game right now, no one can deny that Netflix still has a powerful presence, despite its obnoxious price hikes.


Price: $5.99-$2 per rental for 2 nights; Can also purchase movies and TV shows
Pros: No contract, no monthly subscription, and no late fees. Vudu also features the biggest selection of HD movies and TV shows. Even more convenient, you can set up your Vudu account with your Walmart account. Vudu streams instantly on Playstation 3, Blu-ray, HD televisions, and iPad.
Cons: No DVD or Blu-ray by mail service.
Bonus: 1 month free trial!
Best suited for: HD Lovers. If streaming your movies and TV shows in HD is important to you, then Vudu is the perfect choice. Vudu boasts more HD movies and television programs than any other rental service.

When it comes to choosing a movie rental service, we recommend that customers consider about how much they plan on using the service, and what devices you already own that can enable streaming on your TV (such as Nintendo Wii, Blu-ray player, or Xbox 360). If you plan on streaming movies and TV shows 4-7 days a week, and want a wide variety of titles, Netflix is your choice. Looking for a Netflix alternative? For only $79 a year, Amazon Prime Instant Video wins over Netflix (one year of Netflix streaming amounts to $96). However, if you are looking to simply unwind with on a Friday night with a movie, Redbox is your best bet. Deciding on a rental and streaming service for you and your family should be fun, so take your time, and enjoy the show!

What goes best with movie night? Pizza of course! Make sure to check out our Pizza Night blog to get ideas on how to save money on your favorite za!

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