Beyond Netflix: where else to get your flick fix

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Renting movies through Apple Inc.’s iTunes is another pay-per-view option to access the latest dramas, comedies or TV shows. Customers can rent regular or high-definition flicks and watch them on iPhones, iPads, computers or TV sets using Apple TV set-top boxes.

Apple lets people rent first-run, high-definition movies the day they come out on DVD for $5 each, though most movies cost $3 or $4. TV shows are generally $1. You can watch rentals for a day or two from when you start playing them.

As with Amazon, renting movies through Apple is a good option for people who want the latest releases as soon as possible. There are thousands of movies available, though iTunes doesn’t have as many obscure, indie flicks as Netflix’s streaming library. If you watch just a few shows or movies a month, it might be a cheaper option.

_ Redbox

Redbox, a unit of Coinstar Inc., has more than 27,000 bright-red DVD kiosks in grocery stores, drugstores and elsewhere around the U.S. Customers can rent DVDs for $1 per night. Blu-ray movies are available for $1.50 per night.

Depending on how many movies you watch, this could be a cheaper option than Netflix, but the options are more limited. Each kiosk holds 200 newly-released titles, which are updated every Tuesday.

Through concessions with Hollywood studios, Redbox has agreed to delay renting titles from Universal, Warner Bros. and Fox until nearly a month after the DVD versions go on sale. Netflix’s DVD plan has similar restrictions.

With its budget-conscious, family-friendly approach, Redbox is a good option for hurried families looking to pick up a movie on the way home from the grocery store.

_Blockbuster

Under the new ownership of Dish Network Corp., Blockbuster shifted to per-day pricing recently to better compete against Redbox and others. Just-released movies were lowered to $3 for the first day. Other newer movies are $2 for the first day. Additional days are $1. These prices apply to DVD rentals as well as movies rented online.

Blockbuster offers no monthly streaming plan. Its DVD-by-mail subscriptions are pricier than Netflix’s _ $12 a month for one movie or video game at a time or $17 for unlimited two-at-a-time rentals. Netflix’s DVD-only plan is $8 per month for one and $12 for two.

You can still return discs to any of Blockbuster’s 1,700 remaining stores, if you have one nearby, and exchange them for new ones.

You can also download Blockbuster movies to your compatible PC, tablet or smartphone. The company says movies available for download are often available long before they are at Netflix.

Blockbuster makes sense for those who live near its stores and prefer DVDs to streaming.

_ Cable

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