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Five simple ways to get flicks without Netflix

Oh, Netflix.

Did you have any idea what kind of backlash you would be unleashing when you announced new plans and price changes earlier this week, effectively bumping monthly fees significantly for many customers?

Backlash is really an understatement. Tsunami of rage is a more accurate description.

Angry movie and TV lovers, we are here to help.

You may not be able to save money by switching to other plans, but there are ways to get your favorite movies and TV shows without the little red envelope that arrives magically in the mail.

Here are five options:

Try out the competition: Many of you may be thinking of Blockbuster as that brick-and-mortar place you had to walk or drive to before Netflix appeared in your life. But despite its bout with bankruptcy and sale to DISH Network, the rental chain has persevered.

On Thursday, Blockbuster announced a free, 30-day trial to any disgruntled Netflix customer who wants to make the switch to its by-mail service. After that, the service costs $9.99 a month for one disc at a time, or $14.99 a month for two.

You can also stream videos from Blockbuster’s On Demand service, for a fee of around $1.99 to $3.99 per video for a 24-hour period .

Note that Blockbuster's service is not necessarily a better deal. With the new Netflix pricing, customers will pay $7.99 for one movie at a time, or $11.99 for two, a bit cheaper than Blockbuster. Access to Netflix’s on-demand, streaming content costs an additional $7.99 a month, which would be equal to streaming four of the cheapest movies on Blockbuster.

Movies included with the Netflix streaming service are typically older or less popular.

There are other alternatives as well. Amazon.com’s Instant Video program also lets you watch movies or TV shows right away. Fees vary, but are generally between $1.99 and $3.99 per video, including many of the latest releases. You can also choose from a catalog of about 6,000 shows or movies at no additional cost if you are an Amazon Prime member.

Hulu offers some TV shows and movies for free, often with advertising, plus more content if you pay a $7.99 monthly subscription fee.

Watch TV online for free: Many network websites and individual TV show sites offer at least a sampling of their programs for free. That’s a good, frugal choice if you’re not too picky.

Take full advantage of your cable plan and DVR: Many cable companies offer on demand content, sometimes for no additional charge. If you have a DVR, a little digging into the listings may reveal plenty of movies and TV shows that you can record for playback at your leisure.

Check out Redbox: You’ve probably seen the red kiosks outside your local convenience store. Redbox lets you rent DVDs for $1 a day. You can even reserve a movie ahead of time online.

You could (gasp) hoof it over to a local DVD rental store: Yep, a few of them still exist. You may even get the dog walked in the process.

Readers, what other alternatives to Netflix have you come up with? Or are you sticking with the red envelopes despite the price hike?