After a formidable 25-year run, Netflix has announced that it will shutter its DVD-to-mail rental service, DVD Netflix, aka DVD.com. Citing the shrinking DVD business, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos told shareholders on April 18 that the rental service would be shipping its last DVD on September 29, 2023.
And while most of the 230 million Netflix subscribers won’t miss the service — or perhaps even knew it still existed in the first place — DVDs and Blu-rays are still a preferred method for watching movies and TV series if you really care about quality or just don’t have broadband internet.
But now that DVD Netflix is out of the game, where can people turn to rent DVDs and Blu-rays?
Well, as the news hit Twitter, two of the best alternatives chimed in, reminding their followers that they, too, still existed. GameFly — which primarily rents video games, but also has a selection of movies for rent — tweeted at popular kiosk-rental company Redbox with a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid gif and the text “Out here with @redbox like … .” The two services exchanged clever gifs and tweets (Redbox and Blockbuster even exchanged jabs) about being the last ones standing, but it still might be unclear to many DVD Netflix renters where they can go to fill the void.
That’s where we come in with this rundown of where you can rent DVDs and Blu-rays now that Netflix is shutting down its DVD rental service. Oh, and if you need a Blu-ray player, check out our roundup of the best ones to buy.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ve seen Redbox’s big, red telephone box-style kiosks at your local grocery store, pharmacy, or fast-food joint — the company was actually started by McDonald’s in 2002 with kiosks outside its restaurants. And while it’s not the same DVD-by-mail service as DVD Netflix, the company boasts more than 34,000 kiosks nationwide. Furthermore, its owners, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, not only just revealed plans to add 5,000 kiosks at Dollar General Stores by the end of next year, but in the wake of the DVD Netflix announcement, Chicken Soup CEO Bill Rouhana told the Hollywood Reporter that he’d like to buy it, saying, “I wish Netflix would sell me that business instead of shutting it down.”
Basically a vending machine for DVDs and Blu-rays, you can find a kiosk location by using the search tool on the Redbox website. Then you can either head straight there and try your luck by browsing available titles on the box’s touchscreen, or use the website to find a DVD and reserve it for pickup at a nearby kiosk that has it available. Redbox kiosks do offer a selection of 4K UHD movies, unlike DVD Netflix. Sorry, gamers — Redbox stopped renting video games in 2019.
Most DVD and Blu-ray disc rentals are $2.25 per day, and they must be returned by 9 p.m. the next day or you’ll be charged for another day. The service also offers multiple-day rentals and even cheaper prices on certain titles. If you keep the video for more than 21 days, you’ll get charged the maximum rental fee, and the disc is yours to keep.
And, if all else fails, you can always check out the Redbox On Demand service, where you can buy, rent, or stream movies on a smart TV, streaming device, or computer for a similar price.
Widely known as a subscription-based video-game-by-mail rental service, it’s a lesser-known fact that GameFly also offers DVD and Blu-ray movies as part of its service (a fact it took to Twitter to remind people of upon the Netflix DVD announcement). It also includes 4K UHD titles, which DVD Netflix does not. If the subscription and mail-it-to-me style of Netflix DVDs is more appealing to you than the kiosks of Redbox, then GameFly might be more suited to you.
With pricing similar to Netflix’s DVD service, GameFly offers a bunch of monthly plan tiers. If you’re a gamer, several of their plans include movie rentals as well, so win-win for you. But if it’s just movies you’re after, there are six options that range in price from $9 to $19 per month. They all include unlimited movie rentals and new releases, but then break off into plans that allow one or two rentals at a time, and plans that offer DVD and Blu-rays only, as well as one with 4K UHD discs for those looking for a better video and sound quality. You can try out the Blu-ray and DVD or 4K Elite plans for 30 days for free, and all other plans offer discounted prices for three months if you want to check them out a bit first. If you do sign up, you can cancel anytime.
How does it work? Easy. Head to the site and find your movie, which will be sent to you via U.S. Postal Service first-class mail in roughly 2 to 5 business days, with no shipping fees. Your credit card is billed and, if you don’t like the movie, you can send it back and they’ll even rush you a different one. You can keep the movie for as long as you want, there are no late fees, and, as with its game rentals, you can choose to keep the title at a preowned price.
3D Blu-ray Rental
While the site isn’t much to look at, 3D Blu-ray Rental is a good DVD-by-mail option similar to GameFly and DVD Netflix in that it offers monthly subscription plans, as well as pay-as-you-go rentals for both movies and video games. Specializing in hard-to-find Blu-rays, as its site states, 3D Blu-ray Rental has a solid collection of movies (including new releases) offered in 2D, 3D, 4K UHD, and Blu-ray formats.
The subscription plans are similar to GameFly in that prices are based on the number of rentals you can have out at a time, ranging from the $9-per-month “1 Disc at a time” plan to the $53-per-month “8 Discs at a time” plan. There’s an exception for specialty movie and game rentals priced above $8 per rental, though — for these, you have to pay the full price of the rental. You can cancel the service at any time.
Your public library
While many public libraries across the country have shifted to online streaming services such as Kanopy and Hoopla for cardholders to access movies and TV shows, there’s still something to be said for heading to your library to browse its physical DVD or Blu-ray selection.
While the selection might not be as good as DVD Netflix or some of the services on our list, for the most part, they’re either free or dirt cheap to borrow with a valid library card. You can even send your kids to get movies with their cards, and some libraries will let you reserve movies, like books, to be the next in line for their use. To find a public library near you, there’s a search tool on the U.S. government website.