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Facets vs. Netflix

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 1, 2009 3:45PM

Thousands of DVDs for you to choose from can be sent straight to your mailbox with a few clicks of your mouse. Netflix is awesome. It's also a soulless corporate empire. Like binging at McDonald's, it simultaneously appears to fill a need while leaves you wanting. Surely there has to be something better out there.

Now, it would seem, there is. Via AV Club, we've learned that Facets has launched its own video-by-mail service. The new subscription program offers customers the choice to rent from its vast library, one of the largest in the country with over 27,000 titles. And of course Facets is located right here in Chicago.

The subscription plans available are roughly comparable to Netflix, ranging from $8.99 to $23.99 a month. Even better, for a small fee ($5 per title) you can rent a VHS title; and before you scoff at that notion, it's wise to remember that there are still hundreds if not thousands of movies that are still only available on out-of-print videocassettes. We've taken a spin through the Facets catalog, and although the search function is a little clunky we were still able to find what we wanted. A few minor quibbles: they don't yet offer Blu-ray discs for rent, and their TV-on-DVD offerings can't match Netflix's. But who cares? Netflix charges extra for Blu-ray anyway and Facets does have gems like Night Gallery, Twin Peaks and The Prisoner.