The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Send Those Netflix Dollars to Facets

By Steven Pate in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 14, 2011 8:40PM

2011_07_facets.png It has not been the smoothest week for Blockbuster-killer and reigning streaming video content titan Netflix. Social networks were aflame yesterday with the groans and whines of several million users who stand to see the price of their streaming video and DVD-in-the-mail plan effectively jump 60%. Whether or not it means a Netflix subscription still qualifies as a good deal or this affects consumers will consider an industry-backed alternative like Hulu Plus or more specialized upstarts such as Mubi, yesterday's news verifies that the shift away from DVDs and Blu-Ray discs and towards digital streaming alternatives continues to accelerate.

Netflix is the biggest (by far) player on the streaming block, with deals with the big Hollywood players and hardware manufacturers that its competitors surely envy. Lots of folks are bound to keep their streaming plans intact and forgo the now pricier-seeming DVD-in-the-mail portion of the Netflix subscription.

For anyone still hungry for DVDs, now is a great time to consider Chicago's own video-by-mail option: Facets Multimedia. With plans starting at $8.99 for one DVD at a time and both monthly and annual subscription options, the dent to your pocketbook will be quite comparable to the one left by Netflix. Those dollars will go to help support a truly unique local institution, which has been doing vital work to keep cinema culture alive for 36 years now.

And while Beverly Hills Chihuahua might not be part of the catalog, Facets' long history as a distributor has afforded them a collection of hard-to-find titles unmatched anywhere, period. They'll even still send you VHS copies of titles not yet available in disc form (in fact we've got one sitting at home right now). We've been enjoying the service since they officially launched it two years ago and can tell you that since some early kinks were worked out we have never regretted the decision. Plus, keeping that money local while supporting the festivals, retrospectives, distribution activities, conservation efforts and events that Facets Multimedia offers gives us the warm and fuzzies.

Yeah, you missed the Groupon, but it's never too late to sign up.