While I'm not as worried about Netflix as Mike over at the Shanafelt Sector, he does a great job reviewing Peerflix and Number Slate. Mike takes an extremely in-depth look at two smaller Netlfix alternatives and he shares his experiences with us:
Both NumberSlate and PeerFlix are decentralized - in that there is no central warehouse for DVDs to be returned to and shipped from. The subscriber is responsible for sending the DVD along to the next person on the list. So, with both service, once I completed watching a movie, I had to log onto the website and get the address of the next person to send it to. In both cases, I was responsible for paying the shipping cost (shipping is "free" with Netflix).
Perhaps the greatest difference between PeerFlix and NumberSlate (and the whole DVD rental business as a whole) is that PeerFlix relies on its customers to provide the DVD library. As you can guess from the name, PeerFlix is similar to a peer-to-peer file sharing program in that users provide the content. To illustrate, say I have several DVD movies that I've purchased but very rarely watch. I can list these movies on PeerFlix to be requested by someone else within the system.
One difference with NumberSlate was the ability to "bid" on movies. If you placed a bid on a movie (anywhere from 1 cent to 5 dollars), your position in the queue for that movie would be increased. For example, if I requested Lord of the Rings and there were 10 other customers who also requested before me, I could increase my position within the queue by placing a bid for it. Of the 20 or so movies I requested, other customers had bid on only 4 of the more popular ones. Bid amounts tended to be between 5 and 25 cents.
If you're thinking about cheating on Netflix, er, trying out an alternative, I suggest you check out Mike's review first.