Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Rant about Netflix's new prices

Netflix's new pricing plans (starting September 1, 2011) essentially double the price of the current 1 DVD out / unlimited streaming plan because the DVD plan is no longer going to be a discounted "freebie" that comes with the unlimited streaming plan. We are now going to be charged $7.99 for unlimited streaming, as well as another $7.99 for the DVD plan.

With my current plan's prices, I just need to get 2 DVDs a month or watch 3-4 (give or take) streaming movies a month in order for it to pay for itself (based off of Blockbuster and Scarecrow Video's prices). Note: I consider the streaming movies worth less because they are usually older films that Blockbuster would price at a lower price. This is something that, as a full-time college student, I can usually manage, but I rarely have the time to watch more than that. Overall though, it's a pretty good deal. If I were to keep my current plan when the prices change, I would need to watch 4 DVDs a month or 6-8 streaming movies a month (or some combination of the two). I am double majoring in math and film, with a minor in Spanish. Thus, there is absolutely no way that I will be able to watch that many movies a month.

So, now I am faced with a choice. Will I spend $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming, or $7.99 a month for 1 DVD out at a time? It seems obvious that the unlimited streaming is a better deal. I could watch as many movies as I have time for versus getting 1-2 movies a week by using snail mail. This is exactly what the execs at Netflix are counting on. They want to eliminate the DVD mailing services of Netflix. There are, for cinephiles, some big problems with this:
  1. Netflix's instant watch selection is a joke. I'm assuming they'll fix this if they completely eliminate the DVD mailing, but that doesn't mean they will. Hopefully they'll be smart about it.
  2. Instant watch movies don't come with any special features. I love listening to cast and crew commentaries, but I can't do that when I stream a movie. I love watching deleted scenes and bloopers, but I can't do that when I stream a movie.
  3. Instant watch quality isn't always great. Whether it's due to internet connection or the fact that computer screens don't get blacks as deep as a fancy TV, the fact is that the visual quality of streaming movies isn't going to be a great home theater experience.
I plan to cancel my subscription after my last bill payment before September 1st in order to protest Netflix's desire to move to 100% streaming. Also, I don't like the shitty new look of their website. It makes me really not want to stream movies.

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