Well, if you’re a NetFlix subscriber as I have been since 2003, you got the email. Netflix is changing the rules. The are separating DVD’s from Streaming.

Now I have to admit, I’ve seen this coming for a long time. If you remember a few years ago, they raised rates rather steeply to keep up with the cost of mailing DVDs. That has to be a pain, postage, packaging, not to mention the lost and stolen DVD’s. They’ve complained for a long time about the costs of mailing DVD’s and have been looking for a device to attach to your TV set or an app to send to your iPad to allow you to download from them which I am sure is lower cost. However, the DVD plan, even though they’ve complained bitterly about losing money on the system, must have had something going for it, as it sure played havoc with all the brick and mortar rental stores. How many times do I remember fast forwarding through VHS tapes to try to get it done by 10:40 so I could run to Wherehouse and turn in the tape before they locked the door at 11:00 only to get there and find three guys inside the window laughing at me for the $4.00 late fee I was about to get.

But if you recall, after the big price increase, Blockbuster got into the DVD mailing mode with a plus over Netflix. They still had a few brick and mortar stores, so you could finish the DVD, run to the store instead of to the mailbox, and get a new one for free from your mail DVD program at the Blockbuster store. Then Redbox and a number of competitors came around and brought the game to another level. The price increase didn’t last very long, and not only was reversed, but actually they were forced to drop the price.

So why didn’t Blockbuster’s program kick NetFlix out of the game? One reason, and the reason why NetFlix Watch Instantly is not acceptable as well; Content!!!

NetFlix had EVERYTHING under the sun! Foreign films from all over the world. Obscure films from 15 years ago. Classic’s from the Black and White and Silent Movie eras. Everything.

My favorite thing from NetFlix is the new releases. Those who read this blog know that every Tuesday I’m looking at the new releases out on DVD. I hate the delays on some features that are released as Blockbuster Exclusives and such, but I can live with that. But that content that makes NetFlix DVD service so extremely awesome just isn’t there on Watch Instantly yet. They are adding some newer films (not all 1980’s TV Movies like it used to be), especially with the Starz connection, but it’s just not got near the content that the DVD collection has. Maybe some day it will.

Now there is a new fad of watching the previous seasons of that TV show that you love, where you missed the previous years. I personally watched every office episode for the 2 or 3 years I didn’t know about it. Some people are into this big time, and that’s a good use for a streaming account at a low cost. But if you want to watch new release movies, you have to keep both accounts and it’s simply a way to increase the cost.

So it is a good idea for NetFlix or a rip off for the loyal customers that have had the service for years and years and years. I guess that remains to be seen. I know many people are cancelling their accounts right and left, but many more a signing up at the same time due to all the publicity (Bad press is still press, and all press is good).

Will I keep both accounts? Well for now I have to, but I’ll be looking closely at dumping the DVD service and switching to Redbox. I have setup a Redbox account, and I like the idea that they are all around me. I can login on-line and reserve a particular movie at one of the grocery stores close by, pick it up, and return it anywhere. It also shows me other locations that have the one I want when the usual grocery store is out of it. That’s pretty hot! So I’m definitely going to try that out, and see how it works. It may allow me to dump the DVD service from NetFlix altogether. I’ll definitely have to give it a lot of thought.

As to whether it will work out for NetFlix or not, I am not sure the whole TV appliance thing is going to work out. There is going to be fierce competition in that field, and the content owners and cable and satellite providers may win that out on that one. I don’t see why I need a third party in the middle. So NetFlix may be shooting themselves in the foot here, as the DVD mailing service is what made them, and they’re dissing their best customers. We shall have to wait and see.

If you have any opinion on NetFlix and the new pricing schedule, or Redbox, or anything else in the market, be sure to let me know. I’ve seen other brands besides RedBox (Blockbuster and AM-PM have them too and more). I wonder if Redbox is the leader or if one of the others is better. Let me know your $.02 and what works best for you.

Hope you’re enjoying the great summer of movies!

–Ed of EdsReview

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