back to article Netflix splits DVD, streaming offers in 60% price hike

Netflix has announced that they're no longer offering a streaming-plus-DVD service. Instead, you can have either streaming or DVD, but if you want both, you'll have to pay for both. The old monthly plan was $9.99 per month, which allowed unlimited streaming of movies plus the ability to rent any one DVD at a time. Such DVDs …


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  1. Arrrggghh-otron

    Wake me up when...

    Wake me up when they bring this to the uk...

  2. banjomike

    In the long run, everything will be available purely online...

    if you mean "Everything Netflix has will be solely online" then I might agree with you. But there will NEVER be a time when an online service can offer to stream every film ever made.

    1. JakeyC


      "there will NEVER be a time when an online service can offer to stream every film ever made"

      Really? And 640k ought to be enough RAM for anybody, right?

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: 640k

        To take an example from music, here is a list of popular artists I will never be able to listen to from a streaming music service in the UK (some are absent in their entirety, some are missing most of their back catalogue):

        Led Zeppelin



        Bob Dylan


        Tom Waits

        Electric Light Orchestra


        Frank Zappa


        The Eagles


        Clearly, any streaming video service will also have holes where the copyright holder says "no" to allowing it to be streamed.

    2. Chad H.

      @ JakeyC

      To provide every film ever made would likely require a time machine given that I'm sure some films must have been lost to the sands of time... Much like a lot of early episodes of a certain series involving a Doctor.

      But other than that I think you're spot On. With the price of storage ever decreasing there is absolutely no technical reason why netflix couldn't offer their entire DVD catalogue via streaming - just legal ones.

  3. JB


    Seems to me they're banking on most puntes dumping the DVDs-by-mail option and sticking with the streaming. That way Netflix can eventually dump a whole lot of expensive infrastructure, jobs, etc. It's much cheaper to have data centres with loads of films on them than warehouses full of scratched DVDs, beaten up paper sleeves and expensive humans dealing with the postbag.

    I think it's a real shame, as Netflix seemed to work nicely, certainly better than the awful Lovefilm back in the UK!

    1. rfrovarp

      No data centers

      Netflix is on Amazon's infrastructure.

  4. DZ-Jay

    DVDs for me, thankyouverymuch!

    I've been a member since 2004 and still think that the best feature of Netflix is the DVD-by-mail rental with no late charges and no specific time limits. This is what brought down the major rental companies at the time.

    When Netflix introduced streaming as part of the DVD rental plan, I thought it was a nice gesture. I imagined that eventually would move everybody that way, and I didn't think that would be bad at all. However, when I tried the streaming service, I've encountered numerous problems, from the discoverability and availability of movies, to common network lags and outages, and just overall system bugs.

    Currently, I have no use for streaming. It is a nice perk, and I've used it since it's there, but I don't really need it. And until all movies in their collection are available via streaming, and they can guarantee service levels, it is a service I don't really want.

    Their only saving grace, to me at least, is that if I go back to DVD-only, I get a nice discount from what I'm paying right now (or what I paid before streaming came along). If the price remained the same, or if they dared increase it, I would have cancelled my account immediately.

    I'm sure this will happen eventually, and I am therefore more receptive to alternatives right now. I really do not like Netflix as a company; I feel that many of their decisions during recent years go blatantly against the interests of their own customers. This latest development may just precipitate the end of my relationship with them.


  5. Nate Amsden


    Count me as one who canceled their netflix membership yesterday. I haven't streamed anything useful in more than a year (can't find anything useful), and have rented about 35 DVDs through Netflix in the past 2 years (10 so far this year)

    On a slightly related note, the way I paid for netflix was a temporary subscription credit card, where I set a limit they were allowed to charge per month (and they could only charge once per month), so even if I missed the email or wasn't paying attention they wouldn't of been able to charge me the higher rate since the CC would of declined it.

    It was nice having the convenience of netflix, but considering how little I used it, a 60% hike in cost overnight for no noticeable improvement in service is not worth it.

    Had I realized how little I was streaming I probably would of canceled earlier, because - I wasn't paying attention.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Read the article?

      You are aware that if you only keep the DVD-by-mail option you actually get a rate CUT for dropping the service you aren't using, right?

      At your usage rate of 2 DVDs a month, It was costing you 5 USD per rental, with the service you didn't use.

      it would be costing you 4 USD per rental to continue the service at the new rate (dropping the part you aren't using).

      This really sounds like a net win for you, and not a bad deal to boot.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        OT: "should of" (re Oninoshiko re a sign of mis-spent youth)

        repeated use of "should of" => pointless pointing author at facts and logic (83% probability)

        this being a tech website, I should probably finish by suggesting that a half decent spellchecker in a web browser could autocorrect "should of" to "should have" and it would greatly benefit those whose missed education is highlighted by this (ab)usage

        1. Oninoshiko

          RE: OT: (you get the idea)

          Was there a post which did not stay posted?

          I don't think I used "should of" anywhere, but reread my post to be sure. In fact it looks like you are responding to someone who responded to someone who responded to me, but I don't see their posts.

          This is vary confusing :(

          I do agree, grammar check would be a nice addition to the spell check I sometimes bother to pay attention to. We are all human.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            @Oninoshiko re "should of"

            My apologies, dear readers/contributors.

            My earlier rant should have referred to "would of" not "should of". As in "wouldn't of been able to charge me the higher rate since the CC would of declined it." at

            Same underlying problem, slightly different word.

            Anyway, I should of got it right first time then all would of been much clearer.

            It's not as though anyone working with computers needs to be precise and accurate with their language. Computer just works out what you could of meant, innit.

            Anybody seen my coat? I left it here on the 14th at 07:25.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't look like a huge hike

    We've been using Netflix (3 DVD plan) for several years, and happily embraced the streaming option when it got introduced. I have to say that I'm not a big fan that most new releases get held back several weeks due to their deals with studios for their streaming libraries, but it works.

    Just looked over the email they sent, and it's not close to being a 60% hike for us... We currently pay 23.99 for 3 dvds + streaming + blu ray access. Tax brings that to 25.96.

    Under new pricing we'd be charged 27.98 for same level of access, plus tax, so 30.28, so a difference of just over $4, or a 15% hike...

    Possibly the lower dvd plans don't take this hike as gracefully but this isn't quite as bad as the headline suggests.

    On a side note there isn't a horrendous amount of choice in this area anymore. Most brick and mortar rental places have been put out of business by Netflix and Redbox, and Redbox is subject to the same delay in new releases that Netflix is... the convenience of getting a movie and not having to watch it that night or the next as your life unfolds is definitely worth a little more money, but even on this price it reflects better value for money than we ever got from the likes of Blockbuster, where "new releases" could be titles up to 2.5 years old at ludicrous daily charges...

  7. David Kelly 2

    The Good Thing About The Free Market...

    The good news is that this kind of foolishness from Netflix is just the thing to spur competition.

    The bad news is that Netflix obviously waited until Blockbuster bombed, and Hulu failed to catch fire.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    As a member of the Now Generation, I like my streaming. In fact, the only time I ever got a DVD was by accident. With their streaming content on the decline, the only reason I have to use their service is diminishing. The thing is, I CHOOSE to pay for Netflix - all of the content is available (albeit illegally) already, but I am using Netflix for its simplicity, and so I don't face legal troubles. The big issue I have is that piracy is cheaper, and easier than having to wait for a dvd to come, or go out and buy the physical media. Why don't companies realize that a significant portion of younger users know this and are willing to maybe spend a bit more, as long as the content matches. Unfortunately, it seems like I may be down to my last month with this service.

  9. Sandy106

    Here's an idea:

    Get the streaming only plan, Redbox for actual DVDs ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Thats what I just did

      $2/month less to Netflix. $1-2/month to redbox for those I really care about getting now... That said most of the "new" stuff I want is on Comcast On-Demand anyways and they send me enough free movie coupons that I dont even seem to end up paying for them so I'm now officially $24/year ahead... thats umm 3 beers in El Reg units, right?

    2. GBE


      The idea to "Get the streaming only plan, Redbox for actual DVDs" would be great except for one thing: Redbox had exactly _none_ of the DVDs I've rented from Netflix in the past few years, and most of the time time has nothing I'd care to watch.

  10. Tim


    I moved to the USA last year and the wife and I were shocked at the ridiculous price of cable TV. A basic package and internet (crappy contended 10mb) was over $150 a month, and I had a choice of exactly one provider. Cable TV here is dying. There is no doubt in my mind about that - the product stinks. Where the programming is good it's rendered almost unwatchable by deafening advertisments. Mostly, though, the standard is appallingly low. Why on earth would I choose to pay a fortune for a load of crap with the odd diamond in it when I can pay a fraction and only get the diamonds? The history of capitalism doesn't suggest a bright future for traditional TV.

    So, I cut it off and now we stream everything. Time bastard Warner still get my money for internet (again, no choice) but it's a third of the price. Still too expensive for what we get - I had 20mb uncontended for £18 in London - but there you go. Since we started streaming we watch less TV in total, but we only watch stuff we want. Choice has gone up, hugely, and quality has gone up too. It's a genuinely entertaining and informative device now, rather than an expensive way to get shouted at by Billy Mays.

    $8 a month for Netflix streaming and DVDs has been great for us. Mrs. gets her tripe on a plastic circle and I get quality nerd stuff any time I want. I'm not thrilled that they're doubling the price but it would have to go up twelvefold before it cost as much as we used to pay for an inferior service, so I'll grumble a bit now but I won't be cancelling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But Cable isnt going anywhere soon. The issue is that you have 3 choices:

      - Cable + internet (yeah some packages suck - but some of them will work with you - for example I have 400+ channels, 20Mbs [no cap] plus a few extras for less than you are paying, with DVR and OnDemand to just about every device I have)

      - Satelite + DSL - and show me where you can get DSL > 8Mbs, plus satelite is very direction dependant in the US, and given that a lot of appartment complexes can't get satelite on one side or other of the building, thats a no-go.

      - IPTV + DSL - and the only real provider of that - AT&T UVerse - has really really bad issues with macroblocking and picture quality, plus when you watch TV your internet slows down.

      I do know people are going to e.g. Hulu + NetFlix/CinemaNow for content only, but they still get tied in to DSL/Cable Modem* and quite frankly the internet fees are where the money is for these companies.

      *quick quirk of Comcast btw... get their Internet and you get full access to all their "basic" package OnDemand via the PC/iPad/iPhone, which includes nearly everything you would care to watch, strangely

    2. 4HiMarks

      OTA costs nothing

      In the USA you are free to erect an antenna and pay nothing for your television signal. No "TV license" fees; nothing at all. I am constantly amazed that the gov't taxes you all to have a TV. With Netflix and the like, we are free to pay or not, depending on whether we think it's worth the money. Personally, I don't have enough time to watch movies to justify the expense. It would actually be cheaper to buy a disc every 4 to 6 months when we have the chance to watch one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Taxes and TV in the UK

        Ah yes, but we get the BBC with no adverts. And you get crap.

        1. Arrrggghh-otron

          RE: Taxes and TV in the UK

          Crap with adverts every 30 seconds...

          I tried watching 'merkin TV as shown in 'merka once. It felt like I had developed attention deficit disorder in under 5 minutes. Talk shows where, no sooner has the talking started than it is time for a break.

          You notice it when 'merkin TV shows are edited for the UK when you get those odd cut scenes and mini dejavu blips where the adverts should have been. Very distracting.

        2. GBE

          US OTA is not _all_ crap.

          I get 4 (at last count) OTA public broadcasting channels with no commercials during programs (there are sometimes one or two between programs). Who watches commericials anyway? Doesn't your DVR have a "skip" button?

    3. Mark 65


      "I had 20mb uncontended for £18 in London"

      I'm sure people would want to know who from as the contention ratio on ADSL business connections is still around 20:1 and they cost more than £18/mth. Cable, if that's what you had, is almost certainly contended, as is BT infinity.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Uncontended

        Isn't it obvious? He was on Be.

        OK, so their contention is not really 1:1, but it certainly feels like it. There is Be, and then there are other ISPs.

  11. Dropper


    I get a $2 / month discount on a service I keep forgetting to change.. the extra $6 might make me get off my arse and actually try to find the last DVD I ordered (at least six months ago) then change the service to streaming only. Of course the problem here is actually finding that DVD, which used to be under the sofa in my living room.. the next issue is finding the mailer to send it back.. hmmm..

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    broadband availability

    You know, I don't subscribe to Netflix, and broadband isn't available where I live in the US, so downloadable content would be useless to me if I did subscribe, I'd only use the DVD option anyway. But I see more companies doing this. It's much cheaper for them to do it in the cloud, no postage or shipment system involved. Apple is doing it as well (I also don't use their products), with their new operating system release (install media is not readily available, Itunes store for download). Pretty quick the options for us that can't get high speed internet (affordable, and unlimited or high enough usage threshold) will be much more limited than they already are.

  13. L0ki

    Customer Service Fail

    The way they informed us of these changes was quite blunt and customer unfriendly email is probably why most people are crying foul. It's the kind of PR usually on reserved for governmental cock-ups. Major PR Fail!

    That said, $16 a month isn't wholly unreasonable for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs (abeit one at a time) when as Tim say it's nearly $150 per month for cable which is quite frankly awful.

    If they improve the content available on Streaming - a lot of new things are out on DVD/Blu-Ray well before they are available on streaming - then there's a chance that many people will be able to go to just streaming and may save money and have a better service.

    Cynical as I am - they'll cock it up, lose customers and money hand over fist and go bust!

  14. usbac
    Thumb Down

    Count me as one that will cancel in September

    I already put a reminder on my calendar. No reason to cancel yet.

    This is the second price increase in a year. Last time, I just downgraded from three DVDs/month to two. This time I will cancel.

    The streaming service is mostly old crap content, but I do find some good old movies sometimes. They've been actually removing a lot of newer TV shows from the streaming service. At the same time, a lot of old movies are being added as streaming only?

    I would never subscribe to a streaming only service. As someone above noted, getting a good Internet connection in the US is only possible in a few areas. Besides, Netflix's lack of streaming on Android phones and Linux (requiring Microsoft DRM crap), makes me even less intrested in streaming only.

    I almost canceled when they made the deal with movie companies to delay new releases. I remember the email explaining how this was going to be great news for subscribers (what the F***?). Corporate spin is really an amazing art!

    1. Jason Terando

      Netflix is on a number of Androids

      I've been catching up on my Dr. Who on an HTC EVO while on the gym treadmill, works well enough. Yeah, I wish they would do a Linux client, but I can see the difficulty in doing so while maintaining content owners' rights.

      Mark me in the streaming Netflix + Redbox column.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      is it 1984 yet?

      I almost canceled when they made the deal with movie companies to delay new releases. I remember the email explaining how this was going to be great news for subscribers.

      Less Choice, Higher Prices, A win-win situation. Their revenue enhancement will prevent Netflix worker's being involuntarily separated from the payroll. Remember War = Peace,

  15. Pseu Donyme

    I for one ...

    ... would be interested in this sort of thing for that sort of price. Until it actually gets on the EU side the only thing remotely similar is P2P though. Streaming is fine for 99.9% films & tv programs; the occasional exception to this rule is nice to have on a piece of media if only to facilitate pushing the stuff one fancies to other people :)

  16. David J. Howe

    Left unsaid

    Netflix have already been warned by the studios that their fees for access are going up dramatically. Sony is supposedly going from US$150 million to US$1.5 billion. In the US Netflix represents about 23% of all internet traffic which has gotten the ISP's all worked up and wanting to increase access charges to Netflix. Given this why would anyone be surprised about a price increase? Going to amazon or whomever is only a temporary respite, their fees will rise soon enough.

  17. Dropper
    Thumb Up

    Cut Price Premium Channels

    Basically when you pay the $8 for the streaming service you are getting pretty much every movie played on Starz, plus extras like some of the better Showtime TV series, as well as some older movies and TV shows. To me that is a pretty good deal considering something like Hulu Plus costs as much, if not more. Certainly it's a better deal than having to sign up to one of the premium cable or satellite packages just so you can addon premium movie channels. I figure that Netflix saves me at least $50 a month in cable/satellite fees.

    It's true you don't get everything you want and you have to wait a few months for some of the TV shows to get updated, but most of what I watch on Netflix would require a $110 / month cable or satellite package if I wanted to view it the traditional way. So I'm saving a lot of money by sticking with basic cable TV service and using Netflix for additional content.

  18. TonganJedi

    Missing the bigger picture

    I think what's being lost the the cacophony of egocentric, "why me? not fair!" wailings is Netflix's underlying motivation for the change. I'm sure Netflix was content to leave things the way they were, but their hand was forced by Big Content. The movie studios have discovered that, since they have completely failed to innovate on their own, spending millions to hunt pirates instead of adding value to their offerings, they figure they can simply gouge streaming services instead. Netflix had to detach their streaming service from the disc service because the costs of licensing for streaming has increased as much as ten-fold from their original costs.

    Considering the potential cost increases on the part of Netflix, I think the new price point for the consumer is still very reasonable. And you can always stop a service if you're not using it.

    1. pip25

      Oh great...

      Apparently, the movie studios not only refuse to provide sane net services, but are killing off the ones already available. Naturally, the freetards are to blame for this as well... </sarcasm>

  19. Bob 18

    Puny Streaming Library

    The problem here is, over half the movies I want to watch are not available in streaming format. They should offer a "streaming preferred" plan --- normally, you watch streaming videos, except it would include DVDs for titles not available streaming.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DVDs >> streaming

    Since everything available on streaming is also available on DVD, I have to ask myself, do I really need the instant gratification that badly? And do I really need to be watching more than a DVD worth of video every night (which is basically what you can sustain with the 2-at-a-time DVD plan)?

    No and no = will not be paying for Netflix streaming

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