Netflix User Poll: How to Handle The New Pricing Changes?

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Netflix users around the country are abuzz about Netflix’s new pricing plans. Previously, all DVD plans included unlimited internet streaming. Late last year the prices were upped slightly to $10 a month for 1 DVD out at a time, $15 for 2 DVDs, and $20 for 3 DVDs. (I’m rounding because I think .99 pricing is annoying.) Coming September 1st, 2011, Netflix has separated the DVD and Streaming options completely. Streaming is $8 a month, and there is no discount if you add it to a DVD plan. 1 DVD at a time is $8, making the total now $16 month – a 60% price hike. 2 DVDs at a time is $12, making the new total $20 a month, a 33% price hike.

Now, that’s one way to look at it. However, I really only used Netflix streaming very lightly. Instead, I can now get my 1 DVD a month for only $8. Or, I can upgrade to 2 DVDs for month for $12. I think that streaming video is the key to Netflix avoiding becoming the next buggy-whip manufacturer, and that making things a la carte was something that had to be done sooner or later. I just think the move came too early. Their streaming quality and selection is simply not good enough for me to pay $8 a month for it.

According to a reader poll last month, 63% of you subscribe to Netflix. So think about it for a minute… what are you going to do?

Netflix Subscribers: How Will You Respond To The New Pricing Plan Changes?

View Results

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Some people say that they are going to switch to Redbox or Blockbuster Express, but I’m actually probably going to go with the 2 DVDs for $12 plan, since I don’t like having to remember to return movies at the grocery store. If anything, this will push me to explore other online streaming options for the occasional “I’m bored and there’s nothing to watch” moments. I know that with a paid Amazon Prime membership ($79 annually) you can get free access to Amazon Instant Video as well as that handy 2-day shipping. Not sure how good their selection is, though. Alternatively, I could rent movies a month from iTunes at $1-$4 each, and they’d be new releases.

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  1. Don’t forget for streaming too. Owned by NBC/FOX/Disney/ABC they are sure to keep up content.

  2. Barbara Smith says

    The problem with the poll is that it doesn’t have the option that I’d most likely use if I were living alone: switch between dvd and streaming as my need arises. I almost always stream, but there are occasions when I want to have the physical media because the netflix physical media library is MUCH larger than what is available via streaming. So I could see one month doing a 2-3 out at a time, watch a whole tv series only available on DVD, and then the next month go back to streaming.

  3. I disagree about the streaming service and so far from the votes, you see that out of 16 people 70% only want the streaming service.

    Streaming service is the future and I disagree about the quality. I think the High defintion is really pretty good, yet it’s not going to produce 1080p like you would from a bluray player, but 720p is hardly bad quality. You are probably streaming it with something like the wii or something that isn’t producing the quality you want.

    The benefit of streaming is also you can put it on 5 different devices. I can watch netflix on my android phone, while my I’m traveling and even connect it to the television in my hotel while my wife watches it streaming at the sametime at home.

    I think eventually they are going to stop mailing DVDs, because they know the future is streaming instant content. The only negative thing about netflix streaming is that not eveything you want to watch can be streamed and a lot of times the movies that come out on netflix are a little late, but for the price and everything else you get, there’s nothing else out better.

    hulu plus and youtube you can purchase videos as well.

  4. I’m an avid movie watcher so the issue with the streaming service isn’t the quality in terms of the picture quality but the quality of movies available. Until Netflix updates their library to offer more new releases rather than a bunch of movies I’ve already seen I’ll just stick to my unlimited DVD option and for that 1x a month when I’m bored and not interested in the movies I have “out” I’ll spend the couple of $ and download from iTunes or Pay-Per-View. I still come out ahead. I have to think Netflix is going to lose money in this scenario… agree they made this move WAY too early.

  5. We began and still have Netflix to get 2 movies to watch on DVD everyweekend. Streaming began as a curiousity for us but since we bought a Roku player we’ve utilized it more and more. Currently I watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the original Twilight Zone episodes–Netflix has the entire series of each. I’m happy with the quality of the wireless streaming. However, I’m not ready to give up the DVDs yet because the selection of streaming material isn’t good enough yet. New movies are only available on DVD for the most part.

    The best case I can see is this rate hike enables Netflix to negotiate better terms with the studio and expand their streaming library to totally supplant DVDs, in which case I’m happy to subscribe only to streaming. We’ll keep both for the time being. At $15 a month this was a really good bargain for us. At $20 less-so, but still the price hasn’t exceeded my willingness to pay for what we get. I’d probably even be willing to pay as much as $25 a month, but at $30 I’d probably opt out.

  6. I’m not sure that your iTunes pricing is totally right. Just glancing at the top 20 iTunes rentals (, only one of the 20 is available at $0.99, most are $2.99 or $3.99. The downside of that is that, while you don’t have to remember to return the movie, once you start watching, you have a limited amount of time in which to finish watching it.
    I’m sticking to Redbox, personally.

  7. Perhaps I’m being silly, but an abrupt 60% price increase in the service I was getting (1DVD and streaming) really pisses me off. I’m going to cancel my service, partly just on principle. I already have amazon prime, so I’m going to give that plus redbox/bb-ex plus itunes (I have an apple tv) a try for a while. I may come crawling back to netflix, and if their streaming selection improves markedly, I’ll definitely be back, but for now, I’m out.

  8. Actually, we have streaming only and are VERY pleased with it. We have amazing internet service thought (fiber optic). No problem with quality – and my dh would generally settle for no less than Blu Ray. (It’s obviously not Blu Ray quality, but if he is happy – it can’t be much worse).

    That said, we also have Blockbuster for a variety of reasons. We are grandfathered on some old cheap plan with unlimited in-store exchanges, get free game rentals, and prefer Blu Rays and access to new releases. I have personally been nagging my spouse to drop BB for a while. The first thing he told me yesterday was “Glad I didn’t drop BB” since the prices are now comparable, BUT BB is a far better disc service. But, NF has won our hearts with their streaming. If it were just me, that would be enough, but not quite enough for the videophile.

  9. Had no idea itunes rentals were $1. I might have to do that, we have the dvd service but the last few months we have only watched 2 dvds…

  10. hawks5999 says

    We’ve been streaming only since it was first offered. Physical DVDs were a pain and ended up costing us too much money ie. they’d sit in our home for weeks before we’d watch or return.
    People who are up in arms about the DVD price hike need to realize they are living in the last decade if not the last century. DVD is dead.

  11. I don’t use the streaming much, and I dislike the fact that streaming doesn’t have any extras or captioning. The selection is getting better but doesn’t match that of their DVDs. I plan to only pay for the physical DVD plan beginning in September.

    I’m seeing that they’re not always replacing or buying DVDs and I figure eventually they’ll quit buying discs completely. At that point I’d switch to streaming if they have more to watch.

  12. Streaming may be the future, but it’s still not in my present. I like the convenience of streaming, the long-term savings on purchasing DVDs, and after I change my internet provider I doubt speed should be a problem…

    …but I’m still going for the 1-DVD-at-a-time plan. Because for me, it all comes down to presentation. DVDs I can watch on my 50-inch television with a quality sound system, from my recliner. Streaming video I get to watch on my computer screen, through my computer speakers, from either my computer chair or an inconvenient spot across the room.

    If I currently had a way to stream video to my television, then the equation would be different. But for now, watching DVDs is a pleasure, and watching streaming is annoying. (And that’s ignoring the interminable buffering periods to watch anything with my current internet speed. Even watching a half-hour show requires two 10-minute buffering waits.)

  13. Loren, if you buy a $99 AppleTV or an even-cheaper Roku, you can watch Netflix streaming on your TV. Also, many modern blu-ray DVD players can also do Netflix streaming.

  14. Sorry to be thick, but itunes has $1 new release rentals?

  15. Carlo Costanzo says

    Seems as though iTunes has 99 cent rentals for SELECT movies. More of a sales type thing. Regularly, they are 2.99 and 3.99 for HD quality.


  16. I thought the streaming service was decent. The quality was good but the selection was poor. If I wanted to stream a TV series I was generally able to watch season 1 (maybe 2) via streaming but would then have to switch to DVDs which I found annoying.

    I probably watch too much TV as it is and a 60% price increase (while only $6 per month) is silly. There are many redboxes around, I will pay $1 for an occasional movie.

    I canceled my membership yesterday.

  17. I think I am just going to keep my plan – I almost entirely stream (and I watch silly shows while I work), but I can get, for instance, HBO shows on disc that are not easily available on streaming. I consider “cost to get data” something I am willing to spend more on, and I think I easily get 20$ of value out of netflix a month!

  18. We are keeping both DVDs and streaming, but dropping down to fewer DVDs.

  19. “Loren, if you buy a $99 AppleTV or an even-cheaper Roku, you can watch Netflix streaming on your TV. Also, many modern blu-ray DVD players can also do Netflix streaming.”

    Which is an investment I may eventually make, but even that would never make me give up the mailed DVDs. Far too much of what I rent is simply not available for streaming. Right now, that includes Mad Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Penn & Teller’s BS, and a handful of newer films.

    By contrast, only one time have I ever faced the scenario of something being available for streaming but NOT on disc (“Party Down” Season 2).

    So it’s possible that I may add back a streaming plan at some point, but for now, it’s largely superfluous.

  20. This change is a $2 price decrease for me.
    I don’t use streaming enough to keep it.

  21. I am keeping the streaming part, and sharing the cost of 1 DVD at a time with a neighbor (who is also keeping his own streaming). I use streaming more but would like to keep the DVD option because new releases are rarely available via streaming.

    Right now I have Netflix streaming to a blu-ray player (Netflix compatible), WII, 2 PCs, a tablet, and my iPhone, so I can’t drop that service…I would seriously consider Amazon Prime, but how many devices can be active for a single Amazon Prime account? Netflix allows 6 and I need them all…(and if I add more, it will just automatically drop one, and add it back when I want).

  22. Ack, I’ve never actually rented a movie from iTunes, and the Harry Potter movie I checked was 99 cents so I assumed all of them were. My apologies, they do range from $3 to $4 a rental. That’s too much as well unless I’m really desperate.

  23. I was disappointed to get that e-mail from Netflix yesterday announcing this move.

    I’ll explore my options before acting, but off the top of my head I’m thinking I’ll either:

    1. Nix the DVDs that I hardly use anyway and stick with just the streaming to the Roku box


    2. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member anyway, check that out. If it’s not too much of a downgrade from Netflix streaming, use that instead.

  24. I’m a long time NetFlix subscriber (since 2000 I believe.) Until now I was grandfathered into a 4-disc unlimited (plus streaming) plan for under $20 per month. With the changes, my monthly charge would jump by $10. I decided that 4-dvds at time was nice when I was getting a deal – now it is just too many. I reduced to 3-dvds plus streaming and my bill is only going up by $2-3. Annoying, but not enough to turn me off from a great service.

  25. I had Amazon prime until I cancelled a couple weeks ago. They only offer some titles for free streaming. Those they offer are not high value. You have to pay for good stuff.

  26. Debbie M says

    Streaming sounds like a good idea, and I keep saying I’ll do it, but I never have.

    DVDs are (almost) always high quality, plus they usually come with subtitles, which comes in handy when there are strong accents or very quiet parts and when you start to get hard of hearing. We also enjoy watching the extras sometimes.

  27. There is also Zediva for streamed new releases. Zediva has a real physical dvd behind each stream, so they argue they don’t need special permission from the MPAA to stream. Assuming they survive the litigation onslaught, and once they build up their dvd library and capacity, I think they could give Netflix a real run for their money. Registration is limited right now. Jonathan, contact me if you want an invite (you get 2 free rentals, and I get 1).

  28. We, especially the kiddos, use Netflix streaming A LOT. Lots of kid movies and tv series. We will be switching to only streaming as we hardly use DVDs by mail. I tried Hulu Plus and didn’t like it as much as much of the content is limited to PC only and the navigation isn’t as organized as Netflix is. For example its harder to tell with episodes belong to which season. How does Amazon compare to Netflix regarding ease of use and content?

  29. where’s the keep both but downgrade to 1 dvd?

  30. We’ve been with Netflix since May of 2000. Yes, over 11 years. In that time I’ve rented probably 2000 movies (always been on the 4 out at a time plan) and if we include the streaming we’re probably over 2500 easy. We turn off Satellite every year for 6 months and prior to meeting my wife in 2006 I didn’t even bother with cable TV.

    If anything, they’ve lost a ton of cash on me as their model at $20 called for 4-5 rentals a month. We’re way, way, way over that.

    Still at $28 a month it’s a steal. We’re in the off-cable phase so we’re getting at least 4 movies a week and our 2 year old will watch Thomas or Dora or Sesame Street via the Roku daily. We can’t get anything this convenient for so little anywhere else.

    I will not use Redbox as the selection is limited to horrible movies (mostly major new releases – the kind of movies I can’t last watching) and they’re in locations we never frequent (grocery stores and such). Redbox holds no sway over me. Cable is not worth even $25 a month to me… nothing to watch. That leaves Hulu Plus with a pretty limited selection and our amazon prime has a pretty sad selection too.

    Yes, we’ll pay but I think with my pattern I can drop to 3 a month plan w/streaming and still easily average over 15 a month.

  31. I never did Netflix but was about to try it out recently. Now I will not bother. I discovered vudu which is great. Rent new releases. Via streaming in 1080p quality. Also tried redbix fir the first time and thought it wad great very easy and convenient. Also rumor had it red box will stream in the future.

  32. Im going to give Amazon Prime a chance since they are a bit cheaper, and use Redbox for my DVD needs. Redbox is just a 5 minute walk from my house, so its not a big deal.

  33. We will probably will go with streaming + a single DVD.

    We are currently doing the three DVD option at about $17 a month and a friend gave us a Roku, so started using the streaming service with Comcast internet service. The streaming has been trouble-free, even over our wireless network to our laptops. I have also tried it with a Clear 4G hub (we live in a marginal service area) and it works well.

    However, their streaming options are short on what *I* want to watch (TV series such as Treme, Men of a Certain Age, Life, The Wire), so will keep a single DVD option as those are available via DVD.

    Streaming is great for old shows and kids’ shows, as far as television shows go. Also, there is a nice selection of documentaries available via streaming. Can’t really speak to movies as I don’t find myself watching movies much anymore – not sure why.

    My goal is eventually all streaming and believe Netflix will greatly expand their streaming library and phase out DVDs. And our public library has a good DVD selection and is part of a fantastic statewide inter-loan system which includes dozens of public colleges and universities as well as hundreds of public libraries.


    This article is about different ways to get flix without netflix. Found it on msn today.

  35. amazon prime is now $39 for student membership. that’s 50% off.

  36. I’m dropping the service entirely.

    I love their streaming service and have had no problem with the quality. It just seems that 75% of the time the movies I look up are only available via mail. I am annoyed by physical disks and dealing with mailing them. My cost just doubled if I keep both. No thanks. Just the motivation I needed to reduce the amount of time I waste watchin TV anyway.

  37. i agree the streaming really isn’t that god. there are plenty of other free sreaming sites. just get the dvds, record them and send them back.

  38. …record them and send them back? Illegal maybe???

  39. Interestingly, no. Judges have said that consumers have a right to copy a DVD for their own use—say, for backing it up to another disk or perhaps watching it on another device, such as an iPod. That’s the same “fair use” rule that made it legal to tape television shows for watching later, perhaps on a different TV. The problem is that consumers can’t duplicate DVDs without software tools that get around the copy protection on those disks. It is those tools that Congress outlawed.

    so just “capture” it with vlc media player, if your that worried about following the letter of the law.

  40. is it illegal to record a tv show on a vcr?

  41. Tariq @ Yes I Am Cheap says

    We all want cheap stuffs. When the price of the products & services increase, it hurts. Netflix increased their rates and we can’t do anything about that. We have to live on with it.

  42. James: Hm, maybe I have been living under a rock and haven’t heard the latest on this topic, but as far as I know, the only “legal” copy of a copyrighted DVD you can make, even backup copies, are copies of DVDs that you have *purchased* and own yourself. I am pretty certain this does not extend to DVDs that you are renting from Netflix.

  43. is it illegal to record a tv show on a vcr? whats the difference?

    never heard of anybody being prosecuted, unless they were distributing them.

    a gray area for sure.

  44. As far as I know, it’s not illegal to record a TV show on a VCR – nor is it illegal to record it on DVR, TiVO, etc. But DVDs are different – it’s a protected form a media. Almost every commercial DVD that you watch will have that FBI warning in the beginning – you can be prosecuted and do 5 years in the slammer/$250,000 fine. Has anyone actually been prosecuted? I don’t know – if so, probably rarely, as most people don’t distribute or sell these copies. But it is illegal to copy – do a search on Google and you will be inundated with information as well as opinions regarding this subject. Here is an article from 2004…a little old, but I don’t think that court ruling has been overturned. If it has, I’m sure you can find the info online. There certainly have been people that have been prosecuted for copying and distributing music CDs/mp3s, which have similar protection laws. I’m sure you have heard of all the controversy and demise of Napster and other p2p sharing programs…and the ones that do exist now such as Bittorrent.

  45. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says

    Adaptu just published a blog post called: Nixing Netflix? 9 Entertainment Alternatives:

  46. its NOT $15 a month for 1 dvd and unlimeted streaming your nuts if you think it is its like $17.15 a month me stupidly thoughted hey i just need to downgrade to 1 dvd and it will be ruffly the same price with tax and all but guess what i was wrong its 1.15 more in tax so i cant aford the plain i had DOWNGRADED for they should really tell you the total WITH tax when picking a plain

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