Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Netflix raises rates again... splits stream from DVD in new "improved" plans

If you're a Netflix customer, by now you probably have received your notice of the fantastic new rate hike planned as of 9/1 for those with DVD and streaming plans and immediately for new customers.  We are a Netflix family and use the stream more so than the DVD plan right now.  However, our usage waxes and wanes with regard to DVDs, particularly when we find that we can stream some seasons of shows, but then must take out the DVDs to continue watching (or vice versa).  We also liked having both options because we do like to get new releases from time to time.

Earlier this month, I realized that Seasons 2, 3 and 4 of a favorite show, once in my instant queue, were just gone.  Gone as in never been there and gone as in now to watch anything other than Season 1's six episodes, I'll have to get them out via DVD.  Nice!  No notice either that they were going to be pulled from the instant stream.  This same situation happened to a friend as well... so if you are invested enough in a series, you almost have to opt for both DVD and streaming options to watch your shows. 

So what does this mean?  There's no incentive really for Netflix to continue adding series to the stream when they have the DVD.  They want you hooked on stream so you'll want to use their DVDs too, which means a hefty hike if you don't want to change your viewing habits.

What will we do?  Right now, we are seriously considering going to stream only and completely dropping the DVD option.  I'll be scouring our library for complete seasons of the shows we can't stream and I'm not above buying a season and then re-selling it on eBay.  A bit drastic?  Perhaps.  But the whole purpose of streaming was supposed to be to save Netflix money over the long haul since they wouldn't have to pay postage to/from our home to their distribution center.  Somewhere along the line, Netflix lost sight of how this and is now forcing many users such as myself to make a tough decision about cutting down their plans to keep it even with what it was before.  Judging by the thousands upon thousands of negative comments on their blog and Facebook pages, I know I am not alone in my angst or plans to scale back my own preferences to save money. 

Are you a Netflix customer too and upset over this new turn of events?  Please comment and let me know your thoughts.  Is this new rate hike a deal breaker for you?
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