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Scott

I didn't know this had ever gone away!

Seth

Yeah I agree with Scott, hasn't there always been a DVD only plan since the split/price increase?

Shellie

While the DVD-only plan isn’t new, accessing it directly is, according to Santosh Hegde, director of DVD engineering at Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix. Hedge disclosed the change in a blog post.

Jamie

Apparently you could not directly sign up for dvd only at the site since they did all the changes. You could only sign up for streaming only or streaming AND dvd.

I guess they were doing that to try to steer business a certain way but realized they might be losing some customes that way.

Walt D in LV

This is a HUGE win. As has been reported by several posters even here on Hacking Netflix (myself included), some time around the time of the "split" between DVDs and Streaming, Netflix changed their sign up to ONLY allow a person to sign up with Streaming. Once signed up, you could add DVDs, but Streaming only was the only plan out of the gate.

Many saw that move as evidence that Netflix was seriously moving out of the DVD by mail business (and Blu-ray). This move today is a fantastic way Netflix can calm nerves and keep people like me happy that DVDs/Blu-rays are with Netflix for the foreseeable future.

Trey D

Actually it was possible to sign up for DVDs only but it was not obvious. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIqcKE9kH8A.

NumbNutz

These people are whack. Make up your crazy minds already!

JuntMonkey

lol...had no idea they did that but it just shows you how horrendously bad their decision-making over the last year has been. Yea, let's push people away from the side of the business that is significantly more profitable than the other. Just awful.

gir

Perhaps they're starting to realize that licensing content is no walk in the park. I'll believe they've regained their sanity when they start marketing the DVD part of their service again, and when they knock a couple of bucks off the combined plans.

Chris

This is good. I guess they realized that leading new leads into only one product (streaming) does not make sense if it is the other product that is actually desired(disk). Maybe they will learn that even a litle bit of profit is better than no profit (duh). Especially as they have said that their ditribution fixed costs (centers) are already paid for. These jokers have just become to greedy too quickly reflecting on the lessons of larger corporate entities. Just because you open the doors does not mean that "they will come". I especially think NF customers who are probably more savvy than most and here because they want value.

Chris

I just took a look at there site and they talk about all the streaming to so many devices and watch all the movies and TV you want and just had to laugh as I think you have NF who has built the streaming platform equivalent of the AUTOBAHN (in completeness relative to competitors) and then can only license Ford Pintos to drive on it. Sorry I just had to laugh. No in your face sign up for DVD option on the www.netflix.com page (at least that I can see).

Mrmanmac

Reed Hastings has only acknowledged that DVD will eventually go away. I have seen nothing to indicate they are trying to hurry up the process. I have been on a 2 out plan since 2003 and have never had any issues with long waits, not available, etc. All of the things people continually complain about, i juat have not seen it.

What I really don't understand is how anyone thinks redbox is a better option either as a customer or investor. The last thing i want to do is stand in line at Wally World to rent or return a movie, unless you have no patience, or you don't plan in advance this seems like a mega pain in the butt.

As an investor i want to know how much that machine costs, how much does it cost fill it up with DVD's, and how much do you have to pay Wal Mart to have it inside the store? At $1.29 a night you would have to rent one helluva lot of movies to pay all that AND make a profit.

Until Netflix can secure content deals that will include newer movies there will always be demand for DVD's. Until a happy medium is found where we can PPV at reasonable price $1 there will be a market.

Nate

Their DVD arm is still a great value, that might change if the USPS drops Saturdays/delays First Class mail an additional 1-2 days. Until that happens I don't know why they wouldn't push each side. If someone signs up for the DVD only plan automatically sign them up for a free month of streaming, you might get double the value out of them as opposed to someone just signing up for streaming. For those that constantly slam streaming, I don't think they realize the titles that will be coming. Deals will start paying off that Netflix signed in the past year. They won't get every major title, but they will start getting a lot and soon.

moviegeek

I just resubscribed to Netflix's disc plan because Blockbuster is getting worse(Dish just wants the name), at least Netflix mails discs in a timely manner. I still haven't tried Redbox and doubt I ever will. As for streaming content in 2012, it's going to be pretty slim pickings until the end of the year when the studio deals they signed kick-in.

Tecmo SB Guy

How much does blu-ray cost as an add on? $7.99 plus $1 or $2? I forgot and I can't seem to find the price list for that.

Perkins Cobb

I think the Blu-ray "upgrade" is still only $1 ... although its value has decreased, since Netflix currently stocks only the DVD for many films that are also available on Blu.

Trey D is correct: you could always sign up for a DVD-only plan, but Netflix made it absurdly difficult. They also hide the options for 3-8 discs out at a time; if you weren't looking for them, you might never notice that they exist.

Mrmanmac, Netflix's tangible efforts not to support the DVD side of the business have been amply demonstrated on this blog and elsewhere. This news does sound like a tentative move in the opposite direction, and here's another one: lately Netflix has been putting back into circulation the limited quantities of many older discs that they previously had made unavailable (presumably because the supply dropped below a certain number).

However, I won't believe that NF is truly back in the disc business until they go back to acquiring new catalog releases. Buy up the last two years' worth of Criterions, Reed, and then we'll talk.

Louis S

I just recently re-upped back to 1 DVD/Blu Ray at a time with streaming. For $19 a month including taxes, its STILL a bargain. Consider this, for HBO I would have to pay $19.95/month + tax, and while I have access to some of their shows, I only have access to semi-new and some older films through only a portion of the major studios. With Netflix, I get access to DVD's from ALL of the studios, and the new releases STILL arrive prior to thier airing on HBO, Starz, etc. The streaming is great too in the event there's an old movie that I haven't seen and there's TONS of great television shows and specials. It's the ultimate premium television service in my opinion, and there's not ONE company doing what they do. Even with all of the issues, name a company that meets or exceeds what Netflix offers.

Louis S

Also, I can get HBO, Showtime and Starz shows (that are on DVD) on Netflix too

Judy_

I didn't know it had gone away. There are so few good movies that I haven't seen on streaming lately that I dropped it and now have the 2-DVD by mail plan. I save a few bucks and get the better movies that way. One day I simply realized that there wasn't anything on streaming that I wanted to see and that I really didn't have to deal with that awful new interface anymore.

Some of the disks have had problems playing or take a long time to be available recently so it may be Hastings is trying to ruin that part of the business too.

Mark1971

I've noticed in the past month or so that about 10 previously unavailable older titles I've had in my "saved discs" list have been acquired and moved up into my queue. Hopefully this is a sign that Netflix is taking the disc business more seriously again.

RJM

Like others, Im pretty sure it was never missing, that is, I could have switched to it at any time.

That said, streaming seems to be the best value.

But, still DVDs I want to see.

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That is great information.It's really great post.Thanks for the awesome post.

Walt D in LV

@RJM, and others who might have misunderstood the original post: Netflix has always had the option to switch to a DVD-only plan, but for new people to start up with only DVDs, and no streaming, was next to impossible. Now, it's easy again, for new customers:
dvd.netflix.com

@Tecmo SB Guy, the Blu-ray plans start out at $2 for 1-at-a-time, then go up $1 for each additional disc ($3 for 2, $4 for 3, etc). You can change plans here from your Account page:
https://www2.netflix.com/SubscriptionChange?lnkctr=yas_changeplan&trkid=496625

@Nate, I am one who constantly slams streaming. Not because of the content available, but because of the quality. Why watch something streaming when I can watch the Blu-ray? The HD video and uncompressed audio is amazing and cannot be reproduced via streaming. Yet.

As far as the limited content of streaming. I recommend to everyone to RATE what they've watched, whether it was streamed, on DVD/Blu-ray, on Cable TV, or even if you saw it in the theater. Based on your ratings, Netflix will recommend other things. I've found them to be incredibly accurate. Of course, the more you rate, the more accurate the recommendations become. Soon, you'll find things you never knew existed, but will fall in love with.
A recent example for me is the movie "My Name is Khan". Holy smokes! That's a great movie. Netflix recommended it to me based on my ratings (in particular, I'm sure, movies like Life is Beautiful). Nowadays, if I hear about a movie, I go to the Netflix site to see what they say I'll rate it. It's not 100%, but it has become very accurate.

Perkins Cobb

"Even with all of the issues, name a company that meets or exceeds what Netflix offers." (Louis S.)

Sure: Netflix, 2-3 years ago.

Nate

Walt, you also know you're in the minority though when it comes to quality standards. I have a 47" LG Smart tv with a sound bar, I don't require true 1080p 24fps etc. Heck, I believe the No. 1 device (in terms of use) is the Wii which doesn't even offer HD of any sort for Netflix streaming. From what I've read the best out there is Vudu HDX, which I believe requires 8mb+ down to stream correctly. While many people in urban areas can achieve this, a very large chunk of the US cannot. Thus there are technical limitations beyond Netflix's control even if they wanted to attempt matching HDX standards. I think streaming is the future, but I'm not one of those guys that thinks "disc will be dead" - because of folks like you and the licensing issues of Netflix's All-You-Can eat business model for their streaming plan.

Mike

Wonder if this had anything to do with "declining" dvd side of the business? People got angry and left, but new dvd customers couldn't sign up without jumping through hoops. Which of course, Netflix spins it "SEE!!! dvds are on the way out!!! we must STREAM!!!" (sorry for the exageration) Anyway, when I wanted to reinstate my dvd ONLY subscription last July, I had to call them...since I couldn't figure out how to do it online. The customer rep, although very helpful, was puzzled about it as well. She got it done though, and got me dvds only. We shall see if this gets them any new dvd customers.

BoB

Are you people daft? It says it was gone for NEW SIGNUPS! If you are existing, you could change plans anytime BUT new subs could ONLY sign up for streaming!!!

What they had to do was to immediately change plans to a DVD only plan without streaming, if they only wanted a DVD plan.

No where on NF did it say this. It appeared that you could only get streaming if you were a NEW SUB. I assume many people did not sign up if they wanted DVD only plans.

RJM

In the past, I was against streaming being shoved down out throats because I consider much of it "reruns".

Much of it is indeed reruns but Ive found I enjoy some rerun TV shows as much or more than some new release DVDs that arent really highly rated.

To lower my costs, I think Im going to streaming & 1 out although I will probably eventually swap from streaming only one month to 3 DVDs only the next because that way im not paying to compete with different services.

One thing is 100% obvious is that netflix has reduced their investment in DVDs and/or they have ramped up "throttling" to levels not seen in years. The every other month swap should help with the throttling.

When I say throttling, its not so much that they are not sending a DVD like they used to, its the new releases & recent new releases ALL have pretty long waits for at least several weeks unless I happen to get it on MONDAY of the week it comes out.

So thats bothersome.

But, I just cant get myself to rent from redbox because it requires me to go back the next day which sometimes requires an extra 4 mile round trip for me. That just kills the value proposition for me.

Now, if I drove by one twice a day like many people, I would use it a lot more.

So even if I can only get 6-7 a month on the 1 dvd at a time plan, it ends up cheaper than redbox.

Now, if redbox were to offer 2-3 at a time subscription plans, that might change. But they dont appear to want to go in that direction.

Joycepennyjones

I firmly believe that it is like everything else. They drag you in to get your business then in order to get all of their services you are required to pay an additional fee.
I signed up for Netflix for my WII and thought that since I had a Netflix account I could use all of their services. BUM DEAL.
I feel betrayed since I was not made aware of all of the rules at signup. I would not use enough DVD's to pay for the service....

Account Deleted

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I m so fortunate to read your blog. I learned a lot of new things.

robbie

People were saying Netflix was phasing out the DVD side of the business but in the past month I've seen a sudden influx of newer as well as older movies becoming available in the foreign, gay and indie categories which would let me to think DVDs are going to be around for a while.

Mike

Yep, alot of my unavailable dvds have now become available as well.

Perkins Cobb

Keep in mind though: All the "unavailable" DVDs that have become available in the last few weeks are all discs that Netflix carried years ago and then removed. Which is great (especially because many of them are now OOP and difficult to find), but it doesn't represent a new investment in acquiring DVDs.

In fact, it could be seen as the equivalent of a "closing out sale" on the DVD side -- in other words, they have low quantities of these discs but figure there's nothing to lose by recirculating them and increasing the average disc wait time slightly. But who knows, maybe it's a first step back toward buying new catalog discs.

Mike

Interesting. Why did they remove them? I always thought they just didn't have any copies anymore due to discs going out of print, damage, theft, etc.

Mike

just saw this:

"lately Netflix has been putting back into circulation the limited quantities of many older discs that they previously had made unavailable (presumably because the supply dropped below a certain number)."

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What's the point? Online streaming is definitely better than dvds by mail. I can watch one right after the other. The only other benefit dvds have is that they have more options.

Galagatron


I've noticed more catalog DVDs and newly released older movies popping back up in the disc queue. I figured they'd become unavailable because Netflix didn't replace broken discs or those kept by crappy customers.

Perkins Cobb

Mike: Essentially you're right but my suspicion was always that, because it was such a huge operation, Netflix would retire a title once their supply dipped below a certain number. I can't guess what that threshold was -- 5 copies? 25? 100? -- but you have to figure that having everyone in the US fighting over the last copy of THE IPCRESS FILE as it zigzagged across the US would be more of a strain on their systems than it'd be worth.

(Remember when you'd occasionally wait 3 days for a disc sent from some shipping center on the other side of the country? At some point, NF quit doing that.)

The re-integration of all these old DVDs confirms my guess that Netflix had kept a cache of them someplace. A good opportunity for film buffs to get some long out-of-print titles, if they've kept them in their Saved queue, or retained a mental wish list.

Mike

Perkins: that makes sense. It accounts for my surprise when I received a long unavailable dvd in the mail last week---it didn't look new at all.

Jay

Glad to hear it! I love my NF, and have been a 3-at-a-time DVD customer for 8 years now. Streaming was great when they had what I wanted, but that was pretty rare. I dropped the streaming part last summer to avoid teh price hike and haven't looked back.

I hope they keep the DVD side of the business for a long, long time!

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