Well another round of service updates makes it time to reevaluate how I’m getting my television and videos. For the longest time I was getting 3 discs from Netflix, I wouldn’t make good use of them every month but I would go on a few fits of watching that it made it worthwhile. Then Netflix added streaming to its regular service which once I was able to connect effectively was nice. The streaming doesn’t have everything that I wanted to watch as far as movies or television shows, maybe generously a quarter of the things and typically just the older stuff, but it was convenient. So when Netflix upped its rates I was slightly irked but realizing I didn’t need so many discs I dropped down to one disc at a time.
Now, Netflix is splitting its service into streaming for a fee and discs for a fee which of course adds up to more than my current fee:
Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:
Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month
As much as I knew this would be coming in some way I’m still perturbed. The main problem is that although I don’t watch those new discs regularly I do occasionally like it as an option. If they had more content available via streaming this wouldn’t be as big of a problem but they don’t. Due to costs the assumption is they’re trying to steer people away from the actual discs but it would be nice if they threw in a couple discs a year (or something) to existing users until they get their catalog up.
What I’m going to do is admit that I don’t actually use the discs often enough to rationalize the cost. And if I ‘need’ to watch something unavailable I can for the most part get it via another service streaming. This is quicker and allows more flexibility than the discs and based on sample costs ($.99-1.99 episode and $3.99-4.99 for a new release) seems to be cheaper if I really only do it sporadically. Where this doesn’t work is for catching up on more recent series, it’s just not cost effective with costs per disc/episode.
So the plan is to wait that out, things change right? I’ve got enough backlog of things that are streaming (Weeds, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Gallactica) that I can hold out for now on the others (Mad Men, The Wire, Deadwood). There is also unfortunately the potential for some things to be removed from streaming (which I learned the hard way rewatching Veronica Mars which lost its streaming license in the midst of Season 3).
There are a few other services that I’m keeping an eye on, that so far don’t quite meet my needs either. As much as I can remember not wanting to pay for cable I may buckle on something else, but not yet:
- Amazon/Blockbuster streaming – These are both available as a per episode/movie option on my TiVo and what I expect to utilize to fill the gap.
- Amazon Prime – Basically like current Netflix where you pay an annual fee and get discs shipped and some options on streaming but to my knowledge has less of a selection.
- Hulu – Some stuff is free online but there’s also fee based Hulu Plus which has more current television that I don’t see this so much as replacing Netflix as possibly replacing cable at some point if they get their options up.
- Apple/iTunes – To be honest I know they have a tv option but I don’t know how it works/works with iTunes, though as most folks are already plugged in to iTunes this is an option for single episodes/movies though not as easily integrated with the physical tv.
- Video Stores/Kiosks – There’s still one of these in Safeway and I know people who still go to a store so that’s theoretically an option.
I guess until then I should try to catch the last Veronica Mars episodes before I cancel discs with the rate increase scheduled for September. What are you doing?