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How to get more value from Netflix

You're probably angry about Netflix's sudden -- and significant -- price increase, but are you really ready to drop the service? Here's how to make the most of it.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2011 6:54PM

Netflix customers have announced -- loud and clear -- how upset they are about the latest price increase. Customers who continue to combine streaming and DVD rental will see a 60% price increase on or after Sept. 1.


A customer who's billed $9.99 a month now for unlimited streaming and one mailed DVD at a time will pay $15.98 -- $7.99 each for streaming and one-at-a-time DVDs. Big price increase. Same service.


Sure, we could quit Netflix in disgust, as many have threatened. But when we consider all the alternatives available -- we gave up paid TV more than a year ago and don't plan to go back -- we still prefer Netflix's service. The question now is: How can we get more value from it? Post continues after video.

Consider these options:


Go streaming only. That's $7.99 a month, less than you're paying right now. Streaming-only is what Netflix wants you to do because it's more profitable than putting movies in the mail. The downside is that the streaming selection is limited. Fewer than half the movies and TV shows in my queue are available for streaming.


However, that's what Julie Rains of Wise Bread said she's going to do:

When I told my family that Netflix prices were increasing, I gave them the option of choosing DVD or streaming (rather than both). The fast, unanimous decision was "streaming." The truth is that we use the streaming option more often because of its convenience, despite the deeper selection available on DVD.

Optimize that streaming experience. Will Chen of Wise Bread turned us on to, which tells you what's being made available for Netflix streaming and what's about to drop off. That's how I found out that "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was in Netflix streaming mode.


Go DVDs only, a good alternative for people who aren't optimally equipped for streaming. Michael at The Dough Roller has updated his post on how to get the most value from Netflix's DVD-only plans, reflecting the new prices. Let's say we can make time to watch one DVD a night (unlikely in summer but very doable in wintertime). The one-DVD-at-a-time plan will provide nine nights of entertainment for a total monthly cost of $7.99, or 89 cents each, he says. If we move to the two-DVD plan, for $11.99 a month, we can watch 18 movies (if we use separate return) for a cost of 67 cents each. With the three-DVD plan at $15.99, that jumps to 27 discs at 59 cents apiece.


That's one cent more than the price of streaming plus one DVD, and much cheaper than Redbox (plus we don't have to leave the house).


Take a break from Netflix. You can suspend your membership when you don't think you'll be watching many flicks -- like the summer months. According to the Hacking Netflix blog, Netflix will store your queue for up to two years if you suspend, quit or switch to streaming only.


Or you can do nothing and pay the higher cost. Or quit. That's what James K. Willcox of Consumer Reports is contemplating.

At the very least, I'll be checking out other options, such as Redbox Blu-ray rentals, and other streaming services such as Hulu Plus and Amazon (free with Amazon Prime). I already have access to Vudu on several devices, and its HDX format offers better picture quality than I can get with Netflix.

Which option are you going with?


More on MSN Money:

Jul 21, 2011 3:39AM
This article has to be the biggest waste of my time in awhile.  I was hoping you were going to tell me something interesting.  Instead I had the displeasure of reading a rehash of what is already in plain sight.  Try writing something that will actually give me an idea of how to get more value from Netfux.  Otherwise, don't bother.  Seriously.
Jul 21, 2011 8:53AM

Streaming was fun and exciting when it was a free addition to the service. The lack of a quality selection makes it difficult to justify paying extra for the service. Using the service in my house ends up being a constant game of “Lets watch this movie” “Ohhh that’s not on available…” until we give up or settle for a movie that we really didn’t want to watch.

Jul 21, 2011 8:23AM
I wouldnt mind going to just streaming but their selection is terrible.  I've looked for no less than 5 movies to stream in the past few days, and they are only on disk.  If they want me to switch to streaming only make it worth my money....right now its a big step down.
Jul 21, 2011 5:01AM
I have Amazon Prime-love it!  No streaming problems and good selection; plus it paid for itself with the free shipping at Christmas time.  I dumped Netflix last week-I was happy with it, but it wasn't worth the price jump.
Jul 21, 2011 3:27AM

Simple. We cancelled Netflix.


1. We already have ROKU which provides HD resolution versus Netflix via computer.


2. There are many channels there providing free streamining. We just hadn't looked before.


3. Frequently, we had streaming problems with Netflix, so DVD was the answer if we wanted to watch a film without problems like drop outs. The problems continued but we aren't going to pay 60 % more now as a solution for a Netflix problem.


4. To our family, the customer service in handling this increase was the real problem. No planning or announcement to it's loyal or good customers.


" Hey guys, did you find out about our increase in the news ?  We don't need or have time to send an announcement to 23 million of you by email even. Don't like it ? Too bad - Bye ! "


5. In 6 months or so, watch for:


a. ) Cancellation of the DVD service as too expensive. Followed by:

b. ) Yet another increase, this time for the streaming service.


Must be nice to make 5.5 million per year as Netflix president. Enjoy paying that for that recently, but quietly hidden increase in compensation folks !



Jul 21, 2011 7:50AM
I would like to continue with streaming, and can stand the rate increase (what else isn't going up in the "o"pression), but my problem is the lack of captions (subtitles) on streaming movies. I'm sure many other folks with hearing loss might feel the same.
Jul 21, 2011 9:12AM

Well, let's see:  You can go with streaming only and put up with a drastically reduced selection, or you can go with DVD only and put up with unplayable discs as much as 30% of the time.  Or you can pay 50% more than you're paying now and get the joys of both!


I agree Netflix will eventually need to raise its prices, but not before fixing its problems first.

Jul 21, 2011 8:31AM
Netflix charges $10 for a service I can literally get for free, now that they want to charge 60% more I think I'm going to opt for free.
Jul 21, 2011 6:02AM
I have had far too many problems with the Netflix disks to justify the price increase. I'll be going to Amazon & Redbox right before the price goes up.
Jul 21, 2011 8:57AM
I dropped Netflix before the announced rate increase ! Why ? Because I could not stream the movies I wanted to watch. I have a very hectic schedule and when I want to watch a movie I dont want to wait a week or move to see it when MY schedule allows. This story isnt a story about netflix , its a commercial FOR netflix ! and one Im not buying !

I dropped the DVD/BluRay options, kept the streaming.  I never really used the DVD/BluRay options, I was wasting my money.


Maybe I should thank Netflix. :-)  They just lost money on me.

Jul 21, 2011 7:22AM

I don't think it's that people mind paying, as much as they Detest, the PERCENT OF INCREASE!!!


As with most deals you can find,. They get you HOOKED, than REEL you in! Angry


I canceled Cable, years ago...just don't watch enough TV to make it WORTH IT to me. NetFlix is a lot more "Watcher Friendly", and Still a dea,l when it comes down to it.


Try this again within the next couple years though....AND THEY LOOSE ME, FOR SURE!

Jul 21, 2011 10:31AM
Those that are complaining of Netflix's greed are very misinformed of what is happening in the streaming world and cancelling your accounts and bringing down Netflix is going to have very bad consequences for all of us. Netflix is raising their prices because of HOLLYWOOD's greed. When Netflix first made contracts with the movie studios, the studios didn't understand the phenomenon streaming would become as such, Netflix currenlty pays around 400 million for streaming rights. Next year though those contracts are up and the studios now want 1.96 billion for the rights. Think Netflix has the cash for this? Think again. Last quater Netflix's cash in hand was 342 million, their two main competitors, Amazon had 7 billion and Google had 37 billion. Hollywoods plan is (should they succeed in bringing down Netflix) is to have streaming cost $40 to $70 per month and Amazon and Google are agreeing to this. Netflix is attempting to continue to offer lower prices along with the a service Amazon and Google can't touch, yes I know of free streaming with Amazon Prime, but that is currently a gimmick to gain subscribers. Currently Amazon and Google can't touch Netflix's subsriber base and thus the reason Netflix has such low prices. If that ever changes it's game over for us consumers and Hollywood wins once again.
Jul 21, 2011 9:22AM
I went to the streaming only plan. I watch maybe 2 DVDs/BluRays a month and the fact I could just keep it until I watched it made me lazy. Now when I want to watch something not streaming, I'll get it from Redbox where I know I'll have to watch it and return it right away or pay the price. 
Jul 21, 2011 6:48AM
I did quit the mail portion oif netflix which is where the price increase is.  I didn't watch two movies in two weeks, so I wasn't getting the best end of the deal.
Jul 21, 2011 9:31AM
Jul 21, 2011 9:27AM
Seems like this writer really wants to like Netflix.
"you could suspend............'

Uh huh,  or you could cancel.
If you ever want to come back you can rejoin as easy as resuming your oh hold subscription.

Come on people,  fight this kind of stab with your wallet.
Streaming from Netflix was never that good anyway.  But then again,  neither was the disc by mail service.  Lots of unplayable discs.

Jul 21, 2011 7:32AM
I'm going to keep it the way it is, with streaming and DVD.  I'm on the verge of getting rid of DirecTV as soon as I can figure out the antenna situation for local channels.  Their picture quality is good and they've been helpful when I had to downgrade, but I lost channels I actually watched and now they're jacking up the price again.  The only thing that bothers me is my stupid ISP cap.  I don't think I'll breach it, but I look for evil AT&T to lower the cap as soon as people get used to it.  Frankly, we don't need to be going backward in terms of technology. 

I'm planning to get a Roku box, and with Netflix streaming and DVD it will still be cheaper.  Until they get more of their library on streaming I'd like to have access to as much content as I can.  Unfortunately, despite what they say, I don't think that will happen anytime soon.  The studios learned NOTHING from the record companies about how their customers listen to music nowadays.  They're fighting tooth and nail to keep anyone from watching anything they didn't purchase on Blu-Ray.  I say, fine, if you don't want me to watch it, I'll stop going to the movies altogether. :P

Jul 21, 2011 10:19AM
Or you can just go to the theater and pay $40 plus food for a family, for ONE movie. Not!
Jul 21, 2011 9:51AM
Just do what I'm doing. I signed up for Amazon Prime which gives me free streaming which for me compares just fine with Netflix's old and BV movies streaming line up. For dvd's I'll be going back to redbox which works for me quite well before Netflix and I'm sure will be just as good now. Best of all I can stick my thumb in the eye of Netflix's greed which seems to think we're a bunch of lemmings who after complaining a little will willfully be gouged month after month. I;ll remeber fondly when Netflix was a good value BEFORE the greed took over. OH yeah!  Hey! Netflix stop with the trolling comments being planted in all the forums stating how great the increase is! And even though Sony and others have pulled their movies , Netfilx is even a better value now!!! ROLF ! Do you really think your customers are that gullible!!!!   lol  bye bye Sept 1st
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