Netflix tweaks access, irritates customers
The company makes it harder to add to the DVD queue from streaming devices, igniting a firestorm of controversy.
Netflix is removing the "Add to DVD queue" option for people who use Xbox 360s and other devices that stream Netflix videos. Those users must now go directly to Netflix's website to add movies to the DVD queue (you can still add to the "instant" queue from anywhere).
Talk about inconvenient. The move has ignited a firestorm of resentment among users, and the blog post has received 4,500 mostly negative comments. Why would Netflix do this? The explanation is, well, a little bit murky.
"We're doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly," the company says on its blog. "Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality." Okaaayyy.
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Part of the problem is that Netflix users aren't clear about what exactly happened. I just added "Hot Tub Time Machine" to the DVD queue from an iPhone, but when I checked the queue from a laptop, the movie wasn't there. Other users report similar issues.
People are confused by what exactly Netflix did, reports paidContent. Some people thought Netflix was getting rid of DVDs altogether. A report on Yahoo didn't help, offering the headline "Netflix is abandoning DVDs, customers who prefer DVDs."
That's not true. Netflix isn't abandoning the DVD. But it's clearly making it more difficult for customers to order by-mail DVDs.
Why? Money is one consideration. It costs Netflix 3 cents to send a streaming movie to a customer, BusinessWeek reports (and 5 cents for a high-definition movie). Add to that the cost to license videos for streaming. But postage is incredibly expensive; Netflix estimated its postage costs would hit $600 million in 2010.
The most glaring problem is that all users will still be able to see Netflix's movie selection, but not everyone can add them to the DVD queue, writes Alexander Grundner at eHome Upgrade. "Now that seems confusing and justifiably frustrating," he added.
Users were clearly frustrated. "You're just killing off DVD subscriptions one step at a time," one commenter wrote on Netflix's blog. "First the price hike, Blu-Ray surcharge, and now this. When optical media goes, so do I."
Another user chimed in: "I use this function all the time when streaming from my PS3. Bad move, Netflix." But another user, clearly in the minority, seemed to like the new change, saying, "I appreciate less clutter."
Here are the facts: If you like mostly old movies that you have most likely already seen then the streaming content is alright. If you are a person who wants to watch mostly new movies then you are out of luck with streaming. You have to request a DVD......and many times wait. I am a NF customer and have been for a few years now and I am most likely going to cancel my membership. I bought Apple TV at the end of last year and I love it. I can order and stream movies (specifically) new releases without having to order in advance and wait for delivery. I also don't get frustrated on a Saturday night when I decide to watch a movie, only to browse though the streaming movies only to be disappointed by the selection of Back to the Future, Blade 2 or Blue Crush (which are new releases...LOL) NF has become a total waste of money. They better check out how Amazon and Apple do it or they will be left in the dust soon enough.
Wow! Let's just totally alienate those that don't have internet but still want to watch movies via DVD. I believe that NetFlix is, what is that old expression, "Cutting off your nose to spite your face"?
Need to think about it NetFlix.
i wish that if netflix is going to limit dvds that they make available more movies that are instant to download. it is a pain in the **** to have to get a dvd of a new release when you could just instantly play it.
hurray up and put the new movies on instant play.
"Why would you want a dvd of something you can watch streaming?"
Let's think about
1. Some people may require the use of closed captioning.
2. See deleted scenes
3. movie commentary in you liked the movie enough
4. depending if they send the real disc or a rental disc, pop it onto the PC for PC only features.
5. Sound Quality Options on DVD.
6. Language Options on DVD.
7. Don't have to drop $15 to buy disc to get 1 through 6.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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