Television – Netflix Streaming

This is the third in a series of posts on television and watching of TV shows, movies, and sports. Other posts in this series:

  1. DVRs
  2. On-Demand

Netflix Streaming

I’ve never been a member of the Netflix DVD service. I did sign up for Netflix Streaming about 7 months ago and have enjoyed. I agree with many others that an Apple TV is a great way to watch Netflix Streaming.

Content

My main problem with Netflix is the content. There are almost no current TV shows available and virtually no “big” movies that I want to watch.

That being said, I still feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. I’ve watch tons of older TV shows that I missed out on when they were broadcast but am still interested in (like Eureka and Futurama). They’ve got all (?) older seasons of Top Gear. In a pinch, I can usually find a movie that’s worth watching as well.

Netflix had an agreement with Starz to stream movies to which Starz had a license. That deal expires at the end of February 2012 and there will not be an extension.

A few weeks after this announcement, Netflix announced a similar agreement with Dreamworks. This deal doesn’t start until 2013, though so there will be an at least 10 month gap between the end of Starz and the beginning of Dreamworks.

2011 – A Year of Changes for Netflix

In March, Netflix announced that it had acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast a new series called House of Cards from executive producer David Fincher (who directed Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network, and several other movies). The show stars Kevin Spacey.

In July, Netflix announced that it was going to add a new DVD-only plan and also announced new prices for its plans. For customers that had been on a combination DVD and streaming plan, this resulted in a fairly significant price increase.

In September, Netflix announced that it would be splitting apart its DVD rental service into a new company, called Qwikster. This new company would have its own website that would operate independently of the Netflix.com website which would still be the home of streaming operation.

In October, about four weeks after the prior announcement, Netflix backtracked and said that they would no longer be separating the DVD rental service into a new company.

The Future of Netflix

I do think that the future of Netflix needs to be in streaming content and not rental of physical media by mail1. Whether they can make the transition from DVD rentals to streaming is the question. There’s not much the content owners can do to prevent the DVD rentals, but the rights to streaming content is very different.

If they are successful in this transition, then I suspect the monthly cost will rise quite a bit from the current price of $7.99 per month.

At the current price, Netflix is affordable as an add-on to another TV service (such as cable or FiOS). If the price increases too much, then it might need to replace another paid TV service instead of supplement it.

The key thing to watch with Netflix will be how much content they can add and how much it will cost them1.