Dear Sandra,

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

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

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team


Further confirming my suspicion that everyone is on Netflix, it seemed like everyone was talking about this bit of news. I even went over to the Netflix blog to read the official release and the comments that resulted. The comments were angry: threats to cancel service, accusations of money-grubbing, demand for more streaming options.

This last one had me astonished. I am constantly delighted with the selection on the instant viewing. Now, if you are looking for something specific, you might not find it. But if you are looking generically for something to watch, it's there. And plenty of it is really good, even if it's not new or popular. Maybe this is all in line with my thrifty lifestyle - I am willing to be less picky for a lower cost. My idea of going to the movies is heading to the $1.50 theatre and picking out whichever sounds the most interesting. The movies are not brand new and the floor is sticky, but I'm still getting the entertainment I wanted.

Such is Netflix instant viewing. It would never occur to me to complain about the selection, because I've always found something worth watching. I'm paying for entertainment, not specific movies. In some ways, I like that I am forced to watch things that I might not have seen otherwise; some of them are really awesome. Netflix even recommends things it thinks I would like, which means it shows me a big list of puppet shows and crappy monster movies. Plus, there is a lot of old stuff out there that is still new to me. Maybe I should thank my parents for not having cable or letting me watch anything when I was growing up, because now I can finally catch up on what everybody else was talking about. Annnnnnd, in another five years, I'll be able to catch up on what everyone is talking about now. No, I don't watch True Blood, but did you see that episode of Buffy that aired ten years ago?

I am considering dropping my DVD plan. I've let DVDs sit unwatched for weeks at a time, but my Roku gets daily use. Paying $8 a month might light a fire under me as far as watching my DVDs sooner, but if I can simply live without it, why not? We were going through the discs at a good clip for a while, because Josh and I were working our way through Star Trek: The Next Generation. But now, the whole series is available on instant viewing, so why bother with the discs? If Star Trek were removed from the instant viewing, I guess we'd be stuck. Or we would just find something else to watch. We could always get the DVD plan again if we wanted.

As for the cost, while no one likes price hikes, I still think it's a great value. The $8 streaming plan is worth it to me, even if I decide that the $8 DVD plan is not. I have no idea what Netflix's operating costs are or how much money they make off each individual customer. I just know that I still feel like it's a good value for me. That's all I am qualified to judge.

My one worry is that this is just a first step. We've all seen companies turn evil. I would hate for Netflix to do that, because I like them. They took an old model (movie rental), made it awesomer and cheaper (movie rental by mail), and then blazed a trail into the future (instant viewing). Companies like that deserve to win.

So. Netflix, I still love you. Don't turn evil.

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