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Netflix and Other Home-Video Vendors [was: DVD-by-Mail]


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I'm suddenly curious about Amazon Prime, myself. Unlimited two-day shipping on all items and streaming, at $79 a year.

I've had the free student Amazon Prime for the past year (free shipping, no streaming). That's ending next month, but I got an email today saying that if I signed up for the regular Prime with my .edu email, it would only be $39 for the year. Looks like I'll be checking out the selection there, too.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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Hulu plus so far doesn't offer nearly as much Netflix for movies...and Amazon Prime has almost nothing to watch...and currently no options to watch on my TV...as opposed to Netflix and Hulu Plus. All the options Amazon has are less popular options. I might feel differently if they had an option for the PS3 Xbox 360...

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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We'll see what happens after this price change. I am dropping my plan.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I don't get why the price change is such a big deal. Paying $16 a month for both streaming and 1 DVD at a time doesn't strike me as terribly unreasonable.

I think the unreasonable part is that it represents a 60% increase. Plus they aren't offering a bundle discount.

I suspect that they will lose some business over this, but if it is mostly in the disc rental side of things, they probably won't mind. The trend is toward streaming. DVDs may have gotten them going but I doubt they see it as their future.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I don't get why the price change is such a big deal. Paying $16 a month for both streaming and 1 DVD at a time doesn't strike me as terribly unreasonable.

I think the unreasonable part is that it represents a 60% increase. Plus they aren't offering a bundle discount.

I suspect that they will lose some business over this, but if it is mostly in the disc rental side of things, they probably won't mind. The trend is toward streaming. DVDs may have gotten them going but I doubt they see it as their future.

Except that in their press release, they cite the strength of the mail DVD program as a reason for the change.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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If I stay with 2 disc + unlimited streaming, the cost will increase from $14.99 to $19.98, a 33% jump. Given the realities of the market -- Netflix has to renegotiate its streaming licenses in a much more competitive environment -- that seems both reasonable and predictable. They've been using the drug-dealing business model (free until you're hooked) with their streaming service for several years now, and we've all gotten to take advantage of it. I'm sure I wasn't the only person who reduced his DVDs-per-month service once I started streaming films.

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I've gone from 2 discs at a time to 1 and kept the streaming option; thus my fee increases by only 99 cents.

I just sent back the Howl's Moving Castle DVD and realized we'd had it for 6 months. My son really likes Miyazaki!

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

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It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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I like the fact that they are giving you the option NOT to pay for streaming. I rarely use it and haven't been too impressed with the selection. I'm dropping it and my plan will now be a few bucks cheaper each month.

Edited by J.R.
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I use streaming far more often than I use the physical DVDs. My DVD player streams straight to the television, and my wife and I will often watch television episodes (aren't they supposed to get the full seasons of MAD MEN on there pretty soon?) and other various films we've not heard of. Their selection of films includes a lot of duds, true, but it also includes a lot of interesting, lesser-known gems that aren't so easy to find elsewhere.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: . . . (aren't they supposed to get the full seasons of MAD MEN on there pretty soon?) . . .

We've had 'em in Canada since the streaming was introduced here almost a year ago. It's one of the very, very few times that the Canadian Netflix has had something that the American one didn't. Usually it's the reverse.

(Side note: I would recommend that, in an international forum such as A&F, we never say "it's on Netflix" without specifying which country you're coming from. Netflix already exists in at least two countries and is spreading to more, in the near future, but each country has its own distribution deals, so we can't assume that anything playing in one is playing in the others.) (On the other hand, you can always say "it's on Hulu" without qualification because Hulu doesn't exist outside the U.S.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Good conversation, gang. We currently have the 1-DVD + streaming plan, and I initially balked at having to get two plans. But I'm starting to realize that with how much we use both DVDs and Watch Instantly, $16 a month is a steal. I feel like I should light a cigar with a $20 bill now.

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The main problem to me is that I have no desire to "need" a service of this sort. At least not to the degree that I cannot cancel my service for such things as a ridiculous 60% increase in rates. In addition to that, I have no interest in finding reasons, or excuses, to make this "legitimate" for Netflix when what I am really doing is rationalizing the expense. As a people we do possess the ultimate power is such cases. However, we rarely choose to exercise it, especially over our own need for convenience. There are many people who have valid reasons or desires or monies to maintain such a service and I am glad we have the freedom to choose.

In the end, I would rather support my local library system. I am even willing to wait 10 to 14 days for an inter-library loan. I encourage everyone here to support your community, its health and welfare, by checking-out and requesting movies from your local library. Maybe you could get some of the best films purchased and placed in circulation for others to happen upon, enjoy, and be transformed (if only for 120 minutes). To have a hand in curating the collection is to have a hand in shaping culture. Shaping, or impacting, culture is what I thought we were about at A&F. I would rather impact my local community than contribute to current corporate America who will impact and shape our culture.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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In addition to that, I have no interest in finding reasons, or excuses, to make this "legitimate" for Netflix when what I am really doing is rationalizing the expense.

If the expense is that minor, does it really need rationalizing?

In the end, I would rather support my local library system.

All the local libraries near me have substantial rental fees for DVDs, with hefty late fines. They've been leaning more and more on their DVD collections as a source for fundraising. Using the library as a source for movie rentals would actually be more expensive than it would be to remain a Netflix subscriber.

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Ryan H. wrote:

: All the local libraries near me have substantial rental fees for DVDs . . .

Really? Wow. Are these PUBLIC libraries?

Where I live, the library DVDs are not only free, but you can keep 'em for three weeks -- none of this overnight or two-nights-only stuff.

The late fees for DVDs *are* heftier than the late fees for books, but that's okay, I think.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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In addition to that, I have no interest in finding reasons, or excuses, to make this "legitimate" for Netflix when what I am really doing is rationalizing the expense.

If the expense is that minor, does it really need rationalizing?

I don't find a 60% increase to be minor. But determining the increase to be a major or minor increase is going to fairly relative.

In the end, I would rather support my local library system.

All the local libraries near me have substantial rental fees for DVDs, with hefty late fines. They've been leaning more and more on their DVD collections as a source for fundraising. Using the library as a source for movie rentals would actually be more expensive than it would be to remain a Netflix subscriber.

Our libraries are $1 or $2 dollars for a week (depending on the library) and I think it is a good deal. If the late fees are substantial then I would suggest not returning it late, which begins to support the point of convenience. Funny how we lived for decades returning VHS tapes and DVDs before a due date or late fee would be charged.

There are so many societal nuances here that could be discussed...I am really beginning to love this thread.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I am too Thom. I haven't checked out a disc from Netflix for myself in several years. I have largely been using it to walk back through Miyazaki, classic Disney, and some other areas of animation with my kids. I often buy discs from other regions to keep up with the festival circuit, but these end right back up on ebay after I am done with them. To this day, I only retain that first Brakhage set and a few screeners. Even screeners get the heave-ho once a year.

I am a big fan of the Mubi model. Get as many festival films in as many areas available for a few bucks a pop online. This allows them to cycle additional sets of films throughout the year for members, many of which are free. Mubi has worked because it is built on a sense of collective or community that derives directly from the film festival scene. It provides this collective the kinds of things they want and ignores the rest. Twitch could do the same thing with the genres the site covers.

It seems that the future of the medium is online streaming, but this will take the form of outlets aligning themselves with distributors such that we will be forced to pick as many outlets as we can afford and abandon the rest. In form, this is no different than it used to be. While living in Chicago, I had to make the rounds of three different theaters and three different video stores/libraries to keep up with what I wanted to see. Netflix has wooed us for years with that grand vision of universal usability and access, but the cracks are beginning to show. The one-stop shop has never existed in cinema distribution.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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As I've told a friend at Mubi, the one big hindrance for them at this point is hardware. If I could stream their films through the Roku box sitting beside my TV, I'd be much more tempted to drop Netflix. I love streaming content, but I can't stand to watch more than a few minutes on a computer monitor, no matter how large.

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Unfortunately, I have had to get used to it with Mubi. At some point it does cease to be cinema.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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M. Leary wrote:

: It seems that the future of the medium is online streaming, but this will take the form of outlets aligning themselves with distributors such that we will be forced to pick as many outlets as we can afford and abandon the rest. In form, this is no different than it used to be. While living in Chicago, I had to make the rounds of three different theaters and three different video stores/libraries to keep up with what I wanted to see. Netflix has wooed us for years with that grand vision of universal usability and access, but the cracks are beginning to show. The one-stop shop has never existed in cinema distribution.

This is a brilliant point.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Really? Wow. Are these PUBLIC libraries?

Yep. It's a sad turn.

If the late fees are substantial then I would suggest not returning it late, which begins to support the point of convenience.

One of the great appeals of Netflix has been the "no late fees, keep it as long as you want" aspect. I was never a big rental guy before Netflix precisely because of those restrictions. And when Netflix ends up being cheaper than the public library and is also more convenient, for me, the choice is clear.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Yeah...I hate watching movies on my computer...I have watched some on my iPad...but geeze...I have the HD TV and sound system for a reason. I did not start making regular use of Hulu until they had a deal with the Xbox 360. That's why I am annoyed with Amazon. They have set ups for watching on TV-just not through any of the options I have.

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Yeah...I hate watching movies on my computer...I have watched some on my iPad...but geeze...I have the HD TV and sound system for a reason. I did not start making regular use of Hulu until they had a deal with the Xbox 360. That's why I am annoyed with Amazon. They have set ups for watching on TV-just not through any of the options I have.

We use this to connect my wife's MacBook to our flatscreen TV when we want to watch Hulu (and sometimes Netflix when our Blu-ray player gets a little flaky). Granted, it's not as convenient as a set-top box, but it's sure better than watching stuff on the computer.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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