If you're a Netflix user like me, you probably received a very irritating email yesterday. According to the company message I was sent, they were proudly offering me—a longtime customer—their "lowest prices ever" and a "terrific value" for continuing to use their services. This fantastic deal included the option of continuing to enjoy the exact same membership I have had for years ... for $4 more per month.
See, Netflix decided to separate DVD mailings from Internet video. So my membership for unlimited streaming plus 3 DVDs out at a time has now been split into two different pricing plans, which they were happy to start charging me for unless I changed my account.
The combined plans are $23.98 now instead of the previous $19.99, which isn't an enormous change—but it pisses me right off.
I mean, how is this a terrific value in any way, shape, or form? It's the exact same service I was getting before, but Netflix is charging more money. Did they add a bunch of new titles to their not-so-great library of streaming options? No. Did they provide any sort of extra service whatsoever, other than the ability to dry-hump my credit card more thoroughly each month? NO.
I like having the option of streaming titles for the times when I want to find kids' shows or the rare occasion I actually find a movie my husband and I want to watch. But streaming simply hasn't lived up to its promise yet. Availability sucks, and the quality is often dubious too (I tried to watch the much-lauded Twin Peaks streaming release and had to finally turn it off because I was experiencing so many issues).
As for other video rental options, well, there just aren't many. The neighborhood Blockbuster store we finally started revisiting recently out of frustration with limited video on demand has shut down. (Way to not save the day, Dish Network.) The Apple TV we bought has been problematic at best, requiring us to completely download any content before attempting to view it, and a few weeks ago it stopped working altogether. Amazon Unbox seems to have even fewer streaming options than Netflix, although it's great if you want to watch shitty movies from 2007. Those ubiquitous Redbox kiosks have limited title options and their inventory is almost always depleted.
Wasn't it supposed to be REALLY EASY to watch movies at home by now? Instead, I find myself longing for the days when there was a Quik Stop mom 'n' pop video store on every corner.
As for Netflix, we downgraded our account to eliminate streaming. Instead of getting $4 more per month from us, they're getting $4 less than we've been paying for years. Dumbass move on their part, if you ask me. If some other company stepped up and started offering a comprehensive, non-crappy library of streaming content, we'd jump ship in a heartbeat. (TiVo? Come on, guys, quit partnering and just make it happen on your own.)
What do you think about the Netflix changes?
Image via Netflix