Netflix has just announced that the they will no longer be the most unbelievably cheap deal this side of Del Taco Tuesdays. (You can really taste the college!) U.S. subscribers, who have previously been able to have one disc mailed to their house and unlimited streaming for the low low price of $9.99, will see a 60% increase in their monthly bill. The new pricing system will divide DVD and streaming subscriptions into different categories. The breakdown (for the cheapest one disc option) will be $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for the DVD. So instead of paying $9.99 for both, you’d now pay $15.98. The price change will go into effect immediately for new subscribers and “on or after September 1, 2011,” for existing members.
You can read the full announcement on the Netflix blog.
This raises (not begs, not pleads) the question, Netflix users: What will you do? Given the option of no longer getting DVDs in the mail at all, will you switch over to the “streaming only” subscription? You compromise selection, yes, but I know many Netflix users who have abandoned the disc portion altogether. If it’s not on Instant Watch, they’re not going to watch it. Never mind that Netflix has made the mailing process as easy as they possibly could short of hiring sexy lads and lasses to come to your house and do the opening, watching, re-enclosing, sealing and mailing for you. (Net-tricks? Can we make that happen?)
I’ll admit that ever since Instant Watch has become an option I’ve found myself watching a lot more crap than I used to. They’re just there, like a J. Lo. movie on TNT’s Hangover Sunday Mornings. I’ve watched Nicholas Sparks weepers and Kristen Bell romcoms because, well, they were there. Click. Done. These are movies I would never allow myself to put in my Disc Queue. I know, I know, it sounds irredeemably snobby, but my Disc Queue has always been brimming with artsy, foreign and dramatic films that I missed in the theaters. (I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing them, Bob.) Movies that I should watch. Movies that I’m sure are good. Movies, in short, that sit on top of my DVD player and judge me for watching Fired Up! instead. They’re often, like, really tragic and I’m never in the mood, alright? Then after months and months I finally watch them and, yeah, damnit, they’re absolute masterpieces, okay? So here are the four discs that have collected the most dust on my shelf (and a bonus title from Dustin).
1) The Lives of Others (2006): This genius German film about a Stasi agent in East Germany in 1984 looked so very bleak and drab that I didn’t watch it until I was on a flight from London. That’s right, they had to strap me down to get me to finally watch it. And it was amaaaazingly good.
2) The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (2007): It’s French. He’s paralyzed. It’s really good but it took me three months to watch it.
3) City of God (2002): Attractive young Brazilian kids live out a violent and tragic existence. I had this one for over a year before finally watching it.
4) The Sea Inside (2004): Spanish. I love Javier Bardem. I love the director Alejandro Amenábar. The film won the Academy Award for best Foreign Film. Bardem is said to be a revelation. Returned, unwatched.
5) The Boys are Back (2009): “I’ve had the disc since I rejoined Netflix about a year ago. It just sits and stares at me with Clive Owen’s sad, soulful eyes. Watch me! Watch me! I just switched to streaming only, and I have 7 days to return it before they charge me. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll end up owning my Netflix copy.”—DR
Your turn. Will you choose to stream only? Which disc have you had the longest?
Joanna Robinson knows not all of you have Netflix. But most of you do, right? She guesses techincally the disc she’s had the longest is Das Boot because she still has it and lied to Netflix about losing it.