Netflix Price Changes

A Netflix envelope picture taken by BlueMint.

Image via Wikipedia

Doesn’t it always happen? You feel you’ve discovered the bargain of the century, and many other people discover it when you do.  The bargain becomes not such a great bargain any longer because…the price of your great find suddenly goes up! People want more money in their pockets for something they were doing perfectly ok with charging before.

This great bargain is Netflix. For those of us who have had to cut the over-$100 cable tv prices from their budget, Netflix’ $7.99 for streaming has been a lifesaver. We can still watch some things on television (albeit not live tv). For me and my husband, it’s old Westerns like The Virginian and Wagon Train. For my son and me, it’s cartoons, and some anime. My husband loves the funky Chinese martial arts films (Netflix has tons), and there’s a ton of anime I think you could never get through if you watched 24 hours a day for a year. We’ve watched quite a few fascinating documentaries and there’ve been a couple of “Oh, I’ve always wanted to see this” type of movies.

Ever since we recently signed up, we feel like we’re part of one of the best-kept secrets. We have been telling friends to sign up, and when they come over to hang out and they see Netflix, they want it too.

http://twitter.com/#!/BrennndaM/status/91097633657069569

However, the great deal is blown. Got a letter from Netflix – their prices are pretty much doubling, if you subscribe to streaming + DVD rentals.   I understand that the company is growing, blah blah. With all those millions of subscribers, each paying minimum $10 a month, they certainly cannot be suffering. It’s not like they’re showing brand new content.  There’s always some lame excuse when it comes to large price increases, where greed is the reason but they’re too shy to admit that.

Anyway our letter says:

Dear *Our Family  🙂 *

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

We like having the option of getting a DVD once in awhile – not everything is on streaming. Heck not everything is on Netflix! We take forever to watch the DVD that we do get each month. So this is the part of the package that unfortunately we will drop. It’s not worth it to us, especially since the DVD plan leaves a lot to be desired in the selection that’s there.

http://twitter.com/#!/LoisinaMonster/status/91109847898144768

Regardless, the streaming $7.99 is still a good deal for us. We can’t be too picky. We’ll be watching everything in our current DVD queue that we can before September, then will be cutting off the DVD portion of the service. I wish we could keep the service, honestly. Netflix would make the extra $2 off us monthly if they left it alone. However, we’ve re-evaluated everything in the past few years when it comes to our spending, and I will gladly put that $2 toward our grocery bill, and won’t be giving them the $7.99 they want instead.

Lessee…$2 a month saved a month will get me:

  • Canned cat food enough for two weeks of dinners for Echo
  • A can of frozen orange juice for my son for a couple of days of drinking (plus change left over!)
  • A good Lindt chocolate bar (change leftover!) for when I’m really craving chocolate
  • A full carton of eggs – lasts us longer than a week!

I’m sure you can think of tons of things that you could get for $2 saved, let alone $7.99. I won’t let companies dictate to me anymore how much I pay to them for what are really life extras. You raise your prices, and you risk losing my business, some or all. I don’t freaking care anymore. We can do without everything but food, water, shelter and a few clothes on our backs. If companies are not realizing that many people feel as I do, these companies are at risk of having only the clothes on their backs as well.

Even with the changes, I still feel like @BrennndaM above where she can survive without cable because of Netflix. However, that happy feeling of being in love with this service is now gone.

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Day Two: Netflix

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

We’ve crossed into the second day using Netflix, with no cable. My husband loves action/adventure movies and has been watching Jackie Chan, Jet Li and other such movies. I think he’s going to get a good bit out of this Netflix genre.

Additionally, we got him a  $14.99/month sub to FoxSoccer.tv today so he can watch the English leagues play. That was our biggest problem cutting cable: finding him a way to watch some games.  The FoxSoccer sub + Netflix won’t even nearly approach the amount we were spending for cable. He’s happy now – he saw two games today.

He said “What about you?” though to me…I can’t seem to find my British comedy (I get the urge to watch 3-4 shows at least once a week). I’ve looked online today and haven’t yet found some of the older Britcoms streaming. We did find some Westerns online, and Netflix has Wagon Train and Gunsmoke to keep us busy for quite some time. But since I’m having problems finding these, and also having problems finding Mike and Molly episodes (I can only find one), $#*! My Dad Says (can’t find any online episodes – I’m scared! I HAVE to watch that!) and a few others, I might be out of luck until they come out on DVD. I can do without Mike and Molly actually (half of the show is sweet, the other half is awful crass). I think it’s just an adjustment I’ll go through. Plus, in the future I’m sure there’ll be a lot of the recent stuff streaming and/or we’ll be able to buy low priced subscriptions to things – ala carte personalized tv for cheaper than today’s cable prices.

I’ve been lucky to find quite a few Westerns here and there – all but The Virginian (one of my husband’s favorites). So we’re going to have to do without that. Maybe it will show up on Netflix one day. Or I can wait for the Borders’ 40% off seasonal coupons and buy him a season or two. Not sure if I want to do that unless I’ll be sure he’ll watch them multiple times though.

We did do something fun too – we hooked up the HDMI cable from my laptop to the tv – wow was that a great picture! He watched his Arsenal vs. Barcelona game that way, but until I can get the proper audio cable, the sound comes through my computer.  We’ll be able to watch our online Westerns on the tv together now. Woot!

Netflix Positives:

* Streaming is great – immediate and as gratifying as tv

* There are quite a few things to watch

* A lot of the stuff on there is good

* Simple interface. As with everything, I had to teach my husband how to use it (he claims he’s “techless”) 😀 and the teaching went fast. I like a lot of buttons and features and widgets and gizmos. It’s too simple and  there’s no fun in it for me. But for him it’s beyond perfectly easy.

* Price is great for the amount of things you can watch

Netflix Negatives:

* Can’t find nearly everything you want to watch

* A lot of the stuff you can find to watch is not streaming and still has to be sent via DVD. How hard is it to just stream it all? You’ll have me for life, folks, if you stream it all

* Can’t search actors

* Can’t search genres (like Westerns) and then pull up a list

* Have to know the names of what you want to watch to search them

* New releases are pretty old movies!

* A lot of the stuff on there is junk – ugh

More to come on our experiences with cutting cable and other expenses.