updated 10:00 am EST, Mon November 22, 2010
Netflix stream-only plan goes live in the US
Netflix today took its hinted streaming-only plan live in the US. Already available in Canada, the option gives unlimited access to the Watch Instantly catalog but doesn't include physical DVD rentals. The feature is pitched at those who rely primarily on Internet-capable TVs, set-top boxes, computers and mobile hardware like the iPad.
Along with the cheaper streaming option, however, Netflix has also raised the prices that include physical disks, adding $1 per month to the one- and two-disc simultaneous plans to bring them to $10 and $15 and adding as much as $8 for an eight-at-once plan that now costs $56. Netflix justified the increase by saying it would let it give the Internet-only choice without sacrificing its mail options.
DVD-only rental is unchanged at $5 but is capped at two DVDs per month.
Streaming has become one of the most popular options for Netflix as the catalog has become large enough to satisfy more users. The company has been striking pay TV deals and 28-day delay deals that, while behind traditional rentals, have included major movies and TV shows that have often been locked out. Blockbuster's recent bankruptcy has been credited directly to Netflix as the lower pricing and much wider catalog of both DVDs and streaming have made it difficult for Blockbuster to compete.