Thursday, July 14, 2011

The folly of Netflix streaming

For a company that has gotten things so right most of the time, Netflix's new price hike seems punitive and incredibly boneheaded. Customers will now pay the price, literally, for the company's misguided placing of all its eggs in the streaming basket as the studios demand higher and higher fees for streaming rights.

I'll be switching to the $7.99 DVD-only plan with Blu-Ray. Streaming plus DVD plus Blu-Ray is no longer a deal after two price increases within the space of months.

And it's not that I'm a streaming naysayer. I got a Roku late last year, thinking that I'd love it. I have enjoyed it from time to time, but the streaming selection is notoriously mediocre, and there's the larger problem of picture quality. I have a cable broadband connection, but I almost never get an HD stream. I've invested in a quality home theater, and I don't care to watch VHS or less quality on my new HDTV. I think many people agree with me, whether it's because of broadband issues or the desire to have top-notch picture quality. Netflix has made a surprisingly large miscalculation in its attempt to jettison the DVD side of its business.

It may be a few months down the road, but I predict Netlix backs off the new pricing and cuts the fees to some middle ground.

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