Netflix Enrages Subscribers By Limiting DVD Queue

100 Comments

Credit: Flickr / cogdogblog

Converting to a streaming-only business isn’t easy, as Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) discovered Monday when the company’s blog was bombarded by complaints over its decision to remove the ability to add to DVD queues from connected devices.

Jamie O’Dell, director of product management at Netflix, may want to get an intern to start his car tomorrow after offering the following gem of corporate gobbledygook on the Netflix blog:

We’re doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly. Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality.

Though the ‘Add to DVD Queue’ option will still be available at Netflix.com, that didn’t stop hundreds from voicing considerable displeasure that they can’t use everything from their iPhone to their PS3 to manage their queue.

“With all sorts of streaming devices out there the computer is becoming more and more obsolete, this seems like a step backwards,” noted one concerned sub named Luke.

Raged another sub named Hal, “Sorry Netflix, I love you but this is idiotic. Hire some developers that know who has the premium accounts and who just has streaming access. It should all go by log in. This is a dumb move.”

What many subscribers called out Netflix on was its gradual dismantling of its disc business as more and more of its video delivery gets devoted to streaming. With its recently altered subscription model clearly steering customers toward digital-only delivery, Netflix is forced to undergo the painful process of alienating the core customer base that may still want to hang onto discs and don’t want to be weaned off. “When the optical media goes, so do I,” pledged Jason.

Netflix needs to proceed with great caution in how it unwinds its disc business or risk losing a chunk of the subscribers on which it built its booming empire. The company would have probably been better off figuring just what new functionality they were going to bestow on their subscribers once they “untied” resources, but it’s too late to un-ring that bell.

100 Comments

Straight Heterosexual

I just want to say that DVDs are gay and I like my women straight.

J.d. Rants

To alienate a fan base as huge as DVD users, would leave a huge opening for another company to move in and take it. Secondly, to stream movies in any decent capacity you need a DSL or Broadband connection, where to order a DVD over the internet all you need is a phone line. So unless Netflix upgrades all of their phone line customers to broadband it would be stupid to cut the hand that feeds you. They need to hire some more researchers and do more competent studies on the subject. DVD’s are not going to go away like VHS did. They’re more affordable and they get the job done.

Cathie Holt

Hey Netflicks there are people who can`t afford the PS3 or moble phones to stream the movies and we still use the dvds so why are you going to take away from the most loyal customers who rent them all the time…..

matt

I’m not interested in any changes to my ability to get Netflix DVDs. Please don’t make any changes because: (1) I like having access to DVDs even if I occassionally use a Wii or Tivo to stream movies on Netflix; and (2) there aren’t enough good titles available on ‘Watch Instantly’; and (3) my broadband connection is not stable or fast enough to support movie streaming all the time as it is sometimes buggy.

Mark

I’ve been with Netflix for a long time, and they are about to lose me as a customer. I like the DVD’s, even though I can stream on my PS3. I have had Full Metal Jacket (a 30 year old movie) on my list for over 2 months, and it still has a very long wait. Used to be able to watch a movie (ANY movie) send it back, get another one. No longer. Guess Netflix doesn’t need or want people like me as customers any more.

ryan

I’m an old person, don’t have the latest and greatest technology. i have a portable DVD player I watch movies on. Don’t forget Us !!!

ryan

I’m an Old Person, don’t have those “latest & greatest” gadgets… I have a portable DVD player I watch movies one. Don’t forget about us !!!

Phoenix

If NetFlix would like to give away their costumers to Block Buster and Red Box or these other DVD rental places then they should just keep on going in this direction. Block Buster offers DVD’s by mail and also purchase by mail your DVD rental. If Netflix wants to be competitive they will have to do better than this. I am a costumer of both and if NetFlix removes my options I will be a costumer of only one.

Frank

for streaming they don’t have anything recent, and the selection is very poor. I had the subscription for a few months and then I canceled id. with the cable on demand you can get better titles, and prices are going down. I am not going to sweat over a few bucks if the service is there. I still think that going to the physical store to get the movies was more fun that getting them online–it is so impersonal and doesn’t give me the motivation….

Garry Lindsay

Netflix streaming offers at most 720p, 2 channel audio and a horrible library of awful B movies. Not exactly making your home theater or nice big flat screen or decent sound system worth the money you paid for.
If they remove the ability for me to get a blu-ray ( try streaming 40GB in real time, Direct TV have a hard enough time ) I will stop using the service. netflix needs to realize that Verizon, Comcast and DirectTV and Dish allow downloadable blu rays, why do people need another independent service?

I think Netflix are in a bit of doo doo!

bluefighter

Netflix does not provide closed captioning service with streaming services. This is violation of American Disabilities Acts without that service. I will scream at them if they want to drop DVD without providing CC on its streaming. Some of high speed internet service providers will put daily caps which would cut out downloading speed at half way when you are watching movies which make broadband jerkly when viewed. I hope that they will know this soon!

Jupiter

Netflix need to keep both disks and streaming. And offer the option to add to DVD que when on a streaming device. I will find a show I like watching on streaming. I will look for more episodes and they are only available to watch on DVD so I can add it to my que so I can see the other episodes. Netflix does not have a great selection of movies and Streaming cannot always be accessed. Internet can go down. Streaming devices have problems. I watch streaming more then the discs but I like to have to option to pop in the disc when Netflix does not want to let me sign in, my PS3 is acting finicky and having trouble connecting or just because I’m finally in the mood to watch the movie I got. And in repsonse to Netflix comment “… providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience…” Providing the add a DVD to my que does not complicate my instant watching experience at all. If its available for streaming I add it to streaming… if not I add it to DVD que.. can’t get simpler then that.

DeanL

Netflix, if you do away with the DVDs, then I’ll do away with Netflix. Not all of us are 20- / 30-somethings that enjoy exploring the latest in digital technology. I’m a 50-something who makes a decent living but HATES having new technology constantly rammed down my throat. Bottom line: Deprive me of my DVD selections and I will deprive you of my patronage. I’m sure ANOTHER company would be more than willing to take up the slack if you decide to abandon you loyal, older customers. Nuff said?

ernie1999

Netflix will be sorry as other sites will start renting discs. For the past five years I have been paying netflix at the 8 discs at a time rate and had an average of 400 discs in my queue at all times. Now, because they have not added anything worthwhile in several months, I have about 40 discs left and when it gets to one, I will change my membership to one disc, then cancel when then have nothing i want to rent. So they will lose my business because streaming is fine if you have a device, but not practical when you have a 19″ PC monitor and a family who wants to watch movies. HERE IS A SOLUTION! I have found http://www.classicflix.com and they specialize in only pre-1970 tv shows and movies… a far better selection than Netflix ever had.

DScof

Do not discontinue the DVD’s please. Many of us do not have a way to stream. Many of us who are seniors are on a fixed income and cannot afford what is needed for the streaming. Also, we love movies and old tv shows etc. Remember we are seniors and love the netflix DVDs. I think this is discriminatory against seniors.

Jake

Until they solve the “buffering” problem I will not do streaming. I find it so aggravating that, to watch a 1hr30min movie thats over 2hrs to watch. Watch…Buffering…Watch…Buffering…etc! They are going to do something “Very Stupid” and end up sending me back to the “video store!”

LEAH RE

Remember when going to your friends and neighbors homes-to lets say, play cards, play bingo, play trivia, and a number of other fun things to socialize. Wow-we can do all these things on the pc now w/out speaking to a soul, verbally—who needs human interacting….when we can just type out our conversational words..Well I for one, don’t dig this netflex new idea. Give me a good ‘ol fashion (and not that old either) disc, I can share and take over to my friends and neighbors to socialize and watch a good movie, be it an old or newer movie from the racks.

Anonymous

With the elimination of the majority of the functions regarding the Friends feature, a large number of individuals that I knew closed their Netflix accounts. Being able to browse lists of other user’s favorite films was, after all, how I and many others found a lot of their recommendations!

Now they’ve gone so far as to attempt to eliminate DVD distribution?! This is perhaps the most foolish move they’ve made yet, one that will sureley guarantee their untimely end. Many users have limited bandwidth capabilities, and sureley don’t want to pay for mediocre-quality streaming over high-definition viewing from optical discs! Futhermore, even a complete moron knows how to download most films for free now, why in the world would we wager a monthly fee for it?

I will be closing my Netflix account if they decide to eliminate DVDs, and will advise everyone I know to follow suit. It is clear that Netflix’s interests do not involve their customers.

Markus (ebonygent)

Netflix’s blunder is going to present a huge oppurtunity for Redbox to snatch away customers. Given the choice, if I had to have a physical copy or digital, I’ll select physical copies every time.

Mickey

The broad band network in this country is not ready for all of the streaming videos that will be downloaded-no way to keep up with the volume. That being said, the selection of videos from Netflix that can be downloaded instantly is very limited. One last note-the last time I tried to download an instant video on Netflix, the system was not working. Good luck Netflix!

Jeff

Its not a good idea to just dump something like DVDs .Has anyone stopped to think of the thousands of people that live in rural areas with satellite or just plain old dial up around the country? I have lived in the country for my whole life and look forward to my DVD to come to my house.I think that it is a terrible idea, please reconsider.

Mellisa

I am a fairly new customer to Netflix and if they do away with DVDs then I WILL drop my subscription! Not everyone has the money to have internet on their phone or to buy a game console to watch movies. If Netflix wants to switch then they better provide these game consoles etc to their customers or lose them. I don’t have the time nor the interest to play video games so why would I purchase an Xbox or PS3?

amanda

As long as all DVDs go instantly and not just the ones that come on starz or older movies, then i would actually prefer for them to go instantly…Its much easier to get on my PS3 and watch something instantly, rather than having to wait 4 days for my next movie to arrive. i also see other’s points as well the cost will definitely go up for us but i also wonder, maybe it will be cheaper because there wont be any discs and discs cost money to make as well.

grayduck

I subscrib to both netflix and hulu. Netflix for the DVD at my convenience. The newer movies as well, but if no more DVD’s then NO MORE netflix. i will stay completely HULU!!!!!! i know that I am not the only person that looks at this in that manner. So, good luck.

TV Journo

Netflix’s days are numbered. They’ve been extraordinarily lucky to date (especially with no more crises in the mail stream), but there is no way they’re going to be able to stream recent studio content @ $8/month after their current contract expires next year. But it’s been a good ride while it lasted!

Dan

Hmmm, for me its not the elimination of discs that concerns me its the fact that their offerings on instant view are far from stellar. A lot of movies that I want to watch are only on disc and I am fine with that but I get a bad feeling that if Netflix eliminates their disc program they will increase their rates to have the more recent films on instant view. If this is the case then how much will this cost?

Beau Bramlett

DVD, like VHS will eventually follow the “dodo”. However, HD streaming won’t replace it as long as home networks are still at “dodo” speeds in America.
The secret formula behind the Netflix model, and their growth has been free shipping. An aggressive pro-streaming posture may indicate this formula for success was actually their “lost leader”. If Netflix forgets their customers, cuts the chord too early, or tries to rope customers into streaming before they can — it may turn into their own noose.
The day that digital delivery is as fast, cheap and reliable as postal delivery (ironically through the U.S.P.S.) then NetFlix can start pushing their, “Brave New World.” In the mean time, any of these logical, blue-sky visions of quickly shifting to streaming Blue-Ray, or even DVD quality to customers’ homes, are years away.

sleepd

Time marches on and early adopters aren’t the growth curve anymore. Disc rental is going the way of the dodo. Don’t blame Netflix. If you think you can find an alternative that is still open, by all means give it a try.

Ric

Hey Netflix, when you can give me all HD 1080P streaming at Blu ray quality without running me over my Comcast cap then I will give up disks, But since that wont happen with IP or ISP cooperation, then I think you better stick to what works.

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