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Netflix: Increased Fee For Blu-Ray Users

Mike Musgrove

Blu-ray-owning movie fans who belong to the online-based video subscription service Netflix will soon be paying a little extra for access to the high definition discs.

For people who use the service's most popular plan, which lets you check out three discs at a time from the company, there's now a surcharge of $4 added to the top of the $16.99 monthly bill -- that's up from a previous monthly surcharge of $1. Netflix users who don't want to shell out a few dollars more for access to the company's Blu-ray library have until April 27 to change their accounts to "DVD only." More details about the charge are available on the Netflix blog.

The high-definiton Blu-ray discs cost more than standard DVDs, so any uptick in popularity for the format among Netflix subscribers would tend to erode the company's profit margins; Netflix says that about 10 percent of its subscribers check out movies in the Blu-ray format. Though Blu-ray won a format war over rival HD DVD last year, the format has not been catching on all that fast.

As a Netflix subscriber who owns a Blu-ray player, I personally sort of prefer it when the company surprises me by rolling out cool, upgraded services that don't cost me anything -- such as when the company started making movies available as a free streaming download on devices like a laptop or an Xbox 360 videogame console. Guess I'll most likely be shelling out the $4, though.

What about you?

By Mike Musgrove  |  March 30, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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I'm a Netflix customer. This increase makes me more likely to stick to regular DVD's. Blue-ray discs are beautiful, but regular resolution DVD's on an upconverting player look pretty darn good.

I just can't see paying the price difference. Besides, streaming of media will make physical discs obsolete anyway in hopefully a few short years. Why keep a bunch of physical discs around taking up valuable space in your home when you don't have to?

The main issue here is that it isn't Netflix's fault. The studios and hardware vendors for Blue-ray need to recognize that the average American barely wanted to move to digital TV. Now if we want the increased resolution of Blue-ray the cost/benefit ratio goes way up compared to just make do with standard DVD's.

People aren't going to jump on it until the price difference becomes much less, just as people didn't jump on DVD's from VHS tapes until there was little difference in the cost of media and players.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | March 31, 2009 11:19 AM

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