A Streaming-Only Netflix Plan in the Works?


I’m a subscriber to Netflix’s one-out-at-a-time, unlimited plan ($8.99/month) to keep costs down, yet still receive a physical DVD every week and have unlimited access to the Netflix online video streaming. Some who use the Roku or Xbox 360 might wonder why there isn’t a streaming-only plan for a little less money. According to an interview with Bloomberg News, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is considering that very thing.

Hastings didn’t reveal how much they might charge for a streaming-only subscription with Netflix, but he did say that this type of play could arrive “late this year” or in 2010. The question then would be: How much are customers willing to pay for such a service? They have definitely upgraded their streaming movie collection, but it’s still full of older movies and TV shows. If Netflix offered a “premium” streaming service with newer movies and a larger collection, I’d be willing to pay more. Would you pay for an online-streaming-only service from Netflix?

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Geek Tonic.

15 thoughts on “A Streaming-Only Netflix Plan in the Works?”

  1. I have definitely become a fan of NetFlix and enjoy its service. Oddly enough the one issue I have with NetFlix (slow to receive movies) has pushed me to watch a lot of the streaming movies. I would pay for a streaming service only if they decide to do so.

    And while my TiVo Series 2 doesn’t support it, I would have no issue streaming from the couch via TiVo or as I do right now, my laptop. Save the Earth, sustainable entertainment.

    Ha! I just watched ‘The Host’ on Thursday.

  2. I use the Roku box and the streaming is a great. I prefer it to DVD because if I pick a looser I just stop and try something else. SD seem a little worse than DVD and HD is a little better.

  3. The quality of their selection isn’t NetFlix’s fault. The Movie industry has a very convoluted release schedule for online content that goes so far as to have viewing windows for some movies. Each Lord of the Rings movie shows up in the watch instantly area for about a month and then expires.

  4. Robert, you’re partially right. But there’s also a financial component that Netflix is managing – resulting in windows for some video and very few current hit DVDs. Here’s an interesting ZNF comment from an industry insider last year which sheds a little light on licensing and windows.

    As far as a streaming-only plan, I’d be down for that. Most of my recent video consumption has been digital. The problem is that Netflix has backed themselves in a hole. $8.99 for unlimited streaming a 1 disc out is probably already too inexpensive. Despite Hastings early declarations, I think it’s inevitable that they’ll have to offer a higher tier price/quality.

  5. I could definitely see paying up to $20 a month for solid up to date content. If they were willing to go all out with being a content provider, I could even see ditching the local cable provider and going Netflix only leaving room for somewhere along the $40-50 route…I realize that part is a long term deal…but eventually that is wher this all leads!

  6. This is what i’m waiting for. I have no interest in getting movies from the mailbox, but I can’t see paying full price for the use of a smaller library of movies, when I only want to download via xbox.

  7. We have the 3 disc plan. If they do eventually do a streaming option I’ll downgrade to the 2 disc plan.

    When my kids choose what they want to watch my 5 year old says ” I want to watch the Neck-flix Dinosaurs, Dad.”. They have watched the 8 or so BBC Dinosaur specials a at least 2 dozen times by now. I recently got into 30 Rock (yes I know, what the heck took me so long.) and watched season 1 & 2. Two older movies that need to be streaming for me are “Coming to America” and “Highlander” (THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!).

  8. it comes down to content for me as wll. Provide a nice catalog of content in a streaming only plan and I can forgo the DVDs. Otherwise I find the content I want in DVDs and streaming combined already.

    My concern is they will have to add a fee in order to make more content streamable – not sure where I would fall on that one.

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