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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 12, 2011

Discs or Digital: Netflix Wants You to Choose

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Copy Editor

For those of you Netflix subscribers out there who love the convenience of streaming digital video and the depth of selection available in the Netflix library of DVDs, you might soon be facing a “Sophie’s Choice” (available from Netflix only on DVD).

Until recently, Netflix offered a subscription package that included both through-the-mail DVD rentals and live streaming movies and television shows through your computer, gaming console or properly equipped set-top box. This meant that you could watch episodes of “Glee” instantly while waiting patiently for the next disc of “Lost” to arrive (just what is in that Hatch, anyway?) -- all for under $10.

But now, Netflix has separated these services and potentially doubled your monthly bill. The policy is effective immediately for new subscribers and will be in place on Sept. 1 for existing customers.

As before, access to streaming-only videos will be around $8 a month. But now, if you want DVDs delivered to your home, you will need to sign up for an additional $8 package. So if you are dying to see “The Adjustment Bureau,” you are either going to have to shell out for that additional package (it is only available right now on DVD or high-definition Blu Ray) or wait until it debuts on Netflix streaming.

That is, unless you want to use another source to get your DVD fixes, like Redbox or Blockbuster.

Recently, TMCnet’s Gary Kim reported that, despite the growing popularity of services such as Netflix and Hulu (News - Alert), the trend known as “video cord-cutting” has not caught on as quickly as many feared. Video cord-cutting is the notion that as live streaming services such as Netflix become more popular, users will cease to subscribe to traditional cable packages. So far, though, this trend is not as widespread as some expected it to be.

Rich Steeves is a TMCnet copy editor. He taught writing for nine years. He has also worked as an editorial assistant at Penny Publications. He has written short stories, newspaper columns, blogs and recently published his first novel. He attended The George Washington University where he received his bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf