Netflix said Monday that it was introducing a subscription plan for customers who want to watch movies only online, underscoring yet another step away from its roots in DVD rentals by mail.
The new plan offers unlimited access to Netflix’s library of streaming movies and TV shows for $8 a month. That is cheaper than virtually all of the company’s DVD plans.
I of course immediately downgraded; I haven’t received a physical DVD from Netflix since circa 2007 (it took me a year to return it because I forgot where I’d left it, and never watched it). But when I’m not feeling so well and can’t focus on anything cognitively challenging Netflix is very convenient. There are plenty of free alternatives on the net, but I’ll pay sub-$10 fees to save some time and headache.
But it does make me reflect on the rapid changes in the area of home entertainment since World War II. Video displaced 8 mm in the 1980s, but VCR’s themselves totally evaporated in the first half of the 2000s. Now the DVD format itself is being superseded, but the internet is replacing the hard copy mode of distribution in general for home film viewing. Netflix is already supposedly 20 percent of peak US traffic.
Also, I just realized that I don’t think I’ve been inside of a specialty “video store” since the early 2000s (most definitely from when I first subscribed to Netflix in late 2004). I have looked in the windows, and from what I can tell these stores are all-DVD format now, and it’s rather strange that I’ve never been inside of a “DVD store” even though I’ve passed so many of them over the years. Have you? Do they still rent video games as well?