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Movies The Almighty Buck The Internet United States Entertainment

Nearly 4 Million People In US Still Subscribe To Netflix DVDs By Mail (recode.net) 186

The biggest Netflix-related news today is that the company is raising its streaming videos prices, from $9.99 a month to $10.99. But there is another interesting nugget of information to consider: Netflix still has 3.7 million DVD subscribers in the U.S. who get their discs delivered through the mail for the same $7.99 a month it had previously cost. Recode reports: That's down 17 percent from a year ago, and is much smaller than Netflix's nearly 52 million domestic streaming subscribers, but it's still sizable. Netflix first separated out its DVD and streaming subscription services in July 2011, charging $7.99 each ($15.98 for both). Streaming was originally an added bonus for DVD subscribers at no extra cost. Are you one of the 3.7 million Netflix users who still get DVDs sent in the mail? If so, what's keeping you from embracing the digital age and streaming movies via the internet?

Nearly 4 Million People In US Still Subscribe To Netflix DVDs By Mail

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  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:20PM (#55317899) Homepage Journal

    Are you one of the 3.7 million Netflix users who still get DVDs sent in the mail? If so, what's keeping you from embracing the digital age and streaming movies via the internet?

    DVDs are digital - hell it's right in the acronym Digital versatile disc. Just because someone wants a physical copy for some reason doesn't mean it magically was transformed into analog by the postal service.

    That said if we wanted to really entertain the question of why someone would want DVDs by mail - ignoring the stupidity of the way the question was posed in this summary - there is still at least one good reason for it on Netflix. Their DVD library is much larger than their streaming library. If you want to see something that is 2-7 years old, there is a really good chance it is available for streaming. Outside that range, your chances are not very good. There are a lot of really good titles available that you simply can't stream. One great example that is relevant right now is Blade Runner. If you don't own it and you want to see the original version before going to the theatre to see the new one, you can't stream it on Netflix, they don't stream it. You can't buy it today brand new at Best Buy, Target, or Walmart as it was pulled off the shelves by the studio. Some of the retailers claim they could ship it to you next week if you buy it today but there's no guarantee. Netflix will tell you when you'll have it.

    Beyond that, the single disc service is only $8 per month. Most Netflix subscribers have a card on file with them that automatically gets billed; I suspect a majority of these people wouldn't notice another $8 from their card every month one way or the other. I know I have weeks where my gas consumption fluctuates by a lot more than $8 and I don't spend much time worrying about it.

  • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:22PM (#55317905)

    I personally know a number of people who subscribe to the DVD service, and they do so for a very simple reason: the catalog of available movies and TV shows is much, much larger than in the streaming service.

    • by hij ( 552932 )
      We still use the dvd service for this reason. In particular, we like their selection of documentaries and oddball foreign movies. Their dvd selection is better than their electronic selection.
    • by rjune ( 123157 )

      Absolutely correct. Also, streaming titles can vanish without notice. We had 3 episodes of Foyle's War left. Hopefully it will return one day.

      • Foyle's War sounds really good, I wonder why I've never heard of it.
        It is probably not available here, so I will have to pirate it if I want to watch it.
    • This is why I do it. I have both and while the streaming is nice, there are so many titles they just don't have (often because they don't have permission to stream them anymore).
      • Same here. I like the big back catalog, foreign films, animation, etc, many of which are not available via streaming.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Got it on the first try. A lot of stuff is not on streaming, but only on DVD.

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:37PM (#55318015)

      Indeed.

      One of the reasons Netflix streaming sucks is that if you search for a movie and it isn't available there is NO way to provide feedback along the lines:

      * Add it to my favorites!
      * [x] Notify me when it becomes available!

      Instead they show some bullshit "Titles related to _x_" instead ...

      • by hipp5 ( 1635263 )

        Indeed.

        One of the reasons Netflix streaming sucks is that if you search for a movie and it isn't available there is NO way to provide feedback along the lines:

        * Add it to my favorites! * [x] Notify me when it becomes available!

        Instead they show some bullshit "Titles related to _x_" instead ...

        Just because they don't have an active option for you to do that doesn't mean they're not collecting the data to inform their catalogue development plans.

    • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:41PM (#55318043)

      Thanks to handbrake I can get a dvd once, then own it forever. Then I can stream it over plex at my leisure, without worrying about netflix and/or studios pulling the plug for $reasons.

    • I wonder, do they burn a particular title onto DVD that is not currently in stock and mail it to you if they think demand will increase?

      The DVDs that I've received from Netflix in recent years look very generic with only a thin black band around the center to identify the contents. No silk screened artwork any more.

      • Almost certainly not. In the early days, Netflix was just buying retail DVDs to rent out, but the studios were pissed off about that. I suspect that Netflix started buying the special pressings that the studios make for rental purposes in order to calm them down.

    • AND Fing ISP data Caps.

    • And why is that? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @06:13PM (#55318225)
      Because Hollywood managed to pull the wool over regulators' eyes, and convince them that digital bits comprising a movie transmitted over a wire are somehow different from digital bits stored on a disc and transmitted via the postal service.

      If you buy a license to view a digital movie, the means by which you get that digital copy should be irrelevant - streaming, disc, OTA TV broadcast, etc. Likewise if a rental company has rights to rent those digital bits to people, the means by which they deliver it (streaming or disc) should be irrelevant.
    • by hmckee ( 10407 )

      My family still uses the DVD service because:
      1. Larger selection
      2. Faster availability of new releases
      3. Portability, no streaming when traveling
      4. F**k Blu-Ray

    • by Balial ( 39889 )

      Yup, that's me. I prefer to stream it, but if I want to see a movie, and it's not in the streaming pile, it's often in the DVD pile.

    • I know a few people who don't have any access to broadband, it's a great way to watch movies for them.
    • Yea. I really don't understand why this question made ./ front page.
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      Exactly. There are a lot of movies which i'd like to watch which are available on DVD but not on any steaming service. Many of them may be available via torrents, and I'm not above that, but paying for Netflix (streaming + DVD) is worth it for me.

  • Flyover Internet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:24PM (#55317911)

    We still have DVD rental stores and RedBoxes everywhere.

    Turns out you can't stream much on 0.9 Mbps DSL.

    • Turns out you can't stream much on 0.9 Mbps DSL.

      I think I'm going to start a collection for you. That is inhuman.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:24PM (#55317913) Homepage

    Crappy rural broadband that services the 90% of the continental U.S. where the least-crowded 50% of the population lives just doesn't cut it for streaming services.

    • by Marlin Schwanke ( 3574769 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:28PM (#55317947)
      Hey! That's Trump country. They don't need no broadband. Ajit Pai said so last week.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:48PM (#55318081)

        He has a point: who needs high speeds for streaming when DVDs are cheaper and have a wider selection?

      • I have to wonder if not having unfettered access to the infosphere isn't part of why they ended up as Trumpers in the first place. Right-wing talk radio rots your brain, but if its all you have to listen to for news...

        It's also an indicator for how neglected "rural" America is in other ways.

        • Seriously?

          All I hear every day is that it was the Russians on the internet brainwashing people into voting for Trump.

          Now it was because they DON'T have internet and are being brainwashed by the evil "right-wing" talk radio.

          You people will literally use ANY excuse to marginalize people who don't agree with you.

    • Crappy rural broadband that services the 90% of the continental U.S. where the least-crowded 50% of the population lives just doesn't cut it for streaming services.

      This is exactly why I used it for years. You can't stream anything of quality over a rural 3Mbit ADSL connection and you can't afford to stream anything over a higher bandwidth satellite connection. Thankfully, the movie studios have done me a huge favor by only releasing like 1-2 good movies a year so, there is no need for any of that nonsense anymore.

      • Agree on the "only 1-2 decent movies per year". But still like to see those old movies I missed out, or want to see again. Like mentioned multiple times above, Can't find them on streaming, but they usually have the disk.
  • Two reasons: lots of movies are not available for streaming and it is very convenient to put a current movie into the DVD queue and six months later it just shows up. For example, I didn't make it to the theater to see either King Kong or Aliens but I saw both about a month ago.
  • by aklinux ( 1318095 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:25PM (#55317921) Homepage
    This is also why Alaska is among the few places there are still Blockbuster stores. RedBox is also popular here.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So I can rip them of course

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I live in rural Oregon where the only wireline internet is DSL that promises a maximum speed of 1.5 Mbs. And is well below 1 Mbs in the evening.

  • I subscribe to the DVD service for three reasons: the video quality is better than streaming, the audio quality is better coming out of my home theatre surround sound system, and to have access to a larger catalog of movies which includes new releases. End of story.
  • The streaming selection is like the 99 cent section of Blockbuster. You've probably seen the movie before, but it's what's available. The Blue Ray / DVD selection is like the "New Releases" section - newer movies that aren't streaming yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Streaming services can't match the quality and bandwidth of a Blu-Ray. If i'm not going to bother seeing it in the theater, i want the best quality picture at home.

    • by zenbi ( 3530707 )
      Netflix streaming used to crop movies using Pan and Scan [indiewire.com] to match the 16:9 ratio of most TV sets. I'm not sure if they still do this; but I prefer seeing the full width, even if it means a few black bars.
  • We subscribe to the DVD only service because we just don't watch enough TV to make the streaming service worth it. I think we maybe watch one or two movies a month (if that) so the DVD service works for us just fine. Not to mention the selection is far better than the streaming service as we tend to like a mixture of brand new stuff and older movies. We also don't follow TV shows so there's no need for a streaming service to binge watch things (which would be tough with the DVD service).
    • A side note about the streaming service. We did try the streaming service back when the DVD and Streaming were both included in one price. The best thing we could find to watch? Donnie Darko. Not a bad movie, but when that's the only thing that catches your interest you know the selection isn't too hot.
  • by rrosales ( 847375 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:35PM (#55317995)
    I prefer to watch my movies in 5.1 sound instead of stereo, and DVDs offer that to me. Also many, if not all, of the movies I want to catch up on are available on DVD but not in streaming.
    • wow netflix isnt 5.1? is that like the YIFY model of streaming: crap for the masses.

      I guess people really dont care about audio, which explains the popularity of both yify and netflix...

      • netflix streams in 5.1 (well, most titles. there's a few in stereo, and a few without a subwoofer)

        • netflix streams in 5.1 (well, most titles. there's a few in stereo, and a few without a subwoofer)

          Sort of, and by that I mean not on Windows 7. From the Netflix faq, and my own personal struggle,

          "5.1 surround sound is not currently supported while streaming on a computer using Microsoft Silverlight or HTML5. However, it is supported in the Netflix app for Windows 8 and Windows 10. To check if your device supports 5.1 audio, go to any Netflix original to see if there is a 5.1 audio option. If not, your device may not support this feature, or it may need to be turned on. For assistance enabling this f

        • Thats true, if you're on a newer device. Whatever streaming device you're using though has to support DD+, not just DD. Alot of older devices dont have the built in decoder support to decode DD+ into either DD or PCM 5.1. Or the manufacturers dont want to have to pay for DD+ support, either way there are alot of 5.1 capable devices that wont do netflix in 5.1

  • Really, except for their original Marvel content, they have nothing on streaming I want to see. There are still a long list of movies I want to see and get them on DVD. I have lots of old classic movies to watch still, a few series, and then new stuff as it comes out. I can see which ones I could watch streaming and it is a grand total of one series (which I decided not to finish anyway). On the flip side, I've been bored and went looking on steaming side of things for interesting new things to watch. I've
  • It's simple really. If you like movies, you will find the best selection on DVD. If you like the miniseries, especially the new ones that Netflix are developing, then streaming service is the way to go.
    For some people, Netflix DVDs + Amazon Prime hits the sweet spot for streaming versus movies. A lot of the cooking shows my wife likes are on Prime without additional charge. but Netflix doesn't stream much that she wants. For me I mostly watch movies, and I have been soured on the dwindling selection of Netf

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:40PM (#55318037)

    I just like getting things in the mail.

    It's so fun for me. It's like Christmas, in whatever month it is.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @05:41PM (#55318047)

    I think it's incredibly misleading to ask why DVD/BluRay subscribers have "not embraced streaming yet".

    Guess what - we have. I have not had a tuner for many years, ONLY watching shows and most other things via streaming. I have subscribed to Netflix stream since they first offered it, but was streaming TV shows long before that... I also at times use the HBO and Stars apps to watch movies through. Heck, I even subscribe to the Comic Con app to watch movies and shows....

    I subscribe to the DVD service for the same reason Willy Sutton robbed banks - that's where the money (movies) is (are).

    Yes HBO has a lot of movies, so does Stars. But between them there are still a lot of newer released movies you are not going to see for a long time. If I want to see Wonder Woman for example, I'm either going to pay a lot to rent it online for $6 - half of a monthly subscription for DVDs + Streaming. With the disc I can take as long as I like to watch it, then send it back in...

    Basically, physical disc rental is useful for (A) very popular content or (b) very niche content that no-one online is going to offer via streaming. There's still enough of that I end up getting 4-5 discs every month, making it worthwhile to keep the DVD part of my Netflix subscription.

    So next time don't look down on DVD subscribers, perhaps they are simply more avid media consumers than you are and need that channel of content still.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      I'd put it a different way: I can watch just about anything online, but the quality of my Bluray rips is better IMO than the torrents. The selection of stuff you can pay to stream is so low it's a rounding error - it's all about Netflix DVD vs P2P.

      • The quality is defiantly an aspect I left out that matters also... although I like streaming a lot of stuff I do notice artifacts from time to time, the blu-ray discs are definitely better. Streaming has gotten better too but any movie with significant visuals, I will make sure I watch on blu-ray...

  • I still use my DVD subscription because with their focus oo much on original content now, a lot of recent releases never make it to Netflix streaming. I'm not paying $6 per movie to rent a recent release when I can get it on Blu Ray if I wait an extra 30-60 days. There is also a much more substantial back catalog of older content and movies that might have once been available via streaming but since dropped out of the library. Also watching the disc doesn't eat up my bandwidth. My disc queue is down to

  • We don't subscribe to Netflix DVD, we get all of our DVD rentals from RedBox. The reason is simple. We simply don't watch enough to make it economical to get a subscription. We watch 1, 2 at the most, movies per month. That is about $3 from redbox. Often times we will get a coupon or deal from redbox, probably trying to encourage us to use them more often, that drops the price to $0. We have dozens of redbox kiosks around our house so it has never been a pain having to go to the kiosk to get a movie when th

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      But there's a difference between the "urge to watch something" and acting on someone's recommendation to watch a particular movie. Redbox tends to discontinue movies a year or so after DVD release.

      • The only thing we ever have the urge to watch are new releases. I never ever watch a movie a second time, so the fact that they eventually leave the redbox system doesn't matter to me.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          So when did you watch movies produced before you turned 18?

          • I turned 18 around 1990, so you are asking when did I watch movies produced in the 80s. Well, I watched those movies in the 80s (and the 70s - the first movie I ever saw was Star Wars at a drive-in the second day after it came out). But it's not like I need to watch Back to Future or any other 70s/80s movies today. I've already seen those movies. So far no movie has been good enough that it is worth my time to watch it more than once.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              So I take it you don't care to watch pre-1972 classic films at all. Do I understand you correctly?

              • Yeah, I'm not really a film buff. I'll watch new releases if they catch me eye, but I don't have any interest in watching old movies.

  • But I pay $4.99 per month. I used to use the $7.99 per month DVD service, but Netflix had too much trouble getting the DVDs to me on time. So I dropped to the $4.99 per month service. I still use the DVD service instead of streaming because much more content is available via the DVD service, and navigation within a show is far easier. Plus, I don't want to use up my precious ISP data bits and run afoul of Comcast's monthly data cap.
  • I get DVDs from Netflix, and I stream. The list of DVDs is much larger than the list of streamables. If I want old classics, like Criterion series, then DVDs is what I have to get.

  • because Redbox keeps updating their piracy protection, and my pirated ripper software doesn't get updates.
  • MOST of the movies I want to watch are not available on streaming. Not "some", MOST.
  • As everyone else here has mentioned, the selection on the streaming service is far inferior to the DVD and Blu Ray selection. Also, BRD quality is much higher (25mbits/sec 1080P) and there are extras, which I like. There really is no direct comparison between the two services.

    I subscribe to both, because my wife and step-daughter like all the original content streaming shows, and I like sometimes more obscure or older movies. There are a large amount of A-list movies that are not on the streaming serv

  • Many people on here mention the much larger selection available in the physical disc collection than streaming, but there is another good reason to get a physical copy. One does not have to worry whether their browser or operating system is compatible or missing an update.

    You get a disc, put it in the player, and you're done. No fooling around with anything else.

    Pure simplicity.

  • You can get good quality shows and films this way without busting your bandwidth caps.

    Also there is a wider selection of discs than their online stuff.

  • Obligatory Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com]

    Also, i'm not sure where the last two disks i received went when i moved. They'll probably want them back before before i can cancel that portion of the account?
  • I've noticed over the years the quality of content on netflix streaming has declined. There was a netflix employee that made the comment to the effect "they'll take what we give 'em" a couple of years ago. There's generally a good selection of DVDs so I understand the appeal.
  • Both physical DVD and streaming
    Why? Much larger catalog with physical, and earlier release.

    I restarted the physical DVD specifically for The Martian Did not want to wait for streaming, nor pirate it.
  • by rknop ( 240417 ) on Thursday October 05, 2017 @07:27PM (#55318585) Homepage

    Several reasons.

    (1) Inertia. For years, it wasn't even possible to stream on Linux (at least without some clumsy Wine shenanigans), and my TV box is a linux box. Now I think the Linux browsers do support it, but, eh.

    (2) DRM. Yeah, I know, DVDs have it too, but it's long been cracked, so to my mind that makes it a lesser evil. No, I don't pirate the DVDs or keep copies of the content. But, technically, I have to violated the DMCA to play legally obtained DVDs on my own computer, since I need to download DeCSS. Still, I don't want to support DRM-based models if I can avoid it, and I'm not happy that all streaming is DRM-encumbered.

    (3) Watching offline. If I want to go back and rewatch a scene, it doesn't use extra bandwidth. If the Internet glitches while I'm watching, I don't have pauses or glitches in may playback. Yeah, sometimes a disk is damaged, and that's annoying. But, I've got far more control over the disk while I have it than I would over a stream. *IF* we could download streams for later watching offline, I would consider a streaming service.

    (4) Streaming service selections are ridiculous. You have to subscribe to a whole bunch of them if you want to be able to get everything; this quickly becomes prohibitively expensive. I'm not going to pay $10/month *JUST* to watch Star Trek Discovery without commercials. Hell, it would be more economical to wait a year or two and buy the DVD boxed set! There really needs to be a massive collapse of the streaming market as people buying it realize that they're paying way much for the few things they watch on any given service. On the other hand, Netflix DVDs have many things, the big gap being recent TV series, particularly series that are tied to streaming services.

  • If so, what's keeping you from embracing the digital age and streaming movies via the internet?

    16% of the movies in my queue are available for streaming. I pay for both services because they have 2 completely different catalogs.

    Of the 280 items in my Netflix queue, 47 of them are available for streaming. And really, it is less than 16% since 13 of the items in the queue are a single series that spans 13 DVDs. I'll switch off the DVD service when they offer streaming for the other 233 titles.

  • Pick a movie from last year. Is available streaming on netflix? probably not. Is available by DVD? yes.

    The movie studios can prevent streaming. They can't prevent renting of a physical medium, so everything you can buy at least CAN be available by DVD. Until some sort of compulsory licensing appears for streaming, it will stay that way.

  • Are you one of the 3.7 million Netflix users who still get DVDs sent in the mail? If so, what's keeping you from embracing the digital age and streaming movies via the internet?

    A few possible reasons: I'm 75, I enjoy going to the mailbox even more than watching Matlock, I do stream, too, but it ain't easy to hook a Roku to the 13" CRT w/ built-in DVD player in my den. And how are DVDs not "digital age," since the first D is in fact "digital?"
  • Because I had streaming. It offered less than half of what I was looking for. I look for great _old_ movies and they don't much do that. I've been seeing some really great old stuff. That's why.

  • What about Blu-Ray discs?

  • I collect music. Lots of it. I re-listen over and over. For movies though I am typically a "single watch" person except for my all time favorites. Netflix DVD makes it where I can watch these (within a reasonable release delay) without having to own them. Many of these would take years to find their way into streaming so my choices are buy it or Netflix DVD. That's still the primary use I have of Netflix. I stream their original content but I use DVDs for all else.

  • It seems pretty obvious to me. I can get new-release movies from the Blu-ray system. And the quality is much better than streaming.

  • I get Netflix DVDs because streaming does not provide commentary tracks and the other "extras". Although, an increasing amount of DVDs from Netflix are "Rental Only" versions that don't have the extras, just a "too bad so sad" message.

    If I want to stream something, I'm already paying for Amazon Prime shipping so I can just look into the rando video selection they are including

  • There're (or at least were, when I had it) several times as many titles available on DVD than on streaming.
    Yeah, all the mainstream stuff is streamed, but the really weird, offbeat crazy shite is only on DVD. The mail thing is a hassle, but I saw such strange things that I may go back to it as the streaming isn't holding my interest so well anymore.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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