Netflix Updates: Streaming-Only Option Rolling Out, Adds Surround Sound, And The Buy Button Returns

With things like AppleTV and GoogleTV making their way into the hands of the public, the king of video renting and streaming, Netflix, has decidedly revamped their service, with some new updates.

First, and most compelling, according to Hacking Netflix, it appears as though Netflix has begun offering a special subscription plan for those looking to get rid of the physical aspect of the subscription.   The streaming only plan costs $7.99, and while it is only one dollar less than the one-disc-at-a-time plan, this does mark an interesting step forward in what this company hopes to be a new business model.   Personally, while I’m a huge fan of physical media, I do have to say, I can’t remember the last time I actually used the disc with any sort of regularity.   I tend to focus my Netflix use on streaming, be it through my computer, my Wii, or hell, even my iPod touch.

Next, for films that users must wait 28 days to rent, Netflix has installed a ‘buy now’ button, allowing users to buy the DVDs prior to renting.   For those who may not remember, Netflix actually used to sell used DVDs (which I really wish they would continue), so this isn’t too shocking, particularly in the face of that 28-day window.

[Note from the editor: I just wanted to put my two cents in on this new “buy” button. Could this be a sign of Netflix clearing out their inventory of discs, so that they can move to a pure streaming service?]

Finally, in a press release, Netflix has announced that they will be tapping Dolby Digital Plus to offer it’s users 5.1-channel surround sound for the outlet’s streaming content.   By October 18, the PS3 will be the first consumer product to offer surround sound for Netflix, with more devices coming down the pipeline.

Personally, this only solidifies the fact that Netflix is looking to go to a streaming focused company, and along with the new streaming-only subscription, and while that makes this physical media fan sad, I can’t help but feel indifferent about this as a whole.   I adore Netflix, but haven’t used their disc service with any sort of regularity in months, so the addition of surround sound only sweetens the already candy coated pot that is Netflix streaming.

Source: Hacking Netflix

Joshua Brunsting

Josh is a critic, a member of the Online Film Critics Society, a wrestling nerd, a hip-hop head, a father, a cinephile and a man looking to make his stamp on the world, one word at a time.

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