Netflix upgraded most of their member’s accounts today to offer unlimited instant streaming of movies. All plans but the $4.99/month plan have been upgraded.
For instance, under a popular plan that charges $16.99 per month to rent up to three DVDs at a time, Netflix customers could watch as many as 17 hours of entertainment each month on the streaming service, dubbed “Watch Instantly.”
With Monday’s change, virtually all Netflix subscribers will be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles. There will be no additional charge for the unlimited access.
Only the small portion of Netflix customers who pay $4.99 to rent up to two DVDs per month won’t be provided unlimited access to the streaming service.
It sounds like the $4.99/mo subscriber’s plans were downgraded from 5 to 2 hours per month of online streaming while maintaining the 2 movies per month (one at a time) delivery.
Considering how little it costs to stream a movie of TV show vs. shipping it in DVD form, I can see how this upgrade in digital delivery would have little effect on Netflix’s costs while significantly increasing the value of their service to subscribers.
It also makes feel pretty good about Prediction #1 for 2008:
Netflix will deliver more content digitally than via mail in December 2008.
Now, if only they could create a Mac friendly player for their streaming content . . .
Thanks to Kirk for the tip.