Puzzled by Netflix Inc.’s recent changes? You’re not alone. Here are basic questions and answers about the company’s reversal of its decision to split off its DVD-by-mail service and rename it “Qwikster.”
Q: Will I have to go to two websites to manage my DVD queue and watch streaming videos?
A: No. Netflix on Monday backed off its plan to create two separate sites —one at Netflix.com for streaming videos, and another at Qwikster.com, for DVDs.
Q: Will I still have to pay for the services separately?
A: You’ll have one account for both services. But the price changes Netflix instituted in July, under which it charges separately for streaming and for DVDs, are still in place. In other words, streaming is no longer a freebie thrown in with the DVD subscription.
Q: Why did Netflix change its mind?
A: Customers had greeted the idea with jeers and threats to take their business elsewhere. In a blog post, CEO Reed Hastings said he’s realized the change would make things too complicated for subscribers.
Q: I’m confused. What plans does Netflix offer now —and how much does it charge for each?
A: The video streaming service costs $8 per month. The DVD service starts at $5 if you want one DVD out at a time and a maximum of two mailings per month, and goes up to $44 for those who want to have eight DVDs out at a time and unlimited mailings.
Q: Why did Netflix think splitting the site in two was a good idea to begin with?
A: The company sees the streaming service as its future, and what it wants to focus on. The DVD-by-mail service got Netflix into homes, but it’s expensive to mail DVDs and the potential for growth is limited. In homes, the streaming service is making the jump from PCs to the living-room TV, thanks to game consoles, DVD players and TVs that come with the ability to connect to the Internet. It’s also going outside the home, since Netflix is now available on smartphones and tablets.