Monday, March 30, 2009

Price update for access to Blu-ray movies

Hi, Jessie Becker here, VP of Marketing, with a message for our members who have added Blu-ray access to their accounts. This message does not apply to you if you have not added Blu-ray access to your account.

The number of titles available for us to purchase on Blu-ray has increased significantly. Our Blu-ray selection has grown more than 60% in just 6 months to over 1,300 titles, and is continuing to expand quickly. Blu-ray adoption among our members has also grown – it’s now close to 10%. As we buy more, you are able to choose from a rapidly expanding selection of Blu-ray titles. And as you’ve probably heard, Blu-ray discs are substantially more expensive than standard definition DVDs – often as much as 30% more.

We’re committed to providing a high quality Blu-ray experience for our members who choose to add Blu-ray access, and in order to do that we need to adjust Blu-ray pricing. As a result, the monthly charge for Blu-ray access is increasing for most plans and will now vary by plan.

If you have added Blu-ray access to your account, this change will take effect on your next billing date on or after April 27, 2009. You will also receive an email from us letting you know the monthly charge for your plan. (Members who do not have Blu-ray access today and add it to their account in the future will see the new prices as of today.)

To avoid any confusion, here are the charges for each of the plans.

1 DVD out at-a-time (2 DVDs a month)
Monthly plan cost: $4.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $1
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $5.99

1 DVD out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $8.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $2
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $10.99

2 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $13.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $3
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $16.99

3 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $16.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $4
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $20.99

4 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $23.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $5
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $28.99

5 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $29.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $6
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $35.99

6 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $35.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $7
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $42.99

7 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $41.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $8
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $49.99

8 DVDs out at-a-time (Unlimited)
Monthly plan cost: $47.99
Additional monthly charge for Blu-ray access on this plan: $9
Monthly plan cost with Blu-ray access: $56.99

If you don’t want to pay the additional charge for monthly access to Blu-ray, simply remove Blu-ray access on your account before April 27, 2009. Thanks.
Jessie

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Netflix Launches New Personalization Features

Hi, this is Todd Yellin, Director of Product Management at Netflix. We are rolling out several features to delight our members with a more personalized website that puts an emphasis on movie discovery. Some of you have already enjoyed the new experience; we expect all members to have it within the next week.

As we do with all new features, we will rapidly iterate and improve on what we launch—particularly on the ability to mix and match categories to improve on the personalized genres we offer. Any feedback you have is appreciated as we strive to perfect and expand these features.

The features include:

Taste Preferences: The ability to set taste preferences across a variety of moods (e.g. feel-good, dark, goofy, gritty, etc.); storylines (e.g. courtroom, dinosaurs, mid-life crisis, etc.); qualities (e.g. critically-acclaimed, visually-striking, etc.); and other category types, on a new, easier, three button system.

More Personalized Homepages: New site and watch instantly homepages that reflect both a member’s expressed taste preferences and recent activity (rentals, instant watching, queue adds and ratings). This results in a regularly refreshed set of personalized genres that combine various categories a user has shown an interest in (e.g. Feel-good Romantic Comedies, Biographical Sports Dramas, Critically-acclaimed Crime Thrillers, etc.). These are chosen for each member from thousands of possibilities.

Some of the rows will be based on what the member explicitly sets. Others will be based on a member’s recent activity.

Customized Browsing: When members click on any of their specially chosen personalized genres they’ll not only see relevant movies/TV shows, but also a way to mix and match other categories to create new combinations. Members find this to be a particularly good way to explore titles that are available to watch instantly.

Please comment on what you find helpful and suggest possible areas of improvement so we can continue to take personalized movie discovery to the next level for you.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Share Ratings with Facebook Connect

Hi, Mike Hart here from product development at Netflix. As you know, we’ve been introducing ways for people to experience Netflix beyond our website with such things as mobile apps, adding movies to your queue from NYT or Rotten Tomatoes and of course all of the Netflix ready devices. Today we are adding to that experience by integrating with Facebook Connect. You now have the option to post movies you’ve rated in your Facebook profile. To link your Netflix and Facebook accounts, you will use the “Connect” button on the Netflix member site at http://www.netflix.com/facebookconnect. You will of course have the ability to opt-in or out at any time. As always, we appreciate your feedback.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Netflix Trying for Consistent Excellence on Streaming

This is Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer at Netflix.

There’s been some blog swirl about Netflix streaming delivery, and I’d like to explain what we are doing to improve our streaming delivery. Our aspiration is to deliver to everyone the best bitrate that their broadband connection can support.

Congestion Could Affect Some Users, But Not Others, at Some Times, but Not Always

Content from Netflix originates on CDN servers that are distributed around the US (just as our DVD shipping centers are) so that the data doesn’t have to traverse the Internet backbones to get to our customers, but instead can usually reach its destination via regional and metro networks that have much higher aggregate bandwidth. This means that if there is any congestion and slowdown, it will be different in different regions (by Internet topology, which isn’t completely tied to geography). Hence some customers may be affected, while others are not. Also, routing to different ISPs in the same region may be quite different, thus performance may also be quite different, even for neighbors, if they are connected to different ISPs. Moreover, congesting points can rise and fall with ISP configuration changes and other conditions.

Different Content, Different Devices, Different Characteristics


Finally, different titles, and different encodes for different playback device types, may come from different CDNs or different servers at a particular CDN, so may have different paths and different bottlenecks. Accordingly, customers may see better performance on Xbox than their PC, or vice-versa. Equivalently, some titles may stream unaffected, while others suffer congestion. There is no purposeful discrimination between different clients – we want them all to perform very well.

Getting to More Consistent Delivery by Routing Around the Problems

Our engineering team is working to multi-source most content, so that there are many possible alternatives in case of regional congestion (as long as the congestion isn't in the customer's home or last-mile infrastructure, in which case there is little we can do). Our newest Silverlight player (for Mac and PC) incorporates an initial version of multi-sourcing, and as we improve it, we’ll roll it out to everyone including our device partners such as Roku and Xbox. We hope by the end of year to have this problem largely solved.

In Home Congestion

While not a server issue, let me touch on in-home congestion. It’s relatively obvious that if you have another PC in your home downloading large files, your home network or you last-mile network may be impacted. What’s less obvious is that even heavy upstream traffic can be a problem by impeding the flow of acknowledgement packets back to the servers, which respond by sending smaller and smaller packets in case the data gets damaged in transit. Since most home broadband has much lower upstream bandwidth than downstream, it’s quite easy to saturate the upstream direction with a PC-backup application, or a Skype-video call, for example.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Netflix Communities

Chris from the communications team here. I am writing to you know that there are now a few more ways to get the latest Netflix news and connect with other Netflix fans in these communities online:

Facebook: Become a fan of Netflix on Facebook to connect with other Netflix aficionados and see the latest photos, videos and company news: http://www.facebook.com/netflix

Twitter: For Netflix news and updates in 140 word increments, you can also follow Netflix on twitter: https://twitter.com/netflix