If you experienced the breakdown Monday on Netflix’s site between about 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST, you will be happy to know that you were one of 7.5 million users that went through frustration when you couldn’t get your movie fix. The company says that there may be a delay in orders by a day and may credit some accounts to make up for the problem. This is the second time the site has been down, the first occurring last July when the Netflix lowered its prices.
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Round two. In a “no surprise” move (since Netflix is doing the same), Best Buy said that it will recommend that its customers choose Blu-ray when purchasing a DVD Player/Recorder.
“Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products,” said President and CEO Brian Dunn.
You will notice the hardware and software change by March, although they will also carry HD products. We suspect you will find them in the mark down aisle and, while you are there, check out the bargain DVDs.
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Netflix has announced that it will only buy Blu-ray discs and phase out HD by the end of the year. We suspect that is because four of the six major studios have gone the same way. While this looks to be the end of the war, we are just not ready to go out and purchase a new player right away. We hope that Sony finally feels karma for their failed Betamax. We also discovered that Netflix will be only sending out standard DVDs by the end of this month.
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Netflix subscribers on unlimited rental plans are now allowed endless streaming of movies on their PCs. Previously, the company offered a limited amount of viewing depending on a subscription rate, but it seems that now that it has a library of over 90,000 titles, this is their time to shine over the competition. If you now are on the $4.99 singular DVD Plan or 2 a month option, you will still receive two hours of instant streaming per month. It remains to be seen just how the competition will react to the news, not to mention the dwindling supply of local neighborhood video stores.
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Apparently, the office of the USPS Inspector General is not happy because the mailers that Netxflix uses have to be sorted by hand. They estimate that it is costing them about $21 million a year and have suggested that the company include a 17 cent surcharge from now on. Tony Wible, a Citigroup analyst who wrote the report, says that the income that Netflix receives per subscriber would fall from $1.05 to 35 cents. We know that Netxflix, which mails out about 1.6 million movies a day, is clever enough to create a redesigned mailer sometime soon.
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Another company has decided that we still don’t have enough choices when it comes to watching movies. Vudu promises access to over 5,000 movies with its 250-gigabyte hard drive that will handle about 100 hours of storage. The Vudu runs by Ethernet with at least a 2 Mbpm broadband Internet connection. In time, the box will have more storage capability with an additional USB hard drive. The price of the Vudu is $399.00 and although there is no subscription fee, you pay 99 cents to $3.99 to rent or $4.99 to $19.99 to own. The way we go through movies around here makes us think that with that kind of spending, we could probably purchase a new car by the end of the year. We’ll just be satisfied with our now dependable NetFlix which we figure pays for itself in the first week of any given month.
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We now know that even big corporations make
mistakes. Someone found this image attached to the NetFlix offering for “Spike and Mikes’s Twisted Festival of Animation: Contagious.” We have seen some of the pair’s animation, which features mostly r-rated cartoons such as “No Neck Joe” by the Power Puff Girls’ creator Craig McCracken. About the closest it gets to Sesame Street is its naughty Happy Tree Friends. The error has since been corrected, but it certainly makes you wonder why it wasn’t discovered when it was originally posted.
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iTalkies has adopted Netflix’s idea and the company, which is based in Seattle, has been delivering Bollywood titles since 2004. Now they have expanded and are available to residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Shaiwal Singh, the company’s founder and CEO, says that there are over 5,000 titles of Indian films in seven languages and features both popular films and award-winners. We like this idea and wonder if it could be the beginning of a trend that will include such individualized online services as iChickFlick and iFreddyKruger.
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Netflix is the granddaddy of the rent-by-mail craze, making it tres easy to rent DVDs and video games without stepping off your curb. Now comes BookSwim, with the same paradigm: create a queue of books to read, wait for them to be shipped to you, send them back when done so your next title can be sent out. No shipping or late fees, and keep the books as long as you want. BookSwim claims to have over 150,000 titles, and plans range from $20 USD (3 books at-a-time) to $36 USD (11 books!). We’re curious to see if BookSwim takes off, as it faces stiff competition from a little something called the Public Library, which we hear is free. But, if you live far from the library, BookSwim could be worth a shot.
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If you are a Netflix devotee, you may have noticed that the site was down for over 12 hours this week, but what you may not be aware of is the fact that their stock price hit the lowest it has in over two years. Lowering monthly fees by $1.00 and thereby losing profits is one of the company’s attempts to compete with the mega-giant Blockbuster. Yesterday their stock dropped to $15.62 then rebounded to $16.10 (a loss of 6.8%) as an indication of stockholders’ distress. Statistics also indicate that last month they had a decrease of 55,000 subscribers since April. They may lose even more profit as they invest in new tech to allow online movies that can be viewed on TV via high-speed Internet connections.
The company has had its share of problems since Blockbuster offered the option to swap DVDs at their stores instead of waiting for the mail. We love Netflix for its originality and are not thrilled with the fact that they may be knocked down because of that glorious concept known as competition. We have watched our neighbor video stores crumble because of Blockbuster’s large scale takeover efforts and hope that the beleaguered rival can take a bite back and retain its standing.
Read More | MSNBC