Netflix Rental Plans for 2011
Netflix recently announced new price plans which go into effect on January 11, 2011, so I wanted to go over the Netflix plans and pricing for 2011. Whether you’re prospective customer to the online DVD rental giant, or a continuing costumer trying to figure out whether to change to a new rental plan, you’ll find data to inform your choices.
Netflix Plans and Prices
There are a variety of Netflix plans and prices, including the traditional DVD rental tiers most people are accustomed to, Netflix plans for blu ray rentals, and streaming-only plans. I’ll go over each of these, giving the latest pricing tiers for 2011 and a comparison of the plans based on a combination of cost and service.
A Netflix executive recently stated that Netflix was now primarily a streaming video company–not the by-mail movie rental company most people perceive–though I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. That’s where Netflix is pointing itself, but the day when most of us stream videos to our tv sets, instead of getting movies in the mail, is still in the future. That future might not be too far down the line, though.
For the time being, I’m going to cover the plans and prices you can rent DVDs and blu ray discs via the snail mail, then discuss the streaming option below.
Netflix Plans – Prices
As of January 11, 2011, here are the new prices for Netflix rental plans.
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $10.99 a month
- 2 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $16.99 a month
- 3 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $20.99 a month
- 4 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $28.99 a month
- 5 DVDs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $35.99 a month
- 6 DVDS out at-a-Time - Unlimited Rentals – $42.99 a month
- 7 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $49.99 a month
- 8 DVDS out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $56.99 a month
- 1 DVD out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $4.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No DVDs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans Comparison
Now that you see the full list of Netflix plans, let’s discuss several of the most intriguing options. Let’s get streaming videos out of the way first, since it’s what is on everyone’s mind right now. It’s hard to argue with the deal Netflix is throwing out there for customers.
Netflix Plans – Streaming Only
For $7.99 per month, you can choose to avoid the DVD mail plans altogether. That means you won’t be able to get Netflix movie discs mailed to you. Instead, everything is streamed directly to your television set. You’ll need to have your tv set up to interface with your computer, and that might cost you the money to have someone come out to your home to install and prep the electronics. Once set up, the streaming plan is the easiest and most efficient, and you don’t have to remember to drop off your return videos in the mail.
You can see why Netflix executives are pushing this option. The overhead of dealing with the U.S. Postal Service and having to “throttle” customers who rent too many films for the cost structure is eliminated. You click on a button and Netflix streams the video to your home. I’ve found there are some connection issues at time, but this is clearly the wave of the future. For $7.99, you get unlimited film rentals pumped directly to your television.
I tend to wonder if Netflix isn’t making this the introductory price, to get more people to switch over from the mailing plans, and the price won’t go up, once most people have made the switch. But if you have the electronic set-up at your house, this is the best plan, according to bang-for-your-buck.
Netflix Plans $4.99
Now let’s go to the other end of the spectrum. The most basic Netflix pricing plan is the $4.99 a month for a maximum of 2 rentals. I suppose people and families which watch few movies, but want to avoid the trip to the video rental store, can use this plan. I don’t see why anyone would choose this option, though.
For five dollars more, you can get unlimited rentals, while still having the same number of DVDs out at one time. Even if your family has one movie watching night a week and you want 1 disc per week, the unlimited $9.99 plan is going to service your needs better.
Netflix Plans – Pricing
As for the standard “DVD out at-a-time” plans, the best remains the 3-film plan, in my mind. This is one of the price plans which has gone up in price ($2 from $17.99 a month), but that’s because it’s the most popular one of the bunch. That’s because 3 movies at a time let’s people stagger their movie watching, almost always having a film DVD to watch. With the standard 2-day turnaround on shipping, the three-video plan simply works.
You can choose the bigger plans, especially if you’re a film geek or you have a whole family of movie watchers, but the price increase from 3 to 4 videos is a steep $8. I still wonder at the people who need 8 film rentals out at a time, but those people exist.
I imagine these people should be among the first to get the $7.99 streaming option, since they can take those $48 per month in savings to put towards having someone come out and set up a streaming connection between their computer and television. A couple or three months of savings should more than make up for that expense, and then they’ll be paying eight dollars a month for unlimited rentals (not just 8).
Netflix Plans – Blu Ray
To add blu ray rentals to your option list, pay an additional $4.00 a month. Remember that you’ll need a high-definition television to watch blu ray discs at home. There are also streaming plans or blu ray-only plans available, listed below. By the time January 11, 2011 rolls around, the prices on several of these might have gone up, but these were the latest pricing tiers for blu ray rentals I could find.
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $9.99 a month
- 2 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $14.99 a month
- 3 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $19.99 a month
- 4 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $27.99 a month
- 5 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $34.99 a month
- 6 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $41.99 a month
- 7 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $48.99 a month
- 8 Blu Ray Discs out at-a-Time – Unlimited Rentals – $55.99 a month
- 1 Blu Ray Disc out at-a-Time – Limit 2 Rentals per Month – $5.99 a month
- Watch Instantly Unlimited – No Blu Ray Discs – $7.99 a month
Netflix Plans – Cost
Whatever the case might be, Netflix remains the best movie rental company in the world. Netflix rental plans are efficient, on the cutting edge, and scandalously cheap. Who knows whether that remains the case in the years ahead–Blockbuster once was the giant of the film rental industry–but as far as 2011 goes, Netflix plans and pricing remain the best.
- Netflix or Blockbuster?
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