It’s been just about a year to the date since Netflix dove into online movies. They did it hoping to appeal to the under 30 crowd, the ones who are familiar and comfortable with getting their entertainment content online. And while things have been going fairly well lately, it appears as though they too heard the rumor that we did. You know, the rumor that Steve Jobs will be announcing that Apple will be entering the online video rental market? Because of the potential threat from Apple that has yet to be confirmed, Netflix has decided to make their online movie feature a little more enticing.
Effective today, Netflix is making some big changes to the different plans that they offer. Previously their plans ranged from offering 5 hours of online viewing time to 24 hours per month, but now most plans will give users unlimited access to the “Watch Instantly” content. The only plan that won’t offer this is the 1 DVD at-a-time – limit 2 per month option which is priced at $4.99. All of the other plans including the $8.99 option come with unlimited hours of watching movies on their PC. Not bad, huh?
While we aren’t Netflix customers and haven’t tried the Watch Instantly service, from what we’ve heard, their selection is less than stellar. Compared to when the service first launched and they only had 1,000 movies and TV shows available to view, the service is much improved with a selection including over 6,000 different titles today. But the problem though, is that many of those 6,000 titles are older. The newer stuff that would typically be in high demand isn’t offered.
If Apple does in fact enter this market, and I’m sure they will, they could have a huge advantage over Netflix if they are able to offer the most recent content. It’s rumored that Apple will charge $3.99 per movie and that the movie can be played up to 24 hours after it has been downloaded. And of course they’ll appeal to all of the Mac users who up until this point,haven’t been able to take advantage of the Netflix online movie service which requires a computer running Windows.
I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait for the Steve Jobs keynote tomorrow so that all of these rumors can be put to rest…