I haven't had a TV for about 15 years now. I hate commercials and inane content so much, and when I am working on something hard I am so lacking in willpower, that I'd rather just not have the thing in my house. My main watching habits these days are movies or nature documentaries on DVD, or else recent TV episodes streamed. About half of my viewing is done while I exercise, for distraction. For a good movie, I really prefer to see it with a lively New York audience in a theater, but tickets are quite expensive now (\$12/person).
Yes, I'm pissed off by Netflix's recent changes, and I'm worried that the plan is to sell off the DVD rental, but the company is still going to get my business. Here's the math:
- DVD rental. No viable commercial competitors remain to Netflix's DVD rental service. Blockbuster's has slower turnover even if you trek to the store for returns, as well as a smaller collection of disks on hand in my area. RedBox seems to be defunct. There are much smaller services in other cities, and they cost far more. The New York Public Library (sounds of cheering) has passable offerings at no cost, but they're smaller than Netflix's, there is often a very long wait, and disks are damaged even more often than Netflix's are. At two disks out per month from Netflix, I can receive and watch 15-20 per month if I time things correctly. At \$12+tax/month, that's \$0.65-\$0.87/disk. If the Post Office stops overnight delivery even within New York County, the cost to me will be forced up, but even if the cost doubles, Netflix is likely to remain the cheapest service for the largest selection. There is no viable alternative, and no streaming service offers the range of material I can get on disks.
- Streaming. Currently \$8+tax/month. I generally watch only TV shows this way, between three and eight episodes a week, averaging around 20 a month, for a net cost of \$0.44/episode. Of the competitors, only Amazon Prime currently comes anywhere close to Netflix's inventory in the areas I'm interested in, and (ignoring the yearly fee, which also pays shipping on books) most of the shows I watch would cost me \$2 or \$3/episode because they're not in the free-viewing category.