Ahead of Apple’s Macworld Expo, Netflix lifts restrictions on movie streaming service

“Girding for a potential threat from Apple Inc., online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. is lifting its limits on how long most subscribers can watch movies and television shows over high-speed Internet connections,” Michael Liedtke reports for The Associated Press.

“The change will become effective Monday, on the eve of Apple’s widely anticipated move into the movie rental industry. Although Apple hasn’t confirmed anything yet, Chief Executive Steve Jobs is expected to make it official during a presentation Tuesday in San Francisco,” Liedtke reports.

“Netflix is gearing up for the increased competition by expanding a year-old feature that streams movies over the Internet instead of making customers wait for their online rental requests to be delivered through the mail,” Liedtke reports.

“Until now, Netflix restricted how long its more than 7 million subscribers could use the streaming service each month, based on how much they pay to rent DVDs.
For instance, under a popular plan that charges $16.99 per month to rent up to three DVDs at a time, Netflix customers could watch as many as 17 hours of entertainment each month on the streaming service, dubbed ‘Watch Instantly,'” Liedtke reports.

“With Monday’s change, virtually all Netflix subscribers will be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles. There will be no additional charge for the unlimited access,” Liedtke reports. “Only the small portion of Netflix customers who pay $4.99 to rent up to two DVDs per month won’t be provided unlimited access to the streaming service.”

“Removing the time constraints on its streamed entertainment could give Netflix an advantage over Apple’s movie rental service. Apple will charge $3.99 for movies that can be downloaded and played for up to 24 hours, according to media reports citing people familiar with the company’s rental plans,” Liedtke reports.

“Apple’s rental service is expected to offer its customers more flexibility, allowing movies to be viewed on the Cupertino-based company’s ubiquitous iPod and iPhone, as well as on computers,” Liedtke reports.

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brenden” for the heads up.]

Somebody’s getting nervous.

77 Comments

  1. Apple is experiencing an amazing ascendancy. They’ve always ruffled feathers, but now, it seems that every move puts them at odds with a new business category. They’re essentially competing against everyone now. Even more, NetFlix’s attempt to preempt what Apple may offer shows that they understand the potential threat Apple truly can be. This will be quite an interesting battle.

  2. netflix’s streaming video doesn’t work on Macs . . . a source of major irritation to me. I’m paying for a Netflix service I can’t use . . . I can’t imagine Apple will match Netflix’s deal, but I sure am going to look at it closely . . . .

  3. “Until Obama really says something – lets get his ads off of here – they annoy me.”

    Gotta agree with that one. But what annoys me even more are the ‘youth’ sector and Oprah fans who are pissing their knickers over this wanna-be. I wonder if he and Dr. Phil take turns or simultaneously shove their heads up Winfrey’s arse.

  4. hhmm. I’m not sure their really going to charge $3.99 for solely 24 hours. I think that’s a little steep. You might as well buy the movie. Then again its coming from sources like on demand and other services who are trying to make the business as generic as posible.

  5. ‘Netflix lifts restrictions”?

    Netflix, what kind of boneheaded move is this? I suggest you do a little market research before you alienate your customers. Consumers want more restrictions, DRM and ads. Microsoft knows this and is the only company with the courage and resources to put it into action. Ads customers can’t skip, complete DRM solutions to protect the customer’s investment and usage limits are the future.

    Do you really want the hippies at Apple defining how you can use your content? It’s all ‘free love’ and ‘if it feels good, do it’ with them. Jobs even wrote a letter against DRM. He’s losing it. Trust Gates and Ballmer. They’ve got our back.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  6. Problem with Netflix instant is that it only runs on XP or Shista…

    so… unless they change that…

    Here’s what you get when you try to use watch instantly using firefox on 10.5.

    Your system is not compatible with watching instantly

    Your computer’s operating system is not compatible with watching instantly.

    Try again from a computer running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista.

    To watch instantly, you need a computer with the following configuration:
    Minimum Requirements

    * Computer running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher, or Windows Vista
    * Internet Explorer version 6 or higher
    * Windows Media Player version 11 (DRM version 5145) or later
    * An active broadband connection to the Internet
    * 1.0 GHz processor
    * 512 MB RAM
    * 3 GB free hard disk drive space

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