It was a war on two fronts that eventually drove Blockbuster into bankruptcy. Netflix was on one side, and Redbox on the other. Redbox has long been a favorite of thrifty film-buffs with its super-cheap $1 per-night movie rentals. Unfortunately, the party is over, or is at least getting a little less raucous. Redbox is upping that DVD charge to $1.20 a night starting October 31st.
Reed Hastings isn't infallible, we know this by now. As CEO of Netflix, he's been brilliant in growing his company into a premier streaming service, and spectacularly flawed in underestimating the fallout from customers over hefty price increases and major business model changes. But on that latter part, Mr. Hastings is anything but oblivious, at least after the fact, and has repeatedly owned up to the bad vibes directed at Netflix.
With all that's been going on with Netflix lately, some people think Reed Hastings has lost his marbles. Others think the CEO lost his soul and/or question if he ever had one to begin with. That's because there's a lot of anger out there over Netflix's recent price hike followed by the semi-sudden separation of its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster, a completely new company that frees Netflix to concentrate solely on streaming. As a result, Netflix is losing customers and investor support, but the company head hasn't lost his sense of humor.
Netflix's decision to spin off its DVD rental business into a separate entity known as Qwikster and add videogames to the mix means gamers now have another option to get their pixelated fixes. It also means big competition for GameFly, which doesn't appear to be threatened by the move, or is at least playing it tough in the public eye.
It's doubtful Reed Hastings is a football fan. Instead of kicking back on the couch yesterday and watching any number of NFL stories play out, the CEO of Netflix spent Sunday penning an apology letter to subscribers for his poor communication regarding the recent price hikes, and explaining this thing called Qwikster, which is what Netflix is calling its suddenly severed DVD-by-mail business.
The Internet community is once again pissed off at Netflix (what else is new, right?), this time over reports that the DVD-by-mail and streaming movie service is actively enforcing a policy that limits the number of simultaneous streams per account, which in some cases is as low as one. That means you have to kick the kids off of SpongeBob if you want to catch a Starz flick while Netflix is still allowed to stream them.
Netflix is seemingly weakened in the market right now. The unpopular price hikes have just gone into effect, and now the Starz deal has collapsed. According to Bloomberg, Dish is taking the opportunity to ramp up plans for its own Netflix competitor using assets acquired from Blockbuster. Does it have a chance?
More and more folks are turning to cloud services like Dropbox to store their oh-so-precious private data, but when it comes to truly valuable info, it's still a good idea to keep a physical backup disc around in case those virtual services crap out on you. Then again, CDs and DVDs scratch waaaaay too easily and have limited shelf lives. If you've ever been screwed by a big gouge across an important backup disc, you might want to check out the new optical media that's hitting the market soon. Supposedly, it lasts forever, and the Department of Defense vouches for its resiliency.
Native media playback support has been steadily improving in Windows over the years, but what most people don’t realize is that this functionality comes at a price. Dozens of third party licensing agreements are needed to playback all the different forms of audio and video you’re likely to stumble across, and over the years Dolby has benefited quite handsomely from the inclusion of its Dolby Digital Plus pack into Microsoft’s operating systems.
Well, it was fun while it lasted. Zediva, a video rental service that tried an end run around copyright law, has been ordered shut down by a federal judge. US District Judge John Walter sided with the MPAA and issued a preliminary injunction that will force Zediva to close down in one week.