Netflix customers in downtown Berkeley on Tuesday afternoon were figuring out what to do now that the cost of their Netflix subscription is going up — but most still won't be going to the service's competition, local video stores, if they don't already.
The company known for its red DVD envelopes might mail less of them, after announcing Tuesday that a full subscription to its service — the DVD rental and online movie streaming bundle — now costs $15.98, up from $9.99 per month.
However, customers may now choose between an online streaming-only subscription or renting one DVD at a time for $7.99.
"I'll have to ask my wife about it," said Shane Cybart, who works at UC Berkeley. "The (online) streaming service doesn't have enough good options, so you really have to have the DVD component."
Cybart said he might cancel his service and quit renting DVDs, period, rather than make trips to a video store.
Most Berkeley customers Patch spoke with said they only stream movies from Netflix anyway — making the price change a money saver, since they currently pay $9.99 for their subscriptions.
Rachel Richardson, who works at the Haas School of Business, subscribed to Netflix about four months ago to stream old seasons of "24" and "True Blood" to her television. "I would only use the DVD option if there was something not available for streaming," she said. "I think it's almost their fault if they don't offer something streaming."
John Wilson, a local bus driver, isn't sure if he's going to change his Netflix subscription yet, but he said he won't use any other DVD rental service. "I used to go to a local video store that was just down the street, but they closed," said Wilson. "It was an independent family owned store that got pushed out of business by Blockbuster and Hollywood Video."
But both Blockbuster and Hollywood Video suffered at the hands of Netflix. MSNBC reported Hollywood Video went out of business in 2010, and Blockbuster was recently acquired by Dish Network during bankruptcy proceedings.
At Berkeley's Blockbuster on Shattuck Avenue, nine customers strolled through on Tuesday afternoon. Most said they currently or previously used Netflix, but rely on the video store to rent actual DVDs. "They didn't have the movie I wanted on Netflix," said Andrew B.H., who wanted to stream 2010's "The Takers" but wound up browsing the video store's shelves. "Due to time constraints, I decided to come get it."