Why does Netflix still send out DVDs

I realize that there are plenty of people who prefer to watch movies on their TV and don’t want to pay for Netflix ready devices like game consoles, TVs, Blu-ray players, etc.
But why only have a small number of titles available to Watch Instantly for those who are either set up for that or don’t mind watching on their computer? Netflix already has your monthly fee and if all of the movies were available as streaming content they would save a ton of money on postage and wages.

They have to get approval to stream video from the owners of the content. Just because you own a DVD doesn’t mean you have the rights to do that.

With some content, the number of stakeholders involved may make it impossible to get permission to stream the content. With others, it may simply not be worth Netflix’s time (yet) to seek out individual publishers. And with still others, the company may not want Netflix to stream it, because they want to do it themselves or have other plans for the content.

The rights to distribute streaming content are different from the rights to distribute physical media such as DVDs. Netflix doe not have the rights to stream all their movies - these must be negotiated with the content owners. So not every movie is available to stream.

Give it about 5 more years, I think.

This sounds right I suppose but in this day and age it should be easy enough to get your residuals from content whether disc or streaming.

Actually, no it isn’t, that’s a big part of why the Writers’ Guild of America went on strike a couple of years ago, the contracts are renegotiated rather infrequently and not in pace with changes in technology or distribution modes. And the residuals coming from new media (including streaming) for writers and actors and the various contributors to your favorite films and TV shows are pathetic.

One big reason is that a lot of us can’t watch streaming movies. Where I live, there are no wired broadband options. I can go with either cellphone-based or satellite-based. Both have punitive bandwidth limits (use too much on the Verizon unit and get billed hundreds of dollars; use too much on the HughesNet system and get “throttled back” to about 33Kbps).

I don’t really enjoy watching movies streamed on my computer screen.
I like DVDs.
That’s it.

I don’t get nearly as good as a picture from streaming as I do from a DVD or blu ray. Thus, I limit my streaming to old tv shows or documentaries. Also, there are quite a few DVDs I rent because I do want to watch the special features.

I’ve streamed episodes of the Avengers, that I owned the DVDs for, because I was too lazy to dig the discs out. Even on the streaming version, the stunt doubles are very obvious in some scenes.

There’s also the matter of converting all of those movies to a streamable format. The burden is on the rights holders to do that. I’m guessing that many of the independent films and many of the older films aren’t available to Netflix that way.

The licensing reason is the most important reason that there is a difference in selection between DVD and Watch Instantly.

I do a lot of Watch Instantly on Netflix, but DVDs have a few advantages:

  • DVD offer higher quality video and audio (with multiple audio preferences)
  • DVD extras like documentaries, commentary and alternate endings are not available instantly
  • alternate languages are rarely available instantly
  • closed captioning is not available instantly.