Blu for Two

Netflix is onboard the Blu-ray express. They dropped HD DVD like a hot potato, and now they are charging a little extra if you want to come home and find Blu-ray discs visiting a mailbox near you.

When you check the "I have a Blu-ray player" option in your account, it tacks $2 a month onto your plan. Then, you can start waiting in line for the BDs to arrive. (If you are signing up for a new account, you get a two-week free trial, so you get 50% off the Blu-ray premium for the first month.)  Now, that's not a $2 surcharge per disc, it's a flat $2 per month. If you amortize that over enough discs, it's not a big deal. What might be a bad deal is that this can be seen as a price hike over existing plans, and a way for NF to make a quick extra buck on BD....

BDs cost more than DVDs, and it's possible (but unproven) that they suffer damage more easily than DVD, so the number of rentals may be diminished. That would justify a higher price on the part of NF. The real question is whether this is just another example of passing the buck on to consumers. Movie studios weren't making enough money off DVD, so they invent a new and improved disc that allows them to charge a premium. Once DVD goes away, voila! We are paying more for movies on plastic. Is Blu-ray a better movie-watching experience and a justified price increase, or just a subtle way to jack up prices on a commodity? You decide. -Ken C. Pohlmann