Netflix Passes Blu-ray Buck

Blu-ray adopters had their reward: The smug satisfaction of winning the high definition format war over HD DVD. Now they'll receive a punishment, too. Blu-ray player-owning subscribers to Netflix will soon have to pay a premium to rent Blu-ray discs from the company, chief executive Reed Hastings said today on a conference call.

The high-def discs are just too pricey not to pass the cost on to consumers, according to the company. Besides, "consumers are used to paying more for high-definition," Hastings said. Somehow, Hastings words don't remove the sting. Netflix hasn't said just how much extra subscribers will have to pay to get Blu-ray discs - whether they'll have to pay up-front, after the fact, or for a certain number of discs - though the company did say the charge will be a "modest monthly premium."

As a Netflix subscriber who doesn't own a Blu-ray player, this news certainly won't motivate me to buy one. On the other hand, I'm glad Netflix didn't raise its overall pricing instead. I'll be happy to pay Netflix more money once it brings high-def movies directly to my television without the need for a pesky, pricey disc. -Rachel Rosmarin

Silicon Alley Insider