Netflix Apologizes, Renames DVD Service To Qwikster, Draws More Fire

A couple months ago, the household name, Netflix, brought household outrage by eliminating their popular DVD/Streaming package and replacing it with the option to purchase two separate packages at a large price hike. Today, it seems that the wisdom “better late than never” might not apply to the apology email that Netflix sent out to its subscribers and posted on its blog. If the comments on the blog post are any indication, Netflix is in for another round of abuse.

The Apology that was sent out on behalf of CEO Reed Hastings started out feeling very heart-felt, opening with “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” Hastings follows this with his sincere apology for the way Netflix rolled out the price/package changes:

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.

Qwikster

After the brief apology, the email goes on to point out that the pricing and package change was part of a much bigger move to turn the DVD side of Netflix into a completely separate company, complete with separate charges on your card if you have both services. The new company, Qwikster, will handle all the physical discs with Netflix freed up to focus on streaming. This leaves me with an obvious question…

What Are You Doing, Netflix?

As a subscriber only to the streaming service, neither the previous nor the current changes leave me with the feelings of betrayal others seem to have experienced, but as a business owner, I’m scratching my head. Netflix built a wonderful monopoly on the DVD-by-mail business and even began a decent transition into streaming. Despite kiosk offerings from RedBox and Blockbuster, Netflix still had the largest selection with a solid customer base. The pricing and package changes damaged customer loyalty, but this feels like Netflix is positioning themselves to move out of the DVD-by-mail arena completely.

At Least There’s Games By Mail Now

One thing I felt positive about in this announcement is that Netflix Qwikster will be offering games by mail as well. Though I’ve honestly never gotten serious enough about the idea of games by mail to sign up for a competitor like Game Fly, I love the idea. Sadly, the thought that I can’t do it through Netflix leaves me in the “maybe some day” area. Frankly, I’ve always had small nervous breakdowns when a disc from Netflix or RedBox looks like someone tried to watch it by scratching it up with a set of keys, so maybe this saves me from a mid-game mental meltdown anyway. You disc-scratchers know who you are.

The Streaming-Only Upside

Because I only subscribe to the streaming service at home, this change may actually present a large benefit to me. I often wonder when Netflix will bring the streaming library up to speed. They have millions of discs for mailing out, but far too often do I find myself searching for something only to find it unavailable for instant watching. I’m crossing my fingers that we’re headed for a larger Instant Watch selection, but I’m not holding my breath.

Back Up Blue-Ray Movies With 123 Media Max

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 123 Media Max. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love watching movies. I have a ton of DVDs and I’m pretty careful about how I treat them. Still, I’ve backed some of my movies up in the past with other software, so I am not unfamiliar with how it’s done. I was given the opportunity, today, to review some software that not only copies DVDs, but is also a Blu-Ray Copy Breakthrough. I don’t have a Blue-Ray player (although I should by now), but I wanted to give it a try anyway, so I did.

Why Should I Back Up My Movies?

Like CDs, DVDs are prone to getting scratched up. All it takes is for you to have a movie night and leave one out while swapping movies because the case wasn’t immediately available. The probability of scratched DVDs and Blue-Ray movies increases exponentially with each child you have in the house. At $15, $20, or more per DVD and Blue-Ray disc, it’s a good idea to back them up.

Copy and Burn Blue-Ray and DVD Movies

The core functionality of 123 Media Max is copying movies, so right after installing, I threw in my Napoleon Dynamite DVD and fired up the software. After choosing to copy a DVD straight, it prompted me for the media I wanted to copy, including my DVD in the list. The selection box was a little small, but I chose my DVD and it told me that my DVD may have copyright protection on it and asked if I wanted to look for a plugin that would get past it. I opted to look and seconds later, I was downloading Boooya to get around the copy encryption. After another quick install, I was copying.

123mediamax copy

In software I tried in the past, I had to run a tray application (all the time) before I even thought about backing up a DVD. Then I would run a second application to do all the work. I like that this uses a plugin that loads only when needed. After about 20 minutes, the DVD data was copied and I swapped the DVD for a blank DVD to write to.

123mediamax burn

After about 40-50 minutes total, I had installed both the application and the plugin, copied the DVD, and burned it to a blank disc. This was also faster than software I had tried previously and easier, too. I tried my new backup and before I knew it, that goofy 80’s kid was distracting me from my review.

Additional Features

123 Media Max has, so far, proven to be better than the software I tried in the past, but here’s where it slaps that other software around and makes it cry uncle (well, almost). After you’re done backing up all your movies, you can get more out of the purchase price by converting videos from one format to another and even downloading and converting videos from the Internet. In about two minutes, I told 123 Media Max I wanted to find video online, searched (within the program) for the Tron trailer, found it on MetaCafe, and downloaded and converted it to an AVI on my drive. The only problem I had was that it didn’t find videos on YouTube that I know exist. Hopefully that will be fixed in another version, but it’s pretty cool even without YouTube. Although I haven’t tried it, 123 Media Max also boasts the ability to convert from DVR and TIVO files as well, which I think is a great feature for anyone with one of these devices.

Conclusions

This software should copy your Blue-Ray movies while maintaining the great quality. In my tests, it performed great and did more than expected. If you don’t want to worry about losing your Blue-Ray or DVD collection, or find that they often get scratched up, 123 Media Max is a good investment for your collection at just under $70.

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Liquid Mongoose’s Paper Case Takes the Work Out of CD and DVD Cases

Have you ever made a copy of a CD or DVD and then forgotten what it was later or worse, just set it aside without a case and let it get scratched up? Maybe not too often, but it happens and who wants to take the time to go hunt down the album or movie artwork, copy the track listing, etc.?

Dan Wilson at Liquid Mongoose emailed me today to tell me about a free solution he came up with. It’s called, simply enough, Paper Case, and it’s just a script that re-arranges the album page from music.aol.com or the DVD listing from NetFlix into a format fit for printing. It looked pretty cool, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Find your Music / DVD info page
The first step is to find the information page for your album or DVD. I get a lot of promo CDs via digital download, so I decided to look up Ayria‘s album, Debris. (Really, check out Ayria when you get a chance.)

Prepare the page and print it
This was simple enough. I just clicked the little Paper Case bookmark and got a pop-up informing me that my paper case was ready to print. Then I told FireFox to print it.

Learn Oragami… I mean fold the paper case
The folding part seems a bit involved, but I didn’t let that deter me. It can’t be all that hard, can it? It’s actually not that hard, but you’ll want to pause the video a couple times. Also, be sure to center that CD or DVD on the paper before the first folds or it will come out uneven, as I found out.

Here’s what I ended up with:

IMG_0148_cropped

I’ll be honest. When I watched the above video the first time, the amount of required folding looks like it provided a lot of room for error, but it’s a lot easier than it looks. Thanks go out to Dan for the free DIY sleeve kit.