Home Netflix Removes “Add to DVD Queue” from Streaming Devices, Angers Users [Update]

Netflix Removes “Add to DVD Queue” from Streaming Devices, Angers Users [Update]

Netflix, the streaming movie and DVD subscription service, announced this morning that it would no longer allow users to add DVDs to their queue from the device they use to watch instantly. Netflix offers streaming-only content to a number of devices – from gaming consoles to embedded TVs to smartphones and tablets – and previously gave users the ability to browse content and flag it to be shipped as a DVD when it was unavailable for streaming.

According to Jamie Odell, director of product management at Netflix, the company is removing this functionality “so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly.”

“Providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality,” writes Odell. “This change does not impact the Netflix Web site, where most members manage their DVD Queues.”

As PaidContent points out, users are not happy with the change and the backlash has been prompt, with nearly 200 comments on the announcement in the past couple hours.

Complaints vary from claims that Netflix is trying to slowly kill its DVD subscription service by raising the prices while removing the ability to order DVDs to questions of exactly what resources Netflix is trying to free up.

PaidContent’s Andrew Wallenstein warns that “Netflix needs to proceed with great caution in how it unwinds its disc business or risk losing a chunk of the subscribers on which it built its booming business.”

We spoke with Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications with Netflix, who told us that Netflix is on more than 250 devices. Those with the “Add to Queue” functionality that were used for streaming-only purposes would no longer have the functionality. The long and short of it seems to be that the feature will now be accessible solely through the Netflix website.

As for resources, Swasey said that it was an issue of time, effort and engineers, not necessarily server load or anything like that. Moreover, Swasey said that it was a basic issue of where Netflix wanted to focus. “We’re spending more on streaming content than on DVD,” he said. “As we add more countries, they will be streaming only. We simplified the process for streaming by taking away one process that not many people used.”

While the majority of voices in the comments seemed outraged by the move, Swasey insisted that “it’s not affecting a majority” and that the reason most people watch streaming movies is to watch the movies, not to order DVDs.

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