It seems like the entire Internet is raging and fuming about Netflix raising prices on some of their services. Most of it is coming under super-dramatic headlines such as “NETFLIX JACKED UP PRICES 60% OMGWTFBBQ!!!” Naturally, this rage is not only misplaced, it’s totally blown out of proportion.
The skinny is that Netflix has decided to break up the entry-level tiers into “streaming only” and “one DVD at a time”, each priced at $8/mo. The tier that includes both of these will cost $16/mo instead of the previous $10/mo. Some of the other tiers will see pricing changes as well. I’m not saying that I’d be happy with the increase either, but nobody is taking the time out to actually understand why it’s happening.
Word on the street is that the plug is being pulled on Connected Lyfe (or Lyfe Communications, or whatever company name they go by now). Several sources have confirmed that the video head end they purchased from UTOPIA has been returned as they are no longer able to make the payments. I’ve also heard that, unsurprisingly, most of their difficultly came from an inability to negotiate needed video licenses from programmers to roll out their ambitious video product.
I can’t say I’m too surprised. Technologically speaking, they had all the right ingredients. Most of the guys who founded Connected Lyfe had been working for Move Networks, a company that made some impressive video streaming products that could dynamically adjust the video bitrate depending on current bandwidth conditions without a bunch of annoying buffering. Where they went wrong, however, was thinking that programmers would line up to stream their shows to any and all screens they could support. I mean, the networks literally own Hulu and even they can’t get too disruptive. Combined with the rapid burn of investor cash, I couldn’t see this one going much of anywhere.
I hear, though, that UTOPIA is working on some stringent new requirements for new providers so that these kinds of things start happening. I understand they’ve been in the works for a few months and still aren’t finalized, but hopefully we’ve seen an end of shining star new providers that flame out.