Video In The Cloud

In the megatrends post this past week I mentioned that:

A third of Netflix' new subscribers are opting for the streaming only plan

We've been Netflix customers for a long time and we currently have the "4 DVDs at a time Unlimited" plan. But when I went to look at our Netflix account this morning, I saw that we've only ordered one DVD in all of 2011 and we have streamed eleven movies in the past seven days. We are not ready to go to streaming only because the Netflix streaming library isn't complete enough and there are times when we really want to see a film and we order it on DVD. That's happened once so far this year so we probably should cut back our account to 1 DVD at a time.

Last night the Gotham Gal and I decided to make dinner at home and watch a movie. We made that decision around 6pm. There are no video rental stores anymore west of seventh avenue between 14th and Houston that I know of. So it was a pretty easy call. We went with Netflix Watch Instantly. We found a good film we hadn't seen (City Island) and enjoyed it. We could have watched the movie on any one of four devices we have connected our our family room display (boxee box, xbox 360, sony blue ray player, and mac mini via the browser). We went with Boxee for obvious reasons.

In addition to Netflix, there are a few other streaming services for movies worth mentioning. Amazon Instant Video is a great service. They have over 5,000 movies and TV shows available for streaming. And if you are an Amazon Prime member (we are), you get Amazon Instant Video for free. Amazon needs to follow Netflix' lead and get Amazon Instant Video on as many devices as possible. It is not yet on the Boxee Box, for example. And I'm not sure how many blue ray players and game consoles it is on either. But I believe Amazon will be a strong player in this category.

And Vudu is another service to check out. Vudu is now owned by Wal-Mart so it certainly has the resources and distribution potential to compete in this market. I think Vudu has the best library of movies and certainly the largest library of HD content. Vudu is currently a pay per view model and I prefer an subscription model. I hope they move to subscription soon. Vudu is available in HD on the Boxee Box and we use it a lot in our home, particularly for movies that are not available yet on Netflix.

I've written a lot about the end of "file based music" and I believe we are moving rapidly now to that end game. Likewise, I think we will see the end of "file based video" in the not too distant future. One third of new Netflix subscribers are already there. I bet that number of 50% by year end.