Netflix Changes Pricing and Plans

Well, has it been an eventful week or what?

In addition to being a Virgin Mobile customer and getting the news of an eventual price increase on monthly Beyond Talk plans, I’m also a Netflix customer and wasn’t all that happy to see this nifty e-mail in my wife’s inbox:


Yup. If we want to continue with our current plan of streaming and one disc, the monthly fee doubles to $15.98 per month. So until the new pricing plan and structure go into effect, we’ll stay with our current plan and see as many movies on DVD as we can but eventually switch to the streaming-only service.

In all honesty, I’m not a really big movie watcher and rarely (if ever) see first-run movies. The wife and kid are bigger moviegoers than I since I’m working most of the time and it gives them something to do, especially during the summer. So by the time a movie gets to Netflix on disc, chances are I won’t even bother to go through the hassle of putting it in my queue and turning on the Wii to watch it. We do, however, use Netflix for their streaming content which includes the entire The Twilight Zone series. Yeah, I stayed up late one night and watched them until I puked. Oh, and every James Bond movie is there, too. Not too shabby.

All in all, this change won’t affect us too much since, well, 90% of the time when we get a disc, it sits around – usually MIA on the kitchen table – until we decide to watch it which in some cases is never. As such, chances are we will stick to streaming-only should we decide to stay customers.

But besides the shows and movies I’ve mentioned, there’s only so many times you can watch lame ‘80s movies or foreign artsy-fartsy flicks, which makes me wonder if it will be something worth keeping.

If you’re looking for alternatives to Netflix, check out this post by Russ of Fat 2 Fit podcast fame. He’s compiled a pretty good list of ideas for consumers wanting to tell Netflix to get lost.

Yeesh, what else will go up in price this week?

Virgin Mobile Increases, Decreases Plan Pricing (Update: Grandfathering Official!)

UPDATED 7/15/11: Scroll to bottom of post for details.

Courtesy Tech Crunch

I woke up to some not-so-happy news today.

Last week, Tech Crunch reported that Virgin Mobile would be increasing the cost on two of their Beyond Talk plans as much as $10 per line, which means that they will be bumped to the following:

  • 300 minutes: $25 to $35
  • 1200 minutes: $35 to $40

The good news only goes to users on the Unlimited or BlackBerry plans, who will see their bills drop slightly:

  • Unlimited: $60 dropped to $55
  • BlackBerry plans get their $10 add-on fee dropped

Fierce Wireless goes on the record as saying the increases will happen this week.

Naturally, the news will not set will with subscribers seeing the increase unless, of course, Virgin Mobile lets current subscribers keep their current plan. I’m hoping that’s the case because a 40% increase to my cell phone bill for which I hardly use minutes seems outrageous. $35 for 300 minutes is just $5 short of Metro PCS’s Unlimited Everything plan.

I’m still searching for an official word on being grandfathered to my plan but noting concrete yet. A friend of mine has been grandfathered into his current plan for years so I suppose there is hope. There is no official word from Virgin Mobile about grandfathering.

But all in all, I’m not entirely surprised by the increase. With phone and data plans reaching ridiculous levels, I’m sure Virgin Mobile is seeing an increase in customers as well so that might be a strain on Sprint’s resources and it’s safe to say that there are those that tether their phones and abuse their $25 plans beyond belief.

Any advice? If I knew for sure these were happening this week, I’d get in on their current pricing just in case grandfathering happens. So if you were waiting for that new Motorola TRIUMPH in the hopes of paying $25/mo., it might cost you a bit more now by having to buy and live with a cheap Virgin Mobile feature phone today, keep the $25 plan, then buying the TRIUMPH. At least I think that’s how it would work.

And if you think about it, it’s a really stingy money grab for Virgin Mobile with TRIUMPH coming out on July 19. If, and this is not official yet, you join before July 19th, you will be an established customer and not subject to the rate increase. So essentially, you will buy and be stuck with a cheap phone that nobody will want should you decide to sell it once you get the TRIUMPH. Either way it’s a sneaky way for VM to get rid of their existing inventory of low-end phones and get new subscribers.

If you are not a customer and wait for the TRIUMPH, which is apparently already a hot item with Best Buy taking pre-orders, then you will be paying the purported new plan rates.

I have e-mailed Virgin Mobile regarding the increase and will post the reply when I get it. Also, updates will be posted as they happen.

UPDATED 7/15/11: Just got the official word that existing customers will remain at their current rate unless they change plans. Rate changes begin 7/20/11 so if you want a TRIUMPH with a $25/mo. plan, better hop to it.

As of July 20th, 2011, new Virgin Mobile customers will be activated on the new plans while existing Beyond Talk customers will be able to stay on their current plans. If you are already enrolled in a Beyond Talk Plan your monthly fee will not change unless you decide to change plans.

See the e-mail here.

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 13: A Song That is A Guilty Pleasure

Of all the posts, I think I had the most trouble with this one. Maybe.

We all have them and some are more embarrassing than others. As for mine, well, I’ll let you be the judge – and don’t judge to harshly, okay?

Survivor – “I Can’t Hold Back” (1984)

You can say whatever you want, peeps, but this song rocks me to no end. It’s the typical ‘80s rock ballad and I’m pretty much okay with that.

And hey, you know what? I still have my cassette and CD copies of Vital Signs, an album which also has “High On You”, “The Search Is Over” and one of my favorites, an album track called “First Night” which ended up on my Soundtrack to an Imaginary Movie compilation.

Cheesy? Possibly, but I don’t care. I still listen to it.

Honorable Mention

Here’s why I had the trouble deciding on which one to go with or, in this case, which was more embarrassing.

Olivia Newton-John – “Xanadu”

Come on, it’s really ELO with Olivia Newton-John! Who are you to deny the musical brilliance that is Jeff Lynne and Company?.

Olivia Newton-John – “Magic”

Also featured in the movie Xanadu. It was covered by a band called Stimulator and featured in a Macy’s commercial.

Steve Perry – “Oh Sherrie”

Gotta admit that the video’s a little amusing. And hey, look another Steve Perry reference for people to go nuts over!

George Michael — “A Different Corner”

Discovered this one when Ann and I saw him live a few years ago and have been digging it since.

Oh, there are more but…I think I’ve gone on long enough with this one.

Wait, one more: the theme to Fireball XL5 as seen in the movie Love, Honour and Obey. The theme is campy and kills me each time I hear it but after seeing this version, I kind of enjoy it even more. But I swear I laughed so hard and almost pissed my pants when I first saw this clip.

Okay, so…now I’ll go hide in the corner…