A Netflix Odyssey
This article got me to thinking about my own TV watching habits, particularly over the summer. Last summer I had subscriptions to Netflix, Blockbuster home DVD delivery, Blockbuster unlimited rentals, and Spiritual Cinema Circle. Now I will admit I quickly dropped Blockbuster's home DVD service because, honestly, it sucked out loud at the time (at least compared to Netflix) and Spiritual Cinema Circle only does 1 disc a month with about 2 hours of programming, but that was still a shit load (a technical term) of movies. I also dropped the unlimited rental because of the cost ($26/month with tax at the time, now $15 plus tax a month). I think they realized that it is near impossible to get your money's worth if you are a member of the Blockbuster Rewards program at $26/month.
As for the TV watching - I doubt we are going to see any kind of advertising free content without a fair amount of cost on our end, particularly with regard to DVD releases. I think DVD is merely a stepping stone anyways to full on demand programming, as implied in the article. The big issue is cost. Right now I can get a DVD of a TV series for anywhere from $36 (Charmed season 1 at KMart this weekend) to $100 (some of the later season of the X-Files). This allows me unlimited viewing. I could pay $24 and watch the whole series through Netflix once (or whatever the lowest priced Netflix subscription is for 2 months, the one where you get 4 movies a month). I remember hearing about the local cable company doing movies on demand for $5 a shot. No pause, get to watch it once. At the time you could rent a video for $3/night and watch it as many times as you wanted (which we did frequently since my brother worked night shift and would stay up and watch movies on his nights off).
I see the future of TV as more like podcasting. The show will be released at a given date/time and your computer or TiVo like device will download it vs. recording it in real time. There will be options for either paying X and getting no commercials or having to watch commercials but getting the show for free. Hopefully these commercials will be a little better directed though.