There is doubly bad news for Netflix fans, as CEO Reed Hastings has talked down the prospect of original virtual-reality content hitting the phenomenally streaming platform. The company has also announced plans to raise the monthly cost of its 'legacy' service for long-standing subscribers.
UK subscribers still paying £5.99 a month for the standard package, complete with HD streaming (1080p) on up to two screens at a time, will be 'ungrandfathered' and see a rise to £7.49 to match the cost for a brand new customer. The Basic package, which streams video content in standard definition (restricted to a single screen) is still available for customers unwilling to accept the £1.50 increase. A Netflix spokesperson told Wired:
"Later this month, members in the UK will begin to be ungrandfathered. Beginning May, the price update is rolling out elsewhere based on member billing periods. Impacted members will be clearly notified by email and within the service, so that they have time to decide which plan/price point works best for them."
All other subscription prices will remain the same. With almost a quarter of UK households paying for a Netflix subscription, and surveys suggesting that younger audiences are inclined to go without traditional TV platforms in favour of streaming services – it would be surprising if the price increase leaves any dent in Netflix's sizeable user-base.
Netflix VR looking very unlikely
While Netflix is a major influencer in the development of 4K content it appears it has no plans, as yet, to bring the latest format of virtual reality to our eyeballs. Samsung Gear VR owners can already treat themselves to a virtual living room experience via a bespoke app, but Hastings muted response when asked about the possibility of VR-specific productions spoke volumes.
"We're really focused on movies and TV shows and doing more of those, which you can watch in a virtual reality headset if you want to," Hastings told Mashable France while promoting the company's debut French show, Marseille. "We think most people will watch Netflix on a smartphone or a smart TV."
The comments are particularly surprising considering the company's history with pioneering film and TV tech. The once mail-based DVD distribution service has firmly established itself as a global leader in the world of video streaming, with many critics and fans praising the company for its early adoption of such technology.
Netflix-exclusive TV content –such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black - has raised the platform's profile significantly. However, Hastings's statements will surely disappoint those hoping to see the Devil of Hell's Kitchen bashing bad guys about in a VR edition of the beautifully-choreographed Netflix and Marvel/Disney collaboration Daredevil.