By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, can you explain what’s going on with Netflix? I heard blips on TV yesterday about passwords and DVDs going away. Please inform us at your site. — Heidi, Clinton, Mississippi.

Heidi, Netflix yesterday released its first quarter financial report which showed that the streaming service added 1.75 million subscribers globally during the time period, although it continued to struggle in the United States and Canada, adding just 100,000 there.

The streamer also made three announcements that will affect many, if not all, Netflix subscribers in the weeks and months to come. They are:

1. Fees For Password Sharing
Netflix said it will impose fees in the second quarter (sometime between April and June) on subscribers who share their passwords with friends or family members outside the home. The company did not say what the fees would be or how they would be arrived at. Netflix has been experimenting with different password fee methods in Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal.

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2. Netflix Is Finally Exiting the DVD By Mail Business
The company will abandon the business that put it on the map more than 25 years ago — DVDs by mail. On September 29, Netflix will ship its last disc. The company says the DVD (and Blu-ray) business is no longer viable, replaced by the streaming boom.

“Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members, but as the (DVD) business continues to shrink that’s going to become increasingly difficult,” Netflix said in a statement yesterday. “From the very beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered, including the variety and quality of our titles and the ability to binge watch entire series. DVD paved the way for streaming, ensuring that so much of what we started will continue long into the future.”

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3. Netflix Is Improving Video Quality For Ads-Included Subscribers
Netflix said it will increase the HD video quality for its $6.99 a month ads-included plan from 720p to 1080p. The upgrade could encourage more people to try the cheaper ads-included offering. The 1080p video will look much sharper and more vivid than 720p.

The company also said it would permit the $6.99 a month subs to stream on two different devices at the same time instead of one.

Heidi, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann