Movie watchers everywhere let out a gasp when Netflix announced last week that they’d be upping the price for their services starting this coming September — they reportedly had to bring on additional help to answer the phone calls pouring in from angry subscribers. Although a price hike never has a welcome impact on our wallets, as GOOD points out it could be greeted with a warm welcome from the Earth. The price hike means that unlimited streaming and unlimited DVD’s in the mail will each be $7.99 per month starting September 1st – and according to research done last year by University of Massachusetts, Amherst, streaming uses 78% less energy than shipping.
Unlike previously, you won’t get unlimited streaming automatically with your DVD shipments – so unlimited DVD’s and unlimited streaming together will come at a cost of $15.98 a month ($7.99 plus $7.99). That equals a six-dollar price hike from before. It turns out that Netflix is already more earth-friendly than driving to the store to pick up a DVD in your car — it’s a different story on foot or by bike.
If we all banded together we could reduce our total DVD watching carbon emissions with a couple of changes. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst study pointed out that streaming could use 1/3 less energy and just 65% of the carbon that shipping does if servers in the Netflix network — and other streaming sites — were updated with the latest energy efficient technology. They also found that watching videos is by far the most energy-consuming piece of the equation – when you slip that DVD into a player and turn on your TV or open your laptop to stream online you’re using three to five times as much energy as it took to get that image to your doorstep — or internet connection. On the other hand, streaming videos on your laptop beats out a plasma screen TV by a boatload of energy.