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Netflix separates DVD and instant catalogs, distancing the two services for users

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Netflix has changed its web interface, creating a greater separation between its DVD and streaming services. Users with a subscription to only one service can now only access the titles available to them.

Netflix genre recommendation
Netflix genre recommendation

Although Netflix has abandoned its plans to spin off its DVDs-by-mail service into the Qwikster brand, it seems that it's still intent on creating a divide between its video streaming and physical services. Users who only subscribe to one of Netflix's services (i.e. just DVDs or only streaming) are no longer able to access the full catalog, with their searches limited to the titles available to them. DVD-only users are now sent to a subdomain,

While in some ways this could be seen as a positive — the move should make it clearer which titles you can add to your queue — it also prevents users from rating other movies and so could weaken recommendations. It also results in some glaring gaps in the catalog: searching for a title not available to you will bring up a range of other unrelated movies and TV. If you subscribe to both services, you'll still be able to see the full range that Netflix offers in one place.

Netflix hasn't offered any comment on the split, though a Reddit thread highlighting the changes suggests that users are unhappy with the decision. It's difficult to see Netflix's motivation here: the Qwikster division was intended to offer greater brand clarity and allow each service to market itself separately. Instead, having different movies missing from a search depending on your subscription is only likely to cause confusion to the user.