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Netflix to discontinue sales of used DVDs

Move to stop selling DVDs rented by subscribers comes as the company expands its subscription focus from DVDs rented by mail to include movies streamed over the Web.

Netflix plans to stop selling DVDs that were rented by subscribers, another step toward expanding its subscription focus from DVDs rented by mail to include movies streamed over the Web.

In a Netflix blog posting Monday, the company announced that it would discontinue sales of previously viewed DVDs on November 30:

Netflix art

As you know, our core business is delivering great movie rentals to you on DVD by mail and instantly to the computer and TV, so we've decided it makes sense for us to focus exclusively on that. This means we will stop selling previously viewed DVDs through the Web site. We're sorry for any inconvenience for those of you who regularly purchase DVDs at Netflix, but we're excited about being able to spend the extra time focusing on continually improving our core rental business for you.

Netflix announced on Friday that it had completed its first phase of beta testing of its new "Watch Instantly" movie-streaming player and was expanding access to include Macintosh-owning subscribers.

The company also said last week that it would be using Microsoft's Silverlight software to deliver streaming movies not only to PCs, but also to Intel-based Macs. The new Netflix player takes advantage of Play Ready DRM, which is built into Silverlight, for the playback of protected content on both Windows-based PCs and Macs. According to Netflix, this had not been possible with previous technologies.

Netflix isn't going to end its DVD rental program on November 30, so it's likely the company will sell its inventory of DVDs rented after that date to a third-party DVD dealer. While the move appears largely symbolic, it's a small step toward expanding the corporate--and public--focus from DVD rentals to movie streaming.

However, subscribers who offered feedback on the blog were overwhelming opposed to the move.

"I'm very disappointed," wrote one subscriber. "I use this service all the time and it's one of the main reasons I use Netflix. I'd hate to go back to Blockbuster..."