Here are basic questions and answers about Netflix's decision to split off its DVD-by-mail service and rename it Qwikster.
Question: Why is Netflix doing this?
Answer: The company sees the streaming service as its future, and it's what it wants to focus on. The DVD-by-mail service got Netflix into homes, but it's expensive to mail DVDs, and the potential for growth is limited.
In homes, the streaming service is making the jump from PCs to the living-room TV thanks to game consoles, DVD players and TVs that come with the ability to connect to the Internet.
Q: Will I have to go to two Web sites to manage my DVD queue and watch streaming videos?
A: Yes, there will be two sites — at Netflix.com and Qwikster.com, which will go live within a few weeks.
Q: Will Qwikster know my preferences based on how I've rated movies on Netflix, and vice versa?
A: No, the company says reviews and ratings made on one site won't show up on the other.
Q: Do I pay for the services separately?
A: Yes, there will be two entries on your credit card statements if you subscribe to both. You'll also need to keep payment information current on both sites.
Q: Will I need to sign up for the services separately?
A: If you get DVDs by mail now, Netflix will set you up with a Qwikster account by default.
Q: When do the changes go into effect?
A: They started taking effect this month for current subscribers, and everyone will be switched over by the end of the month. New customers started choosing from the new plans in July. Netflix says the change to the Qwikster brand will happen within the next few weeks.
Q: Will the two services cost more than before?
A: Yes. Netflix announced earlier this summer that it would be charging separately for the streaming and DVD options. The streaming will cost $8 a month, and the DVDs by mail will start at $8 for one DVD out at a time.
Q: Why are there fewer movies available for streaming than there are on DVD?
A: Netflix needs to buy the rights to stream the movies from studios. That's a new way of doing business, and it's taking the company time to secure the rights. If Netflix wants to rent out a DVD, it can just buy copies (but in practice, it buys popular movies through special volume deals with studios).