NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Netflix ( NFLX) is making it harder for subscribers to order DVDs by mail. On Monday, the movie rental company posted this announcement on its blog : "We're removing the 'Add to DVD Queue' option from streaming devices. We're doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly. Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality. This change does not impact the Netflix Web site, where most members manage their DVD Queues."
The move prompted back lash from subscribers, with nearly 400 comments on the blog, most criticizing Netflix's decision as a step backwards. Subscribers will now be forced to start up their computers (rather than make changes to their DVD lineup via iPhone or iPad) in order to add DVDs to their by-mail queue if the movie is not available to watch instantly. As most consumers turn to their mobile phones and tablet devices for their daily activities, removing functionality from these channels is like hitting the rewind button. The most logical time to add a disc to an active queue is when the user finds out it is not offered for streaming. And for most, this occurs when they are away from their computers. "This is a culture of cross-over device usage and you are relegating customers to a one-at-a-time experience. Not a very good step forward and ability to keep yourself current if you restrict and step-back usability," one subscriber commented. This appears to be another attempt by Netflix to ease out of its by-mail business. Following its third-quarter earnings report, CEO Reed Hastings made it quite clear the direction the company is heading. "By every measure we are now a streaming company, which also offers DVD-by-mail," he said during a call with analysts.