Remember Getting DVDs in the Mail? A Brief History of Netflix

Netflix has come a long way since its inception. In fact, the sweeping on-demand video service and "Netflix Original" content creator we now all know and love had relatively humble beginnings in Scotts Valley, California, where it was dreamt up and founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1997.

It All Started When...

The story about a Blockbuster late fee that led to Netflix's beginning is a myth. Here's how things really went down.

A $2.5 million initial investment (some of which came from Randolph's mother) jumpstarted what Netflix's founders hoped would be the media equivalent of Amazon. VHS tapes were rejected on the grounds that they were too expensive to stock and ship, but DVDs weren't widely available in 1997, and investing heavily in their distribution was risky. Still, Randolph and Hastings believed, and boy did it pay off.

With a business model based around DVD sales and rentals, Netflix only started introducing streaming services in 2007 after an impatient audience inevitably started to question the practicality of having to actually wait for a DVD to arrive in the mail. The switch to streaming media proved to be a hit, and Netflix began to expand internationally around 2010.

The Risk

Netflix's bold and risky investment in creating original content that ultimately led to it becoming a household name. "House of Cards," the blockbuster political drama series with a whopping 33 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, debuted in 2013, and the rest is history. Now, a handful of the world's most famous and beloved shows — including "Orange Is the New Black," "Bloodline," "Stranger Things, and "Master of None" — call Netflix home.

Netflix has done more than simply spell the end of major video chains such as Blockbuster — it's also become part of our culture. We don't just "watch TV." We now "Netflix and chill."

A Cultural Phenomenon

While Netflix dominates the home entertainment option, things get dicey when you travel. A slew of obnoxious geo-restrictions and governmental fine-print often leaves Netflix addicts in the lurch they travel overseas. And even in foreign countries where Netflix is technically allowed, it can be slow and spotty due to local servers that aren't used to catering to that level of bandwidth on a regular basis.

And it's not just Netflix users who suffer at the hands of these restrictions and limitations. The same restraints that lead to a Netflix-free vacation or business trip often affect other streaming services such as Hulu, HBO GO, Showtime, and more.

Want More?

This is where services like Getflix become invaluable. Rather than bypassing geo-restrictions and pesky government sensors using a VPN (which routes all of your Internet traffic through a different server and often inhibits browsing speed), Getflix only routes the traffic you need at the moment—giving you super-fast and unfettered access to your favorite streaming services. Getflix unblocks more than 100 streaming channels around the world so you can watch movies, TV, sports, and more wherever life may take you. A lifetime subscription is on sale for just $35 — over 95% off its regular price — for a limited time.

This is where we are as a global, wired society: sacrificing our favorite shows every time we travel is a nonstarter. That's how hooked we are on Netflix as a society — and how far Netflix has come as a company. From a pesky fly in Blockbuster's corner to a cultural phenomenon as essential as the oxygen we breathe.

Written by Curiosity Staff September 15, 2017

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