Netflix, what are you?

Jason Gilbert
Yahoo! News
Netflix what is streaming
Netflix's Matt Marenghi explains video streaming in a new YouTube video.

by Jason Gilbert | @YahooTech

Netflix is going back to the basics. The very basics.

On Thursday afternoon Netflix released a video entitled "Netflix Quick Guide: What Is Streaming And Why Is It Better?" which essentially answers those question in very simple language for non-geeks. Though Netflix began as a DVD delivery service, it has since pivoted to a streaming-first company, offering a mixture of movies and television shows on-demand on its website for a monthly fee.

As Netflix has switched its priorities, so too have customers, with streaming subscribers far outnumbering home delivery customers. Apparently, Netflix feels the need to clear any confusion about what Netflix's streaming catalogue (nee Netflix Instant) can offer. Hence this video.

Video streaming -- what it is, where it's available, how it works in general terms -- is a basic concept that Netflix clearly feels is important to explain to some portion of its audience, who either haven't yet made the switch from discs, or who are confused by what actually happens with the movies on

This is apparently the first in what will be a continued series of service-y, explanatory videos from Netflix, which will address, in video form, many of the stumbling blocks that some late adopters have when considering signing up for a streaming-first service.

"We're doing the series to give answers to frequently asked questions about Netflix in a very accessible and friendly way," a Netflix spokesman said via email.

That this is the first in the series makes sense not only logically -- it does address the elemental building block of the service, after all -- but it also speaks to a fundamental transformation that Netflix execs have been trying to explain in both the media and in letters to shareholders for some time: that the days of Netflix being thought of as the "red envelope company" are behind, as it shifts to streaming.

So! If you're curious about just what it is this whole "streaming" thing is all about, let the good people from Netflix clue you in. You can watch the video below, and stay tuned for more: