This is old news for most, but new for me thanks to the reminder email I just received that my "Xbox Live Gold" membership subscription will be expiring next month. This is something that I’ve had for 2 or 3 years now in order to watch Netflix from the Xbox, and I’ve hated it the whole time: shitty performance, wonky connections, and annoying forced updates. It was pretty routine for a typical viewing session to be interrupted, often multiple times, with invasive alerts advising me "You have been disconnected from Xbox Live" and requiring me to reconnect and restart Netflix. Yes, my router is correctly configured. No, the problem is not with Netflix.
I recently got an Amazon TV Fire Stick which has none of these issues, and doesn’t require me to pay for a crappy membership to something I don’t actually want. So I wasn’t going to renew the Xbox Live membership anyway, but I did a quick search and found that Microsoft has changed its tune since last time I renewed:
Microsoft has always locked Xbox owners into its Xbox Live Gold subscription service to access streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, but that’s finally changed.
This is a big move for Microsoft. Other streaming media competitors like Sony, Apple and Roku have never charged extra in exchange for access to apps like Netflix and Hulu.