Given the entertainment industry's allergy to all things easy, cheap, and convenient, you probably figured this was coming eventually: Netflix signed an agreement with Warner Bros. yesterday under which subscribers will have to wait 28 days after the release of the studio's movies to rent them. Adorably, WB thinks this will help them sell more DVDs and Blu-rays (though, for now, Blockbuster, Redbox, and other rental chains will still stock movies the day they come out). This means, for example, that Ricky Gervais's Invention of Lying, scheduled to arrive in stores on January 19, will be unavailable to Netflix subscribers until February 16.
In return for being forced to inconvenience their money-paying subscribers so, Netflix will get a cheaper deal on WB discs and be able to offer more of the studio's movies over its Stream Instantly service, which we suppose will be nice. Also, should customers manage to survive those 28 days without their movie, Netflix claims it will mail it to them immediately after they've placed it in their queue (i.e., the extra month and WB's discount will let them order movies in greater quantities, so no more "short wait" for you). Still, though, this is mostly lame. Also, because Hollywood hates you, similar deals with other studios are expected soon.