In one of the episodes of The Office U.S that was aired in 2007 there is a word usage I don't understand.

One of the employees, a lady who works at the receptions says: "Michael(the boss of the office) just rented "The Devil Wears Prada" he has his Netflix sent to the office and watches them when things are slow."

I know that Netflix are just movies in the service Netflix but I don't understand how he has them sent to the office. I would understand if he had Netflix installed in the office. I understand that this is an episode from 2007 and maybe things have changed as to how Netflix provides its content from back then but I'm afraid that if they didn't I might not know the usage of send in this context.

The Free Dictionary has 2 definitions that I think might be applicable here:

  1. (Broadcasting) to transmit (a message) by radio, esp in the form of pulses

  2. send - broadcast over the airwaves, as in radio or television

Does it mean that he has the episodes broadcasted to the office?

  • 3
    Netflix started as a rental service that used to send physical DVDs to its customers.
    – Katy
    Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 0:23
  • 2
    This isn't really an English usage question, it's a history of Netflix question. When Netflix first launched, it would send DVDs directly to your home by mail. They didn't launch a streaming service until 2007, and even then that was a separate paid service that most people didn't use. They didn't offer standalone streaming until 2010. I now feel old that I remember all this. Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


This is answered by looking at the history of Netflix. In 2007, the New York Times published an article saying:

The impending death of [Netflix], with its online system for renting DVDs delivered by mail, was predicted late in 2002, when Wal-Mart said it would enter the business; again last year, when Apple and Amazon announced movie-downloading services; and again last week, after the introduction of a series of products and services intended to bring Internet video to television sets.
Netflix is introducing a service to deliver movies and television shows directly to users’ PCs, not as downloads but as streaming video, which is not retained in computer memory. The service, which is free to Netflix subscribers, is meant to give the company a toehold in the embryonic world of Internet movie distribution.

When the episode of the Office aired, "Netflix" would have been understood as DVDs delivered via the mail.

  • Yeah, I guess it turned out it wasn't really a language question after all. Although I did find a definition for "send" which means "broadcast" so maybe someone found it useful. Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 15:31

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