Netflix chief Reed Hastings may repeatedly maintain that streaming is the wave of the future and do all that he can to convert his old DVD-by-mail subscribers to streaming subscribers, but it is the mail business that continues to support the company. On Friday, Netflix announced that new subscribers would be able to sign up for one of Netflix's DVD-only plans directly, instead of having to sign up first for the streaming service, then convert it to the DVD service before being allowed to begin renting movies. The news No Doubt came as a relief to Netflix's customer-relations staff who frequently received calls from potential customers about how to subscribe and use the service. "We had to walk people through the process ... this makes it a lot easier," a customer service rep told today's (Monday) New York Times.