I've had months that I would have frozen my account (Just FYI, you have the option to suspend your account for a period of time, whereby you don't get service and don't get charged, without having to go through the hassle of signing up/cancelling service, fwiw) if it didn't have the ability to stream. So I wouldn't say the streaming feature is free. That said, I don't think I would pay $8 a month *just* for streaming either.
As such, I view the current setup (1 BR plus streaming) for whatever it costs ($11, $13?) as an ideal combination.
No, the streaming selection doesn't have all the right combination of movies/shows to be a disc replacement, but at the same time, I never seem to run out of things to add to my On Demand queue.