After purchasing an internet connected Blu-Ray player (better known as a PS3) this past December, I decided I wanted to get the most from my purchase. I had already built a solid DVD library and wasn’t interested in building another one, so Netflix became the answer for me.
I signed up for Netflix a month after my purchase and logged into their website to browse it and begin building my queue of movies I wanted to rent, starting with some more recent releases. Netflix has a large catalog of available movies, and the older the movie they easier it is to rent from Netflix. The service does give preference to new members when they sign up, so I was able to get Zombieland fairly quickly, even though it had just come out that week on DVD and Blu-Ray. The discs do ship very quickly, usually within a day or so of them receiving the last movie you rented and all of the movies I have rented have appeared on my doorstep the day after they tell me it is shipping.
Once I had picked a few Blu-Ray discs for them to send me, I began perusing the Instant Netflix options. Netflix had a great library of on demand streaming of movies and tv shows I love and ones I have never seen. I was instantly able to start streaming as soon as I had signed up, which was great for me to be able to start watching things with my new Netflix account while waiting for my first disc to arrive. I was able to start watching movies like the documentary Nerdcore Rising, older seasons of Lost to review them while waiting for season 6 and shows I had never seen before, like Dead Like Me and the BBC Robin Hood series, which was a fun series I had missed on BBC America. It is great that the Netflix instant streaming allows me to not only watch them on a computer, but stream to my PS3, XBox 360, Tivo and soon my Wii, but they only way to get high definition quality to my HD tv was with the PS3 or XBox 360 (the streaming to a computer is not in HD quality).
Once my account was in full swing, the biggest problem I began to have with the service was getting more recent movies. Once I put movies like Whip It and A Serious Man on my queue, it would say “Long Wait” and skip them for older movies in my queue that were more accessible due to diminished demand. The deal Netflix made with Warner Bros to wait 30 days between release of the DVD/Blu-Ray and ability to start renting from Netflix only compounds this problem. If I had an interest in purchasing these movies, I would assuredly go to the store when it was released, but I don’t, so I am forced to wait a month because some strange corporate logic dictates that I would buy a movie that I have no interest in buying but still want to watch.
For me, the only feature missing from Netflix is the ability to stream to a mobile device. I have an app on my Droid phone called PhoneFlicks that allows me to manage my queue remotely, which is great for those times I am talking movies with friends and they recommend something I have not seen. I can flip out my phone and instantly add it to my DVD/Blu-Ray or streaming queue to watch later instead of forgetting when I got home. Unfortunately, there are times when I am in a position where I would watch something on my phone, and while I did a post about Droid apps to watch streaming video, Netflix was absent from it, to my chagrin.
A great bonus feature for me is the movie recommendations. As you watch and review movies on a scale of one to five, Netflix processes it and gives you movie recommendations based on what you tell it you like. This has gotten me to watch movies I’ve never seen but forgot I wanted to and something I make sure to check every time I log into the site to see what is recommended to add to my queues for future viewing.
I am a media consumer. I often have something on my tv while I work at my computer, and I am able to absorb it while I work. At the rate of consumption and shipping, I am able to get about one disc per week from Netflix. If that were the case, I would probably use a more localized service like Red Box, but the instant streaming fills those gaps between discs. Viewing a tv show by renting each individual disc would be intolerable to watch a couple episodes then wait a week for the next disc until I get through the entire season. Alternatively, instant streaming is allowing me to run through all eight seasons of Red Dwarf as I work into the night.
I may be a recent convert to the Netflix way, but within a month they have turned me into a devotee. I anticipate that red envelope in my mailbox the day after I get the email saying I am getting a movie in the mail and watch all kinds of movies and television programs I did not have the opportunity to watch previously or want to rewatch out of love for that cinematic experience.