NetFlix: Is it worth the price?

NetFlixLogoI have always been the type of person to forget things. I’ve forgotten dentist appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, putting the tooth fairy money under my kids pillow and worst of all, to return videos to the video store.

Fortunately, there aren’t any more video stores close enough for me to join so I’ve been saving a lot on those late rental fees. I’ve tried the little red kiosk at the supermarket for the $1/day rental and while idea was good, I still ended up paying more to watch the movie than the cost to buy it at the Walmart since, like I said I fail to return things on time.

In today’s digital age, we can watch movies from many sources.

Hardly anyone goes to the video store anymore. I have cable, so Comcast’s On-Demand service is one of my in home options. It’s convenient. You use your remote to pick a movie for the kids or to have something to watch with your wife after the kids have gone to bed. We also have a billion cable channels but there’s never anything on during the time you have to watch TV. That’s one big reason we have the DVR. It’s the new version of the VCR. We select the shows we want to watch that aren’t on yet and hit the record button. The next day it’s there without fail. I can even set it up to record shows like “House” whenever it’s on and whatever channel it’s on, repeats or new episodes.

There’s many internet based services like where you can purchase movies for just $0.99 each and you own it. There are two problems with services like ZML. First off, you have to download the movie. The movies are huge – like 4gb each so it takes along time to download it and then worry about where to store it. Secondly, you then have to have a way to get it on your TV. In most cases, you can burn it to a DVD. The time it takes to download and then burn the DVD is ridiculous even with the incredible of internet connections and busiest of DVD burners. Plus nobody else in my house has enough tech savvy to do this so I am left being the family disk jockey.

So the answer I thought, was to join NetFlix.

NetFlix seemed like the answer to all the issues I ever had with renting. I hated wasting time going to the video store only to find that the last copy of the movie I wanted just got checked out. It’s always the guy right in front of me in line who has the title I wanted.

With NetFlix, the process is different. I log on to my account online. I select videos and put them into a queue for them to mail them to me. Every time I return one DVD they send me the next one. I never have time to watch more than one movie a week so that part works fine for me.

In addition to that, many movies are available for instant watching. Either on your PC or by way of my XBox 360. In fact the reason I joined NetFlix was to have the ability to get movies over the internet via the XBox 360. Microsoft recently joined forces with NetFlix to have this feature. So I renewed my XBox Live subscription ($50/year) and joined NetFlix ($9/month). A win/win situation for both Microsoft and NetFlix. For about $12 a month I enjoy all the movie & TV show DVDs & streams I can watch and the kids can once again play XBox 360 with their friends online. Not a bad deal all around I guess.

If I have to gripe about NetFlix, it would be that the instant movies, that is the ones that are available for streaming to your XBox and PC, are very limited compared to the ones you can get on DVD. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to which are available either. Some would think that all the new movies from a certain time would be available to stream or maybe you’d think that they’d surely had enough time to digitize a classic thriller like Brainstorm (1983) to be available to stream.

Who knows what awesome TV viewing technology is coming out next. For now though, I am content with NetFlix. It offers decent options at an affordable price.

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