A few years ago my wife complained about our cable bill.
“This is a ridiculous amount to pay every month” she said.
We had a premium cable channel on our plan but we weren’t even watching most of the movies or shows it provided. And the movies it did show played over and over without much variety.
I thought about it and it was ridiculous.
So what to do?
We wanted to be able to watch recent movies without having to pay per movie or leave the house to pick something up.
We heard about Netflix from a number of our friends and they all swore it was the best thing since sliced bread (was life so hard before slice bread?). We were intrigued. Here’s our Netflix review…
What is Netflix?
Netflix is an online company that allows you to rent movies and TV shows for a flat monthly fee.
There are basically two ways to get your content – via DVD or to stream it online.
If you go the DVD route, you create a queue of DVD’s you’d like to receive. As the selection comes up Netflix mails out the DVD to you to watch. You can hold the DVD for as long as you want without late fees. (If you’re like me it can take a week to watch a good movie, what with work and kids.)
When you’re done with the DVD you put it back into the envelope you got it in which you can seal and mail back to Netflix at no charge. Just drop it in a mailbox. Then your next selection gets sent out (this depends on how many DVD’s you have on you plan).
With streaming content, you have some options on how you want to watch.
Netflix will stream though: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, many internet connected Blu-Ray players, many internet connected HD TVs, though smart phones and tablets, TV devices like Roku or AppleTV, as well as being able to watch on your computer.
Yeah, there’s a few ways to watch!
We have out Netflix set up via wifi through our Wii (truth is, we use our Wii mostly for Netflix these days!). I’ve also watched content through my computer as well. That came in real handy for an English project I had in a class that compared written plays with movies based on them.
The Difference Between Streaming and DVDs
It should be noted that the content on the DVD plan is not the same as the content you get streaming.
With DVDs you have access to a lot more recent content like the latest movies that are out.
With streaming, there is a LOT of content, but not as many recent movies like you would have with the DVD option.
On the other hand, with streaming, you get your shows and movies NOW. And there is a lot you can watch. You can find entire runs of some TV shows.
There’s also no limit to what you can watch. If you want to veg out all day and watch a TV series you can (not that I’d suggest that, just sayin’). With the DVD option you are limited to what DVDs you have out, then yo have to wait until the next one.
We’ve found the streaming option is great if you have kids. There are tons of children’s programming and movies on Netflix for kids of all ages (our youngest loves watching Caillou).
When we originally signed up we had the two DVD plan. The streaming plan was still new and we didn’t have a player to stream it to anyway (except the computer). But since we got a Wii we found that we were watching far more via streaming than on DVD. That and the fact that Netflix raised the price for the streaming plan led us to drop the DVD plan and keep streaming.
The unlimited, one DVD plan is also $7.99. With this plan, you have unlimited access to their DVD selection. With these you can watch as many movies as you want a month (limited only by how fast you watch them and return them).
It seems like Netflix is moving toward the streaming model rather than the DVD model. Though you have access to more recent movies with the DVD plan, I think this will change and you will see more on the streaming plan. This is speculation on my part, but it makes sense. DVDs cost to buy and mail out and streaming is probably far cheaper. In order to compete with other providers, like cable, Netflix will have to get more content on its streaming plan.
What we like about Netflix:
- We pick what we want to see. No more hoping there’s something we want to watch on cable or making sure we catch it in time. With Netflix we pick what movies and TV shows we want.
- TV Shows. Ever hear about a great TV show from friends but it’s already halfway through the season? Or for whatever reason you just can’t watch the show that day? We wait until the show comes out on Netflix and then watch the show straight through the season. We don’t have to watch commercials and we can keep up with the storyline better since we’re watching the episodes consecutively rather than waiting sometimes a couple of weeks on TV for the next episode to come out.
- Price. The streaming, and DVD plan, are far less than what you usually have to pay for a premium cable channel and it’s far cheaper than having to pay per movie.
- Convenience. We turn on our Wii, click Netflix, and pick what we want to watch. We keep track of what we want to see on our queue. If we don’t know the name of a movie we can look up keywords and find what it is we were looking for. Truth is we’re seeing movies and shows we wouldn’t have seen without Netflix!
- It Streams to Our TV (or convenience part II). We got a Wii as a gift. I thought the games would be fun but so far the best thing about the Wii is that we can stream Netflix movies through it direct to our TV! There are so many kid’s movies to watch. We’re loving the instant streaming option. This also includes movies and content from the Starz channel.
We have been very happy with Netflix over the years!
Honestly, there have been so many movies and shows I either forgot about or didn’t know existed that I found on Netflix (for example, I love watching the old Spider Man cartoons with my son – you know, the one with the classic theme song).
If you aren’t sure what plan to try or if you don’t know if you will like it that’s OK. Netflix is offering a 1-month free trial. If you like it then you get charged after your month is up (you need to connect a credit card). If you don’t like it then you can cancel at any time.
If you are looking for an alternative to cable TV or you’re simply looking for a place to watch movies and TV shows, then give the Netflix free trial a shot and see how you like it.