Netflix took over our living rooms long ago, and they aren’t stopping there. The service, which initially began as a way to rent DVDs by mail has grown much larger than that. While we were never exactly fans of renting movies by mail, the introduction of Instant Streaming became a major selling point for those of us who were not fans of waiting for movies to come in the mail. Yes, combined with streaming, the disc rental service is a nice extra, but on its own, it just isn’t enough.
Streaming is where it’s at, so our only advice is this: Whatever plan you get, make sure that your plan has unlimited streaming. Only one plan doesn’t offer unlimited streaming, which is $4.99 for 2 rentals a month and 2 hours of streaming each month.
Currently, my household (Myself and my girlfriend in our mid-20s) does well with the $8.99 plan. We rarely bother with the DVD rentals, and at times forget we even have that option. It’s nice when the movie isn’t available for streaming (which will happen) but we find that streaming alone is worth the monthly fee.
1) Works on various devices
One of the best things about Netflix streaming is that it works with various devices. That goes for iOS machines such as the Apple TV, iPad, iPod Touch and the iPhone as well as the Wii, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. PC and Mac can also playback instant streams of movies and other set-top boxes and televisions with the service built in are becoming more popular amongst manufacturers.
Users can continue watching their movie from device to device. For instance, if you’re watching Eraserhead on your Xbox 360, you can stop the movie and head to bed and continue the movie on your iPad or iPhone. Most of the devices even allow for HD streaming (The Wii streams at 480p, standard def).
Here is a list of devices that Stream Netflix: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple TV 2G, Windows Phone 7 Devices, PC, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Roku Player, Google TV.
In addition, various Blu-Ray players and televisions also come Netflix-ready. Some include the following: TiVo HD DVR, Digeo Moxi DVR and Sony’s Bravia line of TVs. This is constantly changing as more devices come to the market.
One of our current favorites is the PlayStation 3. It offers Blu-Ray, DVD and gaming as well as the Netflix streaming in HD without the additional fee associated with the Xbox (Xbox users must pay for the Gold subscription, which is about $60 a year, to stream movies).
2) Affordable compared to regular video rentals or even a cable service
As mentioned above, our subscription costs slightly less than $10 a month. The most expensive plan runs you $23.99/month, and you can rent up to four DVDs at a time with an unlimited number of rentals each month. Compared to a regular cable subscription or renting videos from the video store, it’s a bargain. We stream several movies a month (note that our internet service has it’s own fee, but that’s something we subscribe to either way) and feel that the service is well worth the price of admission. It’s actually reduced our regular television viewing quite a bit.
3) No Obligation to your movies
Ever rented a movie only to realize it sucks? Happens to us all the time. We don’t feel the need to sit through an entire movie if it sucks. If that happens at your video rental store, you have already paid for your movie and you are stuck with two choices A) Watch the crappy movie B) Not watch it and feel like you’re out $5. Many times we have started a movie on instant and after about ten minutes decided that the movie isn’t worth watching, and we just close the movie and look for something else to watch.
4) Great for the Family
We introduced Netflix to our neighbors who happen to have a Wii. They also have kids, and they will often watch movies together as a family. They tell us that compared to going to the movies, which easily runs their family of five close to $100 at roughly $10 a ticket and an additional 5 to $10 a person for concessions. It’s just another option for those families.
5) Instant Queue
This is both evil and wonderful. Most who join Netflix will find themselves logging into Netflix from their iPhone or their work computer (just make sure to log off when you’re done, your information is in your profile!) and adding a handful of movies to their instant queue for home viewing. Unfortunately, many will also find themselves adding more movies than humanly possible for viewing. That’s what weekends are for.
Netflix has been a great service for as long as we have used it. It’s been down very few times, but they are usually on top of things. Furthermore, we are glad to say that they cut the Facebook integration from the service. It always led to funny comments when the significant other watches some movies and my Facebook status read that I am watching Hairspray or Maid in Manhattan. Otherwise, the service has been great. We just hope that they can work out deals with distributers that allow them to add streaming movies even closer to their DVD/Blu-Ray release date.