TV So, I signed up to Netflix, just for fun. Just 'cause it seemed like if I didn't, I would die, or something ... even though My So-Called Life isn't on there. Yet. I had originally promised myself that it would be my treat for completing the big anniversary Who watch, but because of this and that I decided that time was too precious and began a free trial. As seems to be the way of things, here's a list of thoughts with numbers because I can't really think of way of putting them into anything that could in all honestly be called an essay, review or piece of writing which flows properly.
(1) My main experience has been through the app on my Sony BD player, which is probably the reason I signed up too. Since we subscribed to home broadband, I've been using the Lovefilm app just above it and everytime I've passed by as I clicked through the menu items, something inside of me as been saying come on, come on. So I reduced by Lovefilm package to £9.99 so that I'd be paying the same anyway. Netflix is £5.99 a month.
(2) Initial reaction is very good. Spent that evening watching Shane Carruth's film Primer and marvelling, just as I have with the Lovefilm streaming thingy at the ability to press and button and watch a film on a television without having to put a shiny disc or large plastic box into something first. Perhaps it's my age but this still seems like magic to me. The internet in general still seems like magic to me.
(3) What I hadn't expected was the amount of duplication there is between the two services, though it is true as I'd heard beforehand, that Lovefilm has vastly more films, and Netflix has a mass of television. The former has loads more back catalogue film wise though it's also fair to say the quality of the transfers is variable.
(4) One oddity. I have a connection with a top speed of about 6mb which on Lovefilm translates to something which looks like dvd quality. On Netflix, after a bit, the image storms up to HD quality, in 1080p or i, which in the case of something like Torchwood is blu-ray quality which means...
(4) I can see even more clearly now why hard formats and broadcast television are in decline. Despite having all of Torchwood on dvd, I watched them through the Netflix app instead. In the latter stages of (as I've been calling it on Twitter) #whowatchorbust, I've barely had to use a dvd. Hmm.
(5) It's worth noting that actually most of it is back catalogue and the selection isn't massive, around three thousand titles, so the experience is rather like visiting a Blockbuster about six months to a year in the past, so it's still worth keeping the dvds-by-post option. I'm patient but ...
(6) Yes, I know there's some kind of IP shenanigans which would let me look at the Netflix database in the US, but its against the T&Cs, it's early days and I don't want to get banned off just yet, if such a thing is possible. Plus its not like I'm desperate for things to watch anyway.
(7) Keeping track of new uploads and what's on Netflix is easier than Lovefilm thanks to their much more open API. I've found this site which updates several times a day with new additions to the database and puts everything on there in alphabetical order and by date, neither of which are available on the Netflix site proper.
(8) There's quite a lot of Bollywood and stand-up comedy.
(9) The preferences and genre interest sections are frankly bizarre and not very useful if you're someone who's not that fussed about genres and the like. There's a taste section which has a page about "cultures" which simply lists "Gay & Lesbian" and "Jewish" which makes me uncomfortable and must clearly being using taste in the ironic sense.
(10) The classic Doctor Who pages are poorly curated, with the last three Dalek stories included and listed as being entire seasons and untitled with Genesis also added but put in season 26. The TV movie is there too though with a big picture of McGann, so I'll forgive them anything else.