Watching Movies


I joined Netflix yesterday. Yeah, I know it seems lame to be excited about something that has been around for a long time now, but it doesn’t take much to excite me. Why did it take me so long to try it? Well, I’ve been a DirecTV subscriber for eons. Over the years, with price hikes, etc, my monthly bill has climbed to over $100. Of course the main culprit is that I get all the premium movie channels. I wouldn’t really mind paying that price if I was able to watch enough movies and shows to get my money’s worth. The problem is that for a long while now, it seems like there are never any good movies on. So I’ve decided to do an experiment…

I joined Netflix with their entry level membership. This costs $4.99 per month, which gets you 2 movies during the month, 1 at a time. You actually get a 2 week free trial to start out… If this works out, I’ll probably upgrade to the next level which is $9.99 per month for unlimited movies 1 at time.

I signed up late yesterday afternoon and I’m supposed to get my first movie tomorrow. That’s less than 2 days. Wow. Fast!

So, how many of you use Netflix or similar services instead of paying for premium channels via cable or satellite, or local rental stores?

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • William Kuch February 9, 2007, 5:20 pm

    I use Peerflix, which is a trading service. It costs $0.99 plus postage to trade a DVD. The nice feature is that you own the DVD’s after the trade.


  • Larry February 9, 2007, 6:15 pm

    We use Blockbuster’s online plan.

    Basically the TV commercials say it all. If you have a Blockbuster near you I think it’s just a better deal.

    Blockbuster allows you to take the movies you receive in the mail and exchange them at their stores for another movie free of charge. They then automatically send the next movie in your queue. So in essence you’re able to get twice the amount of movies in your plan each month.

    We don’t always exchange them in store. You’re free to simply mail them back as well. In that case you can print out a coupon online which you can then bring to the store for a free rental.

  • Julie February 9, 2007, 7:47 pm

    I thought about Blockbuster too, but I’d have to go out of my way to actually go into the store. If we happen to ever get one on my side of town, I would probably consider switching.

  • B. J. Swanson February 9, 2007, 9:23 pm

    We’ve also had DirecTV for years and used to enjoy the Pay-per-View movies. But the movie offerings have gotten pretty sparse and bad and we’re not into extreme fighting, wrestling, etc. We received Netflix for Christmas and really like it. Just must remember to keep the que full and the movies keep coming. Delivery time is amazing and dependable. Now if only HBO could make Sopranos and Big Love more consistent instead of 1-2 year gaps between seasons.

  • Smitty February 9, 2007, 10:55 pm

    I have never had cable. While in college and grad school, I never had a TV (or the time!) for it. I know that if I did, I would never leave the house, not because of movies, but Discovery, History Channel, and National Geographic. We were given a small black & white when our first child came along, which helped with those late-night feedings, but limited input to broadcast (usually four stations). I spent a bonus a dozen years ago or so on a nicer set, and my girls (now in college and high school) and their mom got me a DVD player a few Christmases back. That meant we didn’t have to schlep one of the laptops down and plug it in to watch DVDs.

    Soon after (about 5 years ago now) I took the plunge to try NetFlix for their trial. Back then, they only had one plan: 3 at a time for $15 (I think) a month. Since this includes no late fees, no postage costs, and you can return the movies to any post office box, it’s perfect.

    I travel, and I also have pretty ecclectic tastes. We tend to watch “the long tail” shows, rather than the latest slasher flick (which is about all I ever could find at Blockbuster). There were times I would go to the Blockbuster to get a movie and there just wasn’t anything there that I wanted to sink my time into. That store has closed and merged with a larger one a few miles further down the road, and they still don’t have anything decent most of the time. Sure, you can find a new release there, or something that’s been released in the last 4 years, but what about a French, German, or Czech import? What about something thought-provoking AND entertaining from, say, Sundance or Cannes? Ask at Blockbuster, and the response is usually “Um, I think we have something coming in like that next week.” Netflix gives us a great breadth of movies and TV shows to watch. My wife loves running to “24”, and we have been through several full catalogues like Stargate SG-1, Monarch of the Glen, Ballykiss Angel, and others. We also love getting recent series (Lost, Battlestar Gallactica, Prison Break) on DVD, rather than having to schedule them around broadcast scheduling, or paying for a TiVo.

    When I travel, I’ll take any discs that I’m behind on and watch them on the plane or my hotel room. The following day, they’re in the mail and the next item in our queue heads toward home.

    Bottom line: if you are satisfied with what’s at Blockbuster, their service will be enough for you. If you want a much better selection. and the freedom to “do it all” without having to deal with the stores, you’ll get better service from Netflix, at least in my experience.

  • Julie February 10, 2007, 7:38 am

    I haven’t rented a movie from a store since VHS tapes were in vogue. I always found it an exercise in futility to go into a store and find a movie. I would waste 30 minutes just walking up and down aisles reading the backs of the video boxes. I much prefer finding movies online and adding them to a queue. I also like that NetFlix gives me recommendations based on how I rated movies I’ve already seen.

    My first movie should be out in my mailbox in about 90 minutes. :o)

  • Hai February 10, 2007, 12:08 pm

    My NetFlix plan currently allows up to three discs out at a time. To utilize the plan, I created a sub account for my 8- and 6-year-old daughters. They get two discs and I get one. It works out perfectly for us. Plus, they have their own queue and restrictions (too early for them to watch 9 1/2 weeks :-).

    I just love NetFlix.

  • mike roselius February 11, 2007, 11:26 am

    Plenty of mixed reviews for both NetFlix and Blockbuster.

    Biggest complaint about the BB plan I’ve read is that it caught on a lot better than they anticipated and in some areas there have been some problems with stores having other movies in-stock when you bring your’s back in and want an exchange. If you stick to the mail part of it, you have much better luck.

    NetFlix has distribution centers all over the country – so they have done a very good job of minimizing the tunraround time to getting you a replacement movie.

    There are some web reports that NetFlix uses some computer algorithim to determine which movie you get next. Do a couple of Google searchs and you’ll find plenty on this. Apparently, if you are a heavy user – and watch and return movies quickly, Netflix will place hidden limits on your account and essentially put you toward the back of the line for the next 1st run movie on your list. You can argue both sides of whether this is fair or not – but there are ways around this – again much better detailed in various web posts. What you have to do is make changes in your que or something and it will mess up the program and keep you getting the 1st runs quicker.

  • Altman February 11, 2007, 5:04 pm

    I just finished my free 2 week trial and will not be continuing with Netflix. My wife and I decided to watch season 1 of 24 and of the six disks we received, 3 of them were scratched so that we had to miss significant portions of episodes. 2 episodes we ended up having to download from ITunes. If you are doing the free trial, though, you might as well go to a higher plan and then downgrade when you actually have to pay.

  • Julie February 11, 2007, 6:20 pm

    I’m going to return my first movie tomorrow and see how long it takes to get my 2nd movie. I’m on the free trial till the 22nd, so we’ll see how it goes. I have a feeling that I’ll be dumping my DirecTV premium movie package soon.

  • Lawrence Chen February 12, 2007, 11:21 am

    I’ve been with NetFlix since January 1999.

    I should probably take a look at my cable bill…which is over $100 a month….over $150 if you lump in broadband.

    I hardly have time to watch premium content anymore….have enough trouble keeping up with regular programming. Good thing I have 1.8TB of storage among my ReplayTVs.

    But, what is also worrisome (though not as bad) is that I’m paying the NetFlix subscription fee and hardly have time to watch DVDs…..I’ve gone for months and months without watching anything…. Since I moved to Kansas 7.5 months ago…I’ve only watched enough to have Kansas City return addresses on all my envelopes. So that means 4.

    On a good week….it takes two days for a return, and then 1 day to get my next selection. On a bad week…it’ll take 9 days for a return. For some reason, a bad week means that the post office adds exactly one week.

    My queue has like 200 discs in it. And, it mainly shrinks because I remove selections from it…..

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