My new best friend



Meet my new best friend: Netflix streaming video.

For $8.99 per month I can watch as many movies or television shows (including cable series) as I wish - it's unlimited, and it's all via instantaneous download to my MacBook Pro. So far, it appears to be a better bargain than the iTunes rental system, which offers movie rentals at a cost of $1.99 - $3.99 per movie, per 24 hours.

Sounds a bit confusing, I know. So here's the breakdown: let's say I want to watch a movie. I go to iTunes, and I pick "The Hurt Locker" to download as a movie rental. The movie will cost $3.99, and I can watch the movie as often as I wish within a 24-hour time period.

So, if I start watching "The Hurt Locker" at 7:00pm on Monday, the movie "expires" at 6:59pm on Tuesday, and it cost me $3.99. Rinse, lather, repeat for each additional movie.

If I rent 3 movies a week from iTunes, it'll cost me about $12 in round numbers (or $48 per month), and I'll essentially get to watch each movie rental once, because let's face it - who watches a rental movie more than once in a single sitting or 24-hour period? Not me... although there have been times when I've seen a movie and then watched it again a few weeks later (if it was really good). With iTunes, I'd have to pony-up another $3.99 to "re-rent" the flick.

With Netflix, I pay $8.99 per month, and I can watch as many movies as I want to, as often as I want to, whenever I want to, all via their instantaneous download service on my MacBook Pro (it also works with PCs).

Now here's the extra cool part... don't want to be tethered to your computer to watch a movie via Netflix? That's cool. For $79 you can buy a Roku streaming player that plugs into your TV, and viola - Netflix streaming movies on your TV (there are also DVD players and gaming systems that have the feature built-in, but Roku is the least expensive system).

Downsides to Netflix? Quality isn't as good as iTunes - iTunes movies are really well presented - HD all the way. But the Netflix isn't too shabby. And selection - Netflix has some great offerings, but for the absolute latest and greatest via download, iTunes wins by a fair margin.

But, all things considered, for $8.99/month for unlimited streaming of movies, Netflix isn't a bad deal. The best part is that you don't have to worry about scratched or damaged DVDs - there's no skipping/pausing/quitting to deal with. So long as your internet connection is decent, the movies stream seamlessly. You can pause/stop/resume movie playback just like a normal DVD player.

It's super easy to use - once you're logged in, you browse (or search) through the movies, find the one you want to watch, and choose your playback option: via download or you can opt to have the rental mailed to you on a conventional DVD... but with the $8.99 plan, you can only rent one (1) DVD/movie at a time. Here's what the options look like from "inside" of Netflix:


Pretty cool. Never thought I'd be a fan of Netflix again, but this streaming stuff is pretty excellent. And the best part? I wasn't force-fed a steady television diet of Olympics tonight! Ha!

In other news, I worked from home again today - was quite busy, actually... didn't even break for lunch - kept chugging away at things. Conference calls, online meetings, working on documentation, and so on. I'm amazed by how much more I can get done when I'm not getting distracted by normal office stuff. :-) That said, I can't wait to go back to the office and get off of this couch!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve published on February 23, 2010 9:32 PM.

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