Friday, May 25, 2012
I do have a major gripe with Netflix. I also have a couple of good things to say about them. First, some background.
I don't have cable TV. I have lots of DVDs, but it's a lame financial model to purchase the DVD of every movie that you think you might like. I do have a Kindle Fire and I subscribe to Amazon Prime. Amazon lets me stream a fairly good selection of movies and TV shows for free--included with my Prime subscription. There are some gaps--particularly movies that are not "mainstream" and black-and-white movies.
I decided to check out Netflix streaming. The fee of $8 a month seemed reasonable, assuming that the selection was good. I did not discover a way to preview the titles in their streaming catalog so I just bit for the 30-day free trial.
Watching a movie on Netflix streaming is a very pleasant experience. Amazon is good, but Netflix is really good. In general, the Netflix streaming just worked the way you'd want it to. Resuming a movie was seamless.
Another thing I'll say in Netflix's favor is that their recommendation of movies is actually pretty good. I know I've been frustrated by Amazon's book recommendations continuously hyping Harry Potter to me. I'm like, Thanks, I'm sure it's a quality series, but I'm just not interested! Amazon never did get the hint.
Okay, now for the slams... and they are devastating.
Netflix's streaming selection is really pretty lame. If you're only interested in well-known, mainstream movies, Netflix might suit you fine. If you're interested in quirky cult classics or even classic black-and-white titles, Netflix Streaming has little to offer.
And you know, it's not even such a problem that Netflix Streaming has a weak catalog. The bigger problem is that if they don't have what you're looking for, they suggest a pile of unrelated crap that they expect you to weed through.
Case in point: I search for "Out of the Past"--in quotes. I'm looking for a specific film noir movie. Turns out (I think) that Netflix doesn't have it available for streaming. But they don't give me a simple "Not Found" message. No, they give me 340 pages of unrelated crap including (hello) Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman. Do they think I'm an idiot? Do they think I'm going to pore through 340 pages of junk when I provided them with an exact title and it was not returned on the first page of search results?
Perhaps if I were willing to use their DVD-by-Mail service, the title selection would be more reasonable. Given that their streaming selection is so lame and given that their search algorithm is crap and (in my case) given that I already subscribe to Amazon Prime, I think there is little chance that I'll be sending them $8 a month for the privilege of accessing their services. I still have 3 weeks on my trial so I may yet change my mind. Yeah, right.