First there was cable and my how cable has grown. We’ve gone from a couple of channels to over 500 that includes regular network TV, specialty channels, pay-per-view channels and on-demand TV and movies.
Then satellite TV was all the rage. I never liked satellite though. My brother had it and, sure, you could get hundreds of channels (or more) but there was no guide to tell you what was on and when. You just scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. By the time you found anything to watch, it was over.
Now we have Netflix and Netflix is on fire!
Netflix is an online provider of television and movies. It works by “streaming” from the internet. You have long been able to download TV shows and movies from the internet, burn to a DVD and watch when you want. But “streaming” means that you can watch them instantly through the internet, you don’t have to take the time to download or to record it. Just sit down, decide what you want to watch and watch it.
I confess that my initial resistance to Netflix was because I didn’t understand it. I thought it had to run through a game console and no way was I going to connect my son’s XBox to the main TV in the house.
Then I found out that any device that connects to the internet can be used. Early on, those sources were limited to gaming consoles and computers but now you can hook into it with your Smart TV, tablet and even your Smart phone.
Okay. So this got me to look a little closer at Netflix.
What I like about Netflix
Price: $7.99 per month for Netflix is certainly attractive compared to cable costs. My cable package is only one step up from basic cable and even that’s not cheap.
Complete series’ available: Often in the summer, when my favourite shows are on hiatus, I find a new show to watch. Unfortunately, I usually find out that this new show is not new at all and I would love to watch back episodes. Or, better yet, go back and watch it from the beginning. You can do this on Netflix.
**DANGER** This feature can quickly lead to binge TV watching. I have done it before with DVDs. I once rented the entire collection of the show “24” and watched it all in one weekend. I did the same thing with “Sex and the City”. I can never get that time back now, it’s gone forever.
Original Programming: Like HBO, there are now shows that are being developed for only Netflix. It’s starting to get big and I’m hearing great things about “Grace and Frankie”, “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards”. These shows are only available on Netflix.
What I don’t like about Netflix
You can only watch past episodes. I have my Monday shows, my Thursday shows and my Sunday shows and I still like to “look forward to next week’s episode”. But you have to wait until the show has already aired on cable before it’s available on Netflix.
No channel surfing. On Netflix, you have to know what you want to watch. I like to channel surf, this is how I find new and different shows. Shows that I wouldn’t necessarily know about if I wasn’t surfing around the different channels.
No live sports. This is a deal breaker. We love our live sports. Actually, no live TV at all on Netflix so that means no live news, no live award shows (the Oscars) and no live political or emergency broadcasting.
With valid reasons for both Cable and Netflix, the majority of the people I talk to have both. I can see the argument for that – it only costs $10.
However . . .
Do I really need more TV to watch? And where does it end?
It’s a slippery slope my friends. With the success of Netflix, many other services of the same nature are popping up hoping to cash in on this new craze – Crave, Shomi, Hulu. And you can be sure that each of these is going to offer some unique spin to make it different from the all the others. Do you buy them all?
For example, while at my friends house, I asked her to look to see if one of my favourite “new” shows was available on Netflix. The show is CSI Crime Scene Investiagation. I only discovered CSI about a year ago but it’s been on for 14 years! If I could watch CSI from the beginning, I would pony up the $7.99 tomorrow. It would be worth it.
But, alas, CSI is not available on NetfFlix. In fact, Hulu has grabbed an exclusive licensing deal to be the only one that can stream CSI.
A very slippery slope my friends. I ask you again – where does it end?
I have enough trouble keeping up with the shows I do watch, do I really need to add more?
Do I really want to watch MORE TV than I already do?
**NEWS FLASH** I just found out that for $9.99 you can get a Netflix package where up to three people can use the same account and the three people don’t have to be in the same house. I found this out at the same friends house. She called up her account on her TV and it showed her on one unit, her son on another unit (he lives 5 hours away from her) and another unit was “available”.
Hmmmm. She has another unit available?