Streaming Review: Netflix

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Netflix, Inc. is an American on-demand DVD-by-mail and internet streaming media service for international movies and television series. Netflix uses a number of media platforms for their internet video streaming or “Watch Instantly” media including the Netflix-ready devices such as Blu-Ray players, e-readers, and network-enabled HDTVs, PC, game consoles, Roku, and mobile devices.

I have used Netflix for about 5-6 years and on the following platforms: Sony Blu-Ray player, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Vizio HDTV and Nintendo Wii.

 

Appearance

Xbox 360 Netflix Grid

Xbox 360 Netflix

 

Netflix appearance on several devices includes a grid of selections with a list of genres. You scroll vertically to choose a genre and then scroll horizontally to choose a selection within the genre. On older Sony Blu-Ray players or other older devices, the app does not get updated to newer formats which is seen on consoles, mobiles devices, PC or other updated devices.

Features

You can watch unlimited Netflix streaming content any time and on any of the available platforms. The unlimited DVD/Bluray service comes with up to 4 plans that you can choose from. The first plan is for 1 DVD take out. The next plans are for 2-4 DVD take outs. You can keep the DVDs as long as you want, but to receive new DVDs you must return the previous discs.

Any movie or show you watch keeps a watching record so that you may stop, restart or resume playback and to rate whatever you watched. On older Netflix platforms, the rating system is not available. On newer platforms, the rating system is available among other new features.

These new features included are: Audio Language selections, Subtitle captions and Closed-captioning.

 

DVD Mailing

Netflix DVD package

Netflix DVD package

The DVD packages are easy to use and quick packaging for mailing back. There was only one time out of our brief DVD service that the DVD shipped was too scratched to play.

Streaming Connection

The recommended speed for internet broadband to work well with Netflix is 500kbps, however, most streaming problems come from the Netflix network itself. You sometimes find yourself in the middle of a show or movie buffering for a good couple of minutes. I found that streaming on newer platforms have less streaming interference. I have devices connected via Wi-Fi and local Ethernet. The Wi-Fi connected devices do not lack in streaming speed compared to the local Ethernet.

Library

There are a vast number of genres for movies and television shows to choose from. Because of the vast pool, Netflix has categories to alert you of what is new to the libraries: New Releases, New TV Shows, New Movies. There’s also a Recommendation category based on the how you rate your items.

Originally Netflix just had one service for both streaming and DVD package. However, in the last couple of years, this changed to having separate plans – one for streaming and one for DVD service. For Streaming, you pay a monthly subscription of $7.99. For 1-DVD plan, you pay $7.99. This price increases if you want more than one DVD take out.

The Netflix streaming library went downhill since 2009 or 2010 when they lost a lot of licensing to competitors and also when they split the service in two. Netflix used to get blockbuster movies before they hit cable or Video-On-Demand but now you barely get any new blockbuster titles for the “Watch Instantly”. Most movies and television shows Netflix releases span decades. Though I’m glad to see some old favorites, I feel like I’m missing out on what could be favorites.

Quality

The quality of content Netflix offers are still golden even though they lack timely new releases. “There’s something for everyone” in the Netflix library. Depending on your streaming device/platform, the video playback can be in Standard Definition or High Definition. There are no 3D content. Some movies and television shows can only be shown in SD. Also, there aren’t any option for video views such as in 16:9 screen or 4:3 screen ratios. You’d have to just adjust your device/platform for that.

There are some selections where the audio is extremely low yet the musical score is extremely loud. This issue was present on several streaming platforms.

 

Competitors

Netflix has a few direct competitors to their Instant Streaming and DVD rental service:

  • RedBox – specializing in the rentals of DVDs, Blu-rays and video games via automated rental kiosks, customers pick up an item and then drop it off within 24 hours.
  • Amazon Instant Video – only available in United States and by Amazon.com, it offers television shows and movies for purchase or rental.

 


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