Resurrected Entertainment

NetFlix, Stream Movies for $57.99 per Month (Canada only)

November 6, 2010

NetFlix LogoSo, we decided to give NetFlix a try a few weeks ago, just to get a feel for the experience; the platform of choice was our PS3 system. We were asking ourselves if this was a technology we would want to use to rent films that weren’t on our “must see” or “must own” list. I like to watch movies — a lot. After a long day at work, sometimes I am just mentally exhausted, which compels me to find sources of entertainment which are either completely different from what I working on during the day, or submit to a more passive form of recreation that doesn’t involve too much thought. I find movies a great way to relax and so I often partake in movie rentals at our local video store, sometimes as many as three or four times per week if I’m having a busy time at work. Most of the movies I rent tend to be fairly entertaining, but generally not a movie I would prefer to own, so the idea of streaming is very appealing to me since it eliminates the need to visit the mall. However, I prefer to think of the streaming business as a complement to existing movie distribution networks and not as a replacement.

I am living in an area now which is a tad on the remote side, so finding a decent video rental store is next to impossible, and the store I did find only provides a very small number of titles, most of which are still recorded as VHS cassettes. When my wife first talked to me about NetFlix, I must admit I was fairly reserved at the idea. I was mostly concerned about movie selection, but movie quality was also high on the list as well. After using it for a little less than a month, I must give the service 5 / 5 stars. I did see some minor quality problems in some movies, and the service had a bandwidth hiccup or two (probably not their fault), but overall I am very pleased with the video and audio quality and movie selection process. The NetFlix application on my PS3 is very easy to use with snappy response times and a rating system tuned to your personal tastes. The rating system does take time to learn what you like to watch, and it’s important to rate a film after you watch it.

The service costs $7.99 per month with the first month being free at the time of this writing. A standard-definition movie which runs for 2 hours consumes approximately 1.8 GB of data, while a high-definition movie running the same amount of time chews through approximately 3.0 GB of data. I don’t know what the consumer break-down is for Roger’s service plans, but one of their plans gives you a 60 GB transfer limit (upload + download) per month. Overage costs vary with your plan, and our plan costs us $2 for every GB over our 60 GB limit up to a maximum of $50 per month. We live in a 5 member house and four of us work in the technology sector, which means our tendency for data consumption is usually higher than most families, except those families with one or more tech savvy teenagers doing strange things in their basement. What this usually means is that we tend to consume more than half our available transfer limit just doing our day to day activities for work or recreation, which leaves less than 30 GB of wiggle room. That leaves us with the capacity for watching approximately 11 standard-definition movies, or  5 high-definition ones without getting charged extra. Since I prefer to watch some types of films in high-definition, my film roster is looking fairly small for an entire month, so naturally I’m going to enter into overage costs, rent more movies, or just do without.

I personally know a few families who use NetFlix mostly to provide entertainment for their children. I am wondering how often they run into overage costs since kids love to watch movies repeatedly, and does it save them money if they didn’t need to rent or buy those videos? For those types of users, it would be nice if NetFlix offered a download and record option so that the movies do not need to be repeatedly streamed. Those cached movies could have an expiration date based on the last time the movie was viewed (and not based on when it was downloaded), since NetFlix supports the policy of watching a movie as many times as you like. As usual, it would also behoove Rogers to offer more competitive Internet service plans (compared to the plans available in the USA), and for the CRTC to step out of the picture and stop meddling with what should be a privately run business sector. But, now I’m really dreaming.

One Response to “NetFlix, Stream Movies for $57.99 per Month (Canada only)”

Steve wrote a comment on November 6, 2010

Bell has a small business internet service that’s a bit more expensive, but has no bandwidth cap. That’s what I’m using, so the idea of my son watching a ton of online video is fine with me. $8/month is the price of two HD rentals from iTunes, and we watch way more than two movies a month on NetFlix.

Where NetFlix falls down is when someone says “I want to watch _____” because there’s a pretty high chance that the movie they pick won’t be available. But if you’re just browsing for a movie to watch, it works pretty well.

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