It’s been just over two weeks since Netflix brought its movie streaming service (but not its more-well-known DVD home delivery service) to Canada; I signed up on the first day it was available, and Oliver and I have been using the service ever since, first on my iPod Touch and Oliver’s iMac, and, once our Wii application CD arrived from Netflix HQ, on our regular old television set.
Here are my impressions after a couple of weeks:
- It’s nice that I can stream movies from onto so many devices, and it’s nice that I can start watching a movie on, say, my iPod and pick up watching later on, where I left off, on the Wii.
- That said, like Neal Gillis, I wish there was better integration between the web and the other platforms, specifically a way of using the web’s excellent search features to allow me to explore and flag movies for later watching on other devices.
- Netflix’s much-vaunted “if you like this, you’ll probably like this” features seem to be much less useful when the pool of possibilities is the relatively small selection of movies that can be streamed vs. the much larger selection of movies that they have available in the US on DVD.
- The Wii application is dead simple to use, maybe too simple: it’s really heard to get a sense for the breadth of movies available because of the limitations of the “browse” feature, and it’s really annoying that the “search” feature displays search results for films that aren’t actually available.
- The “buffering” period – the time you have to wait after clicking “play” and before the movie starts – seems to vary between “a few seconds” and “a minute or two.” It’s not clear what factors play a role in this (my Internet? their Internet? the length of the movie to be streamed?).
- The selection of movies and TV episodes doesn’t knock my socks off. The movies tend to be just out of date enough to not be entirely satisfying; the TV episodes seem to seldom be the current season.
- Oliver seems to have found plenty to watch: Liberty’s Kids, Dinosaur Train, Cat in the Hat. But it hasn’t replaced TV for him, and he hasn’t always been satisfied with the selection.
- I really appreciated all four seasons of the British series Coupling and all five seasons of ballykissangel.
- Documentaries seem to be a strong suit: I’ve enjoyed more of them than anything else, and I’ve found things that I wouldn’t have ever found elsewhere.
- You can’t beat the price: $7.99/month is little enough that, no matter the limitations, I’m likely to keep the service around after the 30-day trial.