Daily Archives: July 13, 2011

Netflix becomes stupider, Warehouse 13 returns

Yes, I know stupider isn’t a word. It applies to Netflix nonetheless.

I’ll start this off by admitting that I don’t have Netflix. I have used it at other people’s houses from time to time, and enjoyed it, but haven’t pulled the trigger to get my own account.

Why? Because it doesn’t have what I want in its streaming library 90% of the time. I can find something to watch, sure, but usually not what I want to watch. Periodically I browse their website for shows I’m interested in. Most of the time if they’re there they are DVD only – no streaming.

Why would I pay for that? That’s essentially what I get with my cable subscription and a Redbox.

Here’s the other downside for me with Netflix (and all streaming services): no special features. I love special features. I like listening to the commentaries, watching the “on the set” and “behind the scenes” featurettes, and especially the deleted scenes. I don’t know of any streaming service (with the exception of Zediva) that provides for any of those. (Of course some studios are making separate versions of their DVDs for rental purposes that don’t include these features either in an attempt to force me to buy the retail disc – which is a whole other level of stupid. They actually spend more in order to provide me with less for worse return.)

So yesterday Netflix announced they are “changing their plan structure.” You now get to pay $8/month for exactly half of what you paid $8/month for yesterday. You can get streaming OR DVD by mail, but not both for that price. Or you could pay double to get the whole enchilada again. So they’re basically saying that their streaming service is equal to their DVD service, even though it has a fraction of the titles available.

I’m sure it has a much better profit margin for them, so I can understand their enthusiasm, but from a consumer side … they simply don’t have a big enough library yet.

I can’t find many of my geek wants, for example. The new Green Lantern animated lead up to the  live action film, any Justice League cartoons, the old Superfriends cartoons – pretty much any super-hero content, really with a few minor exceptions; any Looney Tunes; most kids’ shows (no Mister Rogers); Babylon 5 … heck even Star Wars isn’t on streaming! Even huge hit sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, Friends, How I Met Your Mother… I could go on.

Where’s the value? I can watch a lot of documentaries … that’s great. I enjoy documentaries. And they have plenty of shows I don’t watch, too. And there are a handful I want to see. But $8/month for the privilege? No.

They don’t have Warehouse 13 on Netflix streaming either (it’s on DVD). So if I wanted to catch up on the last 2 seasons to prepare for the third season premiere, I’d be out of luck.

I did watch the premiere on Monday, by the way. It wasn’t one of the best episodes, but it was solid. Even though some parts felt like filler when you look at what actually happened, it was enormously fun to watch. The acting and writing are awesome. Even the “boring” parts had me laughing. If you’re not watching this show yet, you should.

You can catch it on Hulu.