Monday, June 21, 2010

Try it Tuesday - Netflix

For the majority of our married life, we have had either cable or Satelite TV. Last fall - when balancing the budget with the addition of the "Chewy tot" and enabling me to be a full-time parent - cable got the boot. To soften the blow - we found space in the budget for Netflix. For the first several months - I'm not sure we used it enough to "pay for itself" however, considering some of the late fees we'd encountered on library dvd's, maybe we did.

We have the plan where we can have 2 dvd's by mail, in addition to the streaming online of select movies/shows. We definitely take advantage of both ways of watching movies - but our streaming use has skyrocketed with the ability to stream via the Wii. It is much easier than previously hooking a laptop up to the tv, and has far fewer glitches.

Some of the reasons I really like Netflix:
  • The queue system - I can see a commercial for a movie coming to the theater and add it to my queue before I forget, or something coming to, or new to DVD, or even a movie I hadn't thought of in a long time. The fact I can rearrange the queue is pretty handy too - we try to make sure we have a family dvd at any given time - the 2nd one could be anything - based on who will have the time to watch it.
  • Streaming - while the titles available for instant streaming is by no means and exhaustive list - and it does change, there is almost always something to watch if you suddenly find yourself up with a restless baby in the middle of the night, or with the third rainy day in a row, or something else I didn't plan for.
  • Variety - both for streaming and dvd's by mail - I've been checking out exercise dvd's - The chewy kid (TCK) and I are going to try some of the 10 minute work outs. There are also a lot of tv series available. TCK loves the Muppet Show, and I've watched Fraggle Rock.
  • The flat fee - I can set this as our entertainment budget for the month. I don't have to worry about late fees if plans change, we just hold on to the dvd until we have a chance to watch it.
  • I'm not driving to/from the video store or library, where they may not even have what I'm looking for. With the library, I could put things on hold, but when they come in - I have a window of only a few days to pick it up, and then one week to watch. Not a horrible amount of time, but if we've got other plans for the weekend, or going to be out of town - it doesn't work so well - then it's back to the bottom of the hold list.
Things that are challenging with Netflix:
  • Streaming on the computer I have had some issues with stalls, audio not lining up with video, etc. (not an issue on the Wii at all)
  • Would like to see more fitness dvd's available for streaming. Even if it rotates, this seems like something that would make sense to be available instantly.
  • Our mailman - our movies have been delivered to other people more than once - who sometimes take a week or more to get them to us. While Netflix has no control over this - it does affect our experience.
  • The flat fee -- yes, this is on both lists. Some months we watch more TV/movies than others, so it seems like we may be paying for something we aren't using - although with the streaming option, this seems to be less of a concern.
Did I like cable more than Netflix? I'm not sure - I miss a few things, but not very much, and definitely not enough for the difference in price. Mr. Chewy agrees with one exception, he misses the sports now that a lot of "standard" sporting events are on cable only. Overall, for our family - Netflix seems to be a pretty good value, allowing us to watch a wide variety of movies - The Chewy Kid is getting familiar with a lot of 80's favorites -- "Back to the Future" is up for this weekend.


  1. I've tried to think of ways to cut the cable cord, but I am too much of a sports junkie to do it. Almost all of the Reds games are only on cable, as well as the many games that are only on ESPN, ESPN2, etc.

    If there was a way to stream these live sports to our tv, I think I'd be more willing to drop cable and start Netflix.

  2. Good assessment! We too are cableless (so much money for so much junk!!) and did Netflix for a long time, the streaming worked well on our computer/tv. We eventually dropped it, I think it's because DH was finding what he wanted on vids for free, but then again, he's really into the JFK assassination and other gov't plots, so YMMV online <=] but there IS a lot on there for free! Thanks for the write-up!