Friday, April 27, 2007

Netflix - Watch Now!

Since Netflix had started offering some subscribers the "Watch Now" online streaming movie option instead of getting DVDs in the mail, i've been hoping to become one of those lucky few that have had this option. I know everyone will be able to do it starting in June, but I hope not to wait until then.

For everyone that doesn't now about the program, basically for every dollar you spend per month, you can watch one hour of movie. The movies appear to be using DRM from Windows Media. The quality is honestly pretty darn good for streaming video. So far I've only watched Clue and SherryBaby. Using our standard, non High Definition television on my HTPC, I couldn't tell the difference between this and a DVD.

Here's the positives about the service:
1. Good video quality. Might not look as good on a HDTV, but we aren't at that level in terms of internet bandwidth.
2. With approximately 20 hours per month IN ADDITION to the normal DVDs in the mail, this is truly a value added service that the competitors don't offer.

And the negatives:
1. Small video selection. Most of the movies are older movies, but there as a few more current selections.
2. The DRM is a pain. I had to first upgrade to WMP 11 (which I don't think was absolutely necessary), but then I had to change a number of different settings and rename a couple of DRM license folders. Truthfully, it just a 5 minute pain for me, but I could see the average Netflix using getting frustrated and giving up.
3. Normally DVD features like subtitles are nonexistant of course.
4. Since this is a streaming service, any inconsistencies in your internet connection will cause skipping or hanging in the movie. I only saw the movie have to catch up once or twice during Clue, but generally not a big deal. There were no skips in SherryBaby. It might have been an encoding problem in the original rip of the movie.

I recommend using the service once it is available to you if you have Netflix. I just hope there are more movies available soon.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Nathan loves the service as well. Netflix is such a good deal if you are a big movie watcher. Nathan told me he recommended a movie to you this week.