Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Netflix comes to Ireland, First Impressions

I signed up for Netflix's just launched video UK and Ireland video streaming service last night. Bullet point first impressions follow:

1. The sign up process is very slick and almost frictionless (the one difficulty being a face book tie in - more later). I got  a 30 day free trial and they assure me I can cancel at any time without obligation so I was comfortable enough giving them my credit card details. 

2. Also impressive was the range of options for viewing. I tried the PC and the Wii. Both were very easy to set-up and easy to use. Other options included Xbox, PS3, Iphone/pad , Android phone/pad.

3. Picture quality on the Wii at 460p using composite cables was better than I expected and much more convenient than connecting a laptop to the TV. 

3. The service was very easy to use on both PC and Wii. You can browse under a relatively small number of categories or you can search alphabetically. This simplicity makes the system easy to use but it could be a limitation if the number of videos available was greater.

4. The price of €6.99 /month for unlimited streaming is very attractive. Consider that conventional cable/satellite TVpackages cost  €25/month upwards and DVD rentals cost several euros per night.

5. On the downside the selection of films and TV shows is pretty poor. There are only about 70 titles on offer s in each category most of which are old and many of which I have never heard of. The headline offerings that they are using to push the service include small number of popular TV shows including Braking Bad, Prison Break and Heroes. Netflix have promised to improve the selection as subscriber numbers rise but the licensing situation in Europe is messy. The rights to the best shows and films are owned by Satellite and Terrestrial broadcasters who have no interest in promoting streaming.

6. I am surprised that there is no pay per view element. I would have though that offering pay per view for the latest shows and films would be a natural extension of Netflix's service.  I heard a radio interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings this morning and he went so far as to recommend Itunes for the latest shows. If Netflix was intending to offer premium content later then he would hardly point customers to a competitor.

6. Given the ability to view shows on the kid's Wii. I was pleased to see a parental controls option where I can block adult content but I couldn't find any way to adjust this setting from the Wii itself. This means that when my wife and I want to watch an adult show we need to log in to a computer before and after to adjust permissions.


Unknown said...

Nice. One series I always recommend to those with Netflix is Avatar: The Last Airbender. The animated series from Nickelodeon, not the horrendous live-action movie.

Some good tips for your new sub: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/9-tips-tricks-netflix-subscription/

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