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We Signed Up For Netflix

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Netflix Thumbs UpLast week, we signed up for Netflix.

Yep, even with such posts as “Why do people sign up for Netflix?” peppering the archives, we at the BFP household signed up for the $8.99 a month plan that lets us borrow one movie at a time, unlimited movies a month, plus unlimited streaming video on demand.

Online Video: So-So

Part of me wishes we read reviews of the video online portion of the service first because that was one of the driving factors in signing up for Netflix. It turns out that the selection consists of television shows and older movies. It doesn’t include many recent films, which was a real let down, but it does include current television shows so that is a mitigating factor. The reason why the online video was so appealing was because it was now more closely integrated with our XBox 360 in the winter update and the XBox is our main media player in the basement.

However, despite the limited selection, we’re sticking with the subscription past the two week trial just to see how often we use it. We might even analyze our Netflix usage in a few months to see if it’s money well spent.

Setting Up XBox for Netflix

The setup was remarkably simple, simply navigate to the Video Marketplace menu and slide over to the Netflix box (mine was the second one). From there, download and install the Netflix application. It’ll kick you back to the menu after you’re done, just go back to the box and select it. Then you’ll be asked whether you have an account already or whether you want to activate a free trial (2 weeks), I selected that I already had an account. The Xbox will display a super secret code that you then enter on this activation page. It thinks about it for a few minutes (“Activating”) and then you’re ready to go.

You can watch any movie available for your PC on your XBox. Unfortunately, this only includes older titles. You won’t be able to watch any newer movies instantly, which was originally our intent. It was a little unreasonable for us to expect that but we didn’t know, but the selection of movies available via the web is still pretty good. They tend to be older movies but by signing up, we’ve essentially made Netflix our database for movies at only $8.99 a month.

We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes! First DVD, The Dark Knight (my wife hasn’t seen it yet), comes in the mail today.

(Photo by brymo)

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16 Responses to “We Signed Up For Netflix”

  1. nickel says:

    Is it true that *everything* available for streaming is available for XBox? When we first hooked this up back in November, most (all?) Sony titles (and those of their subsidiaries) were unavailable for streaming on the XBox, though you could stream it on the Roku or over your PC. Also, it’s not entirely true that it’s old movies only. There’s a smattering of newer titles but, for the most part, you’re right. And you’re also right about TV shows being the saving grace.

    • jim says:

      Yeah, it is now anyway after the latest Xbox dashboard update. You just add it to your Instant Queue and you can watch it on the XBox.

  2. nickel says:

    One annoyance that I just discovered is that online availability comes and goes. I just checked our queue, and there are about 10 movies things that I added before Christmas that are no longer available. It seems odd that they would put stuff online and then later take it off, but that’s what they do.

    • jim says:

      Perhaps there are a certain number of licenses per film or TV show? As more people add it the older people who haven’t been watching have it removed?

    • Blame the movie studios for that one. They put up a movie and “test” it for a few weeks and then pull it down and discuss the results for 6 months.

      The same problem exists with Hulu. I wanted to watch a season of some show I’d fallen in love with, but the episodes were like 1,4,5,6,8,10 and the story couldn’t be followed. I gave up and they lost a viewer. I hope the movie studios and TV companies jump into online video in full force for 2009, because I love it.

      I don’t do netflix for now because I love red box, but I’m always watching them and know I’ll come back to netflix in the future.

  3. Miranda says:

    We’ve enjoyed Netflix quite a bit since we signed up three years ago. It’s convenient, saving us money and time.

  4. Glenn Lasher says:

    I would not be at all surprised to find out that Netflix’ online videos are cleared out from time to time in order to make room for others. Movies take up a lot of disc space.

    Technical trivia: DVDs and BluRay discs (along with many other forms of digital TV) use a compression sustem (these are called COder/DECoders or “codecs”) called MPEG-2. It’s very effective at delivering a good picture, but limited in its ability to make the file small. Using some more advanced codecs (e.g. AVC), the file for a typical feature film can be made small enough to fit four or more on a single-layer DVD (most movies are shipped on dual-layer DVDs, which have twice the capacity). The same approach can also be used to put HD content on a DVD.

    Even so, they are still large files, ranging from 700MB to a GB or two. This can very quickly eat up a lot of disc space.

    Add to that the fact that server-grade disc space is expensive, and you have an incentive to recycle.

    Anyone care to guess what I do for a living? :)

  5. Hey, congrats on the front-page link from MSN Money for your article about the 10 reasons why credit unions rule…what great publicity for your blog!

  6. Peter says:

    I’ve been using the netflix streaming to xbox for a while now. As you mention most of the movie titles are older movies and tv shows. There are however some newer titles sprinkled in there. I take the streaming movies to be kind of a “bonus” for now, until they get more content in there. I’m sure at some point they’ll be more content available, but for now I think some of the networks/movie studios have hamstrung netflix as far as what they can stream.

    for more content to stream to your xbox, check out a software called “Playon”. It will stream Hulu.com, CBS tv shows, netflix and some other services straight to the video section of your xbox.

  7. Jim says:

    I like Netflix a lot. Its a good combination of convenience, selection and price. The online content is lacking though and most movies we want to see aren’t online.

    From this Netflix Q/A it seems not all online titles are available on the Xbox. So unless the Q/A is simply out of date, you might be missing some titles.

    Q:
    Why are some Netflix titles not available for instant watching on my XBox 360?
    A:
    Our goal is to have all of our streaming content licensed for all Netflix ready devices. We’re doing well in this area, but it will take some time before we fully achieve that goal. In the case of Xbox 360, a few hundred titles are temporarily unavailable to be streamed via the Xbox game console. Those titles are still available to be watched on subscribers’ computers and on TVs via other Netflix ready devices. We hope they’ll be licensed for Xbox 360 shortly.

  8. congrats on joining Netflix, its a great service. I have tried Netflix and Blockbuster’s similar service. Both are good if you have time for movies which in my case is invalid. The availability has been an issue on movies that I wanted and even had a couple of scratched disks, with Blockbuster, instead of mailing the DVD back, I was able to just walk to the local outlet and exchange disks which rendered a faster turnaround time.

  9. Since I have a redbox right near my house, it is more convenient and cheaper for me. I tried netflix on the past and had bad luck with a few broken dvds.

  10. We signed up for the same plan at the writers strike. I think my wife would sooner not pay the heating bill than drop Netflix.

  11. 2million says:

    I have tried netflix, but think redbox is a better value since if I don’t use it i don’t pay for it.

  12. thomas says:

    Netflix user for years and love it. Dabbled with Blockbuster and didn’t like it, even with a B&M store close by. Netflix streaming will get better just like all other streaming content. If you watch a ton of movies, enjoy old shows, and don’t like to leave the house, Netflix is great.


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