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Taking advantage of Netflix

Recently there’s been a lot of talk amongst friends and others about cancelling their Netflix accounts and switching to other services. We haven’t been on Netflix for too terribly long, not even a year, but I have to say there isn’t much to complain about so it kind of surprises me to hear such angst.

Netflix isn’t perfect

Since Netflix has become a media giant, others have tried to follow and that means competition. Competition is good for everyone and if a service you’re paying for doesn’t meet you needs, then yes, you should find a better one. However, it seems the most common complaint about Netflix is their selection and how fast they get new movies, particularly on their instant streaming. I admit and I agree that the speed at which Netflix gets new movies is something to be desired, and even more so for streaming. But I guess my response to all that is, “so what?”


Movies are forever

Lets say “The Social Network” gets released on DVD this week. That means it probably won’t get on Netflix mail for a week or more and not on streaming for what could be months. Would I like it sooner? Absolutely, but not seeing a movie right away doesn’t make that movie any less enjoyable. The immediacy in which you see a movie doesn’t improve the quality of the movie or if it’s any good. Much like music, movies will be around forever, there’s no hurry.

If you really want to see a movie that bad, chances are you’ve already seen it in the theatre or will actually buy the DVD at the store, in which case services like Netflix don’t really matter. If there’s a moving I’m dying to see when it gets released on DVD, I’ll just go to the Redbox and get it for a dollar. Very rarely is there a movie so important to me that I can’t not wait to see it.

More than just movies

The other reason waiting doesn’t bother me is that there is plenty on Netflix to fill the time otherwise. So you’re waiting for that latest DVD to come to Netflix…in the mean time you can watch any of the other movies waiting for you on streaming. I might suggest even watching a movie that you – gasp – haven’t seen before. Some people complain about the selection of movies on Netflix, saying there’s a lot crap/old movies. Well, I hate to point out that most movies are crap when you look at the entire population. For every one “good” movie there are hundreds of bad ones. Good movies are the minority, that’s just reality.

Personally, Netflix is filled with a lot of old movies I still love to watch. Whether they be movies from the 50s or the 90s, there’s something there to watch…and that’s not even including all the TV shows on Netflix. I can tell you we’ve probably watched more TV shows on Netflix than we have movies. And then there’s the “other” genres that I really wouldn’t otherwise see (and enjoy) if they weren’t on Netflix, like documentaries and non-fiction.

Like I said before, if Netflix isn’t meeting your needs then by all means, find something better. But Netflix is more than just a movie delivery service. Netflix is a video delivery service. If you’re not taking advantage of Netflix’s entire selection of movies and non-movies, then you’re kind of missing the point. And trust me, when you have that much content to surf through and enjoy, you’re not too worried about seeing the latest movies as soon as possible.


  1. Will Will February 2, 2011

    If you time it right, you can get a movie from Netflix on the day it’s available from Netflix. I get a new release almost every Tuesday. I just put something in the mail on Saturday and it works almost every time.

    I also use Redbox for some movies that I don’t want to wait on. This doesn’t happen much, because I most movies that I’m interested in at the theater. Also, lately I’ve been buying a lot of the movies that I really like.

    If Amazon does give free access to their Video on Demand service to their Prime members (like me), this could hurt Netflix. They have current TV show seasons and current movies.

  2. Becky Becky February 2, 2011

    no- popular movies don’t come. they just release “new” movies which are old, outlandish movies.

  3. Brian Brian Post author | February 2, 2011

    @Will – Some co-workers were talking about the Amazon video service and it sounds like it has some things Netflix should have had from the start. We’ll have to wait and see.

    @Becky – What makes “old and outlandish”? And what is “popular”? It seems clear you associate “old” and “outlandish” as adjectives for bad movies, which I would argue, but hey, whatever. For example, their kung fu movie selection is pretty good. They are old and bad (and maybe outlandish) movies but if you like kung fu movies, you’ll be happy.

    If you’re not interested in seeing movies you’ve never seen or discovering new movies, then a subscription service like Netflix is a bad idea. Just rent them and you’ll come out ahead.

  4. Shawn Shawn February 4, 2011

    I’ve been using Netflix for awhile now, and frankly since it has so many streaming TV series I enjoy and lots of older movies I don’t see a reason to complain.

    I love movies, but if it takes 6 weeks or 6 years if I want to watch a film eventually I will. I’m not getting the impatience of some folks on this issue. Recently I even went to the strictly streaming service, so new release DVDs aren’t even available.. you know what.. I haven’t noticed.

    Streaming has also led me to discover some films I never would have otherwise. Most of them I truly enjoyed.

  5. Jen Jen February 4, 2011

    I really like the TV shows that stream. I’m not much of a TV watcher so I’ve been able to discover shows that I enjoy but missed when they were new or on-air.

  6. King Tom King Tom February 5, 2011

    We dumped cable when we moved/had the baby and got Netflix and we don’t really have any complaints (outside of a bad DVD or two). It would be nice if there was more available for streaming, but you have a great point, MT- unless it’s something you really really want to see, it doesn’t matter when you see it.

    I may take a look at Amazon’s service, but don’t anticipate switching. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when it takes off- if they can maintain a selection of new stuff without the studios/content providers complaining.

  7. Brian Brian February 5, 2011

    I thought I read that most of Netflix’s deals with the studios was up for renewal this year. Apparently Netflix got a steal when they first signed because Netflix wasn’t a big thing yet. Now that they’re huge, Hollywood will want some more cash so that might affect what movies get on Netflix.

    I think this year we’ll really see this space open up to alternatives beyond Netflix. I don’t have any qualms with Netflix up to this point, but if something better comes along that is as affordable and as easy to use as Netflix, I’d consider switching.

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