US Brownie Day

Jan2014 09

Netflix is an American provider of on-demand Internet streaming media such as TV Shows and Movies and is available to North and South America, the Caribbean, United Kingdom, Northern Europe, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands.

The Good

What's not to like ? Thousands of movies and TV shows to choose from, streamed to your TV via any number of media devices or browsers including mobile (iOS/Android). When you rate the TV shows or movies that you just watched, Netflix gets better at recommending more things to watch. It's about discovery and this can also be strangely addictive, moving from one recommendation to another.

Not only the recommendations, they shows you what's popular on Netflix and also keep a very good track of where you're up to in a TV shows series or say if you start watching a movie on your TV and then stop it, you can very easily head to bedroom with the iPad and continue where you left off.

The Bad

So what's not to like ? Firstly, it isn't available and there is no sign of it coming to Australia, yet there are ways around that using third-party DNS switches or VPN services. Honestly, I think Telstra will do everything in their power to stop Netflix from coming to Australia. If they did, it would kill Foxtel overnight. Netflix uses bandwidth. This is something to be aware about. Unlike the US, where bandwidth is unlimited, we have our monthly quotas in Australia. So, not only is it costing you a monthly fee to access Netflix, but you're also using your download quota. Whilst it might not seen like much, we were doing about 7-9GB per day. There are settings in Netflix to change the quality, which can reduce this amount down, but like I said, something to be aware of. Not only that if you want a good viewing experience (ie. good quality, no buffering) you pretty much can't use the Internet for anything else.

Another aspect of Netflix is shows and movies expire. Netflix's licenses with the various studios runs out and so regularly movies / shows are removed. Thankfully, Netflix also gets new stuff, which they add each monthly.

The Ugly

The web browser requires Silverlight - Microsoft's failed equivalent of Adobe's Flash. The Silverlight app lacks proper controls and keyboard shortcuts. The only keyboard shortcut available to you is the Spacebar for Play/Pause. No ability to go back or forward, full-screen, etc - so you'll be using your mouse or touchpad to do all the navigating. The Silverlight app also has a tendency to get the video and audio out of sync and the only way to fix that is to close the thing you're watching and then reopened it again.

I was testing this on a Mac using Safari as it wouldn't let me use Chrome as it's an unsupported browser, which is weird because other Windows friends of mine use Chrome and don't have any issue. Perhaps this is just more proof that Chrome isn't Chrome on all platforms.

Anyway, all and all Netflix is a good streaming service with caveats.

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