A few months ago I was raving about Netflix, an online movie rental service that enables you to use your letter carrier to get and return videos instead of wasting your precious time and gasoline.
And Netflix does constitute an improvement over other movie delivery channels, as I see it.
Cable and satellite force you to buy packages of movies at a high cost, or you must pay a premium price for individualized pay-per-view options.
Also, their selections are limited, while Netflix, and perhaps others like Blockbuster, can offer 60,000 or more titles at a time.
Still, Netflix has its problems.
Here are five drawbacks:
(1) You’ll only get one “product turn” on average, per seven-day week. I thought I’d be able to get two turns, but it hasn’t worked out this way, largely because Netflix warehouses don’t operate on Saturdays! So, if you return a title on Thursday or Friday, your next title may not ship until the following Monday or Tuesday, which means you’ll get a new movie that Thursday. So, you’re saving a small amount over video store rentals, but not that much.
(2) The recommendation system that Netflix has in place is faulty. You are encouraged to view and then rate movies and based on your evaluations they will suggest titles you might like. But when you see most of these tips, they’re way off the mark. At this moment Netflix is offering a million dollar prize to an inventor who can improve their recommendation system, and if you subscribe, you’ll understand why!
(3) Blame the mail service if you like, but I’m not sure why it is that Netflix doesn’t log in about 20-30% of my returns, promptly. Their sloth reduces my choices and increases the average cost of my rentals.
(4) Though there are 60,000 titles available, a surprising number are garbage. It takes forever to forage for satisfying rentals, and I almost always come up short, even after selecting known “hits” that I’ve viewed before. Foreign and independent films are on the list, but usually, they’re VERY OLD RELEASES. You won’t see much from recent film festivals, like Sundance and even Cannes.
(5) TV serials cost you as much to rent as movies. So, if you want to see some reruns of Masterpiece Theater or other BBC or PBS offerings, it’s incredibly expensive to order disk after disk. Netflix and others should find a way to discount these lower demand, backlist items.
I suppose my video woes are really a blessing in disguise, because I’m finding myself seeing more live theater, ballet, operas, and yes, even movies.
Plus, I’m rediscovering the joys of reading!