So I hadn’t rented from Netflix in a while, and thought it was time to remedy that. Especially with most TV shows having a season finale in May. I was actually surfing the site for a while before I noticed the “Watch Now” tab at the top. It turns out that Netflix now has over 2,000 movies available for streaming. I was amazed that they never sent me so much as an email about this major new feature. I can only guess that since I wasn’t costing them any money, they didn’t want to remind me I had a subscription, which is pretty lame of them. So I now must punish them by making up for my dormancy.
The feature is pretty simple, find a movie and hit play. You need to download a proprietary player, but that’s all quick and painless. Harvey, a 4:3 black and white film looked good in full screen on my 21″ monitor. The Italian Job (Marky Mark version) also looked good (certainly Charlize Theron did), but at 2.35:1, it used maybe 1/3 of my screen. Video quality is based on bandwidth; my connection rated “high”, which is the best offered at 1.6 to 2.2+ Mbps.
There is a limit on viewing, you get 1 hour per dollar you pay monthly. So my discounted 4-DVD plan gives me 20 hours of viewing per month. A nice, cost-free bonus.
Update: Looks like there’s an 18 hour cap, despite their wording. And another problem is that I was “charged” 1h50m for The Italian Job, even though I watched at most 10 minutes of it. So know that you’ll be dinged for the whole movie, even if you watch just a part of it.
The selection is pretty small by Netflix standards, but if I hadn’t already seen so many films, it might appear better. Here’s a partial list of movies I gave 5 stars to, which are available for instant playing:
The Bridge on the River Kwai
A Clockwork Orange
Cool Hand Luke
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Dirty Dozen
North by Northwest
Run Lola Run
Strangers on a Train: Special Edition
Now some movies, if you watch them on a computer screen, should get your subscription canceled. I mean, The Matrix? But many shouldn’t suffer at all from small screen viewing. And if you really cared about quality, you would have seen it in the theater.