I have known for a little while that the Netflix movie service was going to open up shop in Canada. In the US Netflix is similar to Zip.ca here in Canada, you can choose movies and they will mail them to you. Actually it is really the the other way around, Zip.ca is similar to Netflix since Netflix started in the US before Zip.ca opened up here. The big difference between Netflix and Zip.ca is that Netflix offers streaming movies. Streaming movies straight to my living room is the service I was hoping for when I signed up for Zip.ca. Zip.ca announced a streaming service almost a year ago, but it has still not materialized. The day that Netflix finally opened their doors here in Canada and announce streaming movies is the day I signed up and cancelled my Zip.ca account. Zip.ca is a decent service for DVD’s by mail, but I see no reason anymore why I need plastic discs to watch a movie. Here are my impressions of the new Netflix in Canada streaming service so far.
Streaming! – Finally a streaming movie service in Canada. It is ridiculous that there are still services and DVD rental places moving plastic disks around. This is the way movies and TV on demand should be delivered! If the movie studios want to reduce piracy they need to make it easier to watch their content. Netflix provides an easy to use, instant streaming service. Before Netflix in Canada the next closest way to do this was to torrent the same content.
Wii, PS3 Support, Netflix Enabled Devices – There are lots of Netflix enabled devices available and most probably support Netflix Canada. We have a Wii and just got the disc the other day to use Netflix on the device. It is easy to use. While those that love their high quality 1080p HDTV might laugh at the quality the Wii puts out, it is decent enough to watch.
Windows and Mac support – Instant streaming to a Windows or Mac computer is simple. For those people that already have a media computer hooked up to their TV this will be the best way to watch Netflix.
Microsoft Silverlight! I am sure Netflix has a good reason for this, and it probably has everything to do with DRM. Honestly though, Microsoft Silverlight SUCKS! My one Windows computer that is in our kitchen for everyone to use just chokes and dies when I try to play Netflix on it. The machine is not that old, and does most things fine, but Silverlight causes it to crash and become unresponsive 98% of the time.
Windows and Mac Instant Streaming Only – Linux does not get instant streaming and probably has everything to do with DRM. This is an inconvenience but it will stop me from watching TV and movies at my desk.
No Android app – This is not surprising since Linux is not supported. Would be nice to have with the Samsung Galaxy Tab coming soon, and me thinking of getting one. 🙂
Selection – Their movie and TV selection is not full of all the latest and greatest. If you need to see the latest DVD release the day it comes out, then Netflix is probably not for you. But then again none of the DVD by mail services are really for you.
Affiliate Program – I have heard good things about the Netflix affiliate program, even though it is part of the Google Affiliate network. I wanted to join, but was turned down. I guess I do not get enough traffic. Just wanted to mention it since it just kind of ticked me off that they turned me down.
DRM – This is probably why there is no Linux support. Also the reason I cannot use my WD TV HD Live to stream Netflix. There is a WD TV HD Live Plus that does support Netflix, but from what I have heard so far Netflix Canada is still not actually supported. I will put up with this kind of DRM more than if I was buying a disc simply because the service offers unlimited streaming.
Netflix will not be for everyone, but it is a great service for those that want quick and easy access to TV and movies. Anyone that has ever gone to the video store with kids should get this service. No more screaming and arguing about what to rent, or maybe that is just me and my kids. The Netflix instant streaming is perfect for me and our family. While we stopped going to the video store when I signed up with Zip.ca, now with Netflix I no longer need to find movies to have queued to mail to us. I just browse and click. As their selection improves this will be the only way to rent movies soon.
If the movie studios are smart (and I doubt that some are) they need to realize that their DVD sales will never go back up to where they were and they need to get on Netflix instant streaming. The cost of Netflix is low and the fact that you can watch it instantly is better than downloading a movie (not that I have ever done that). If there is a movie or TV show that I really must have I will still go and buy a plastic disc of it, but I would much prefer a digital copy that I can just play.
The price of $7.99 in Canada for instant, unlimited streaming is nothing and it is faster and cheaper than the local video store. Not to mention you never have to worry about returning a movie or going out in -30 Celsius. If you add it all up it is probably the greenest way to watch a movie, but that is a whole other post. Enough writing, I am off to go watch another movie on my Wii.