Monday, May 04, 2009

Netflix - It's a Love-Hate Thing

A little over 2½ years ago I signed up for Netflix. It was a joyous moment. I imagined all the cool movies I could have delivered right to my door. I made my queue of about 150 movies and sat by the mailbox. Today I got my 300th DVD from Netflix.

Without going back to look, I don't remember the first movie I got, but I'm sure it was great. (Okay, I went and looked. It was The Lake House). I've watched all sorts of stuff: westerns, dramas, documentaries, comedies, concerts, and all sorts of other things - things I'd probably not have bothered renting from a regular movie rental place. It was just so easy to click the "Add" button and have the DVD added to my queue. The things I wanted right now I moved to the top. The things that didn't matter I let sit quietly in the queue until they showed up in my mail box.

The joy didn't last long though. Oh, it wasn't Netflix's fault - not directly. Sure, I think that since they're sending out the DVDs they may be responsible, and I'll go into how they deal with their end of the problem later. The problem - scratched and broken DVDs. Broken ones are really rare, and I blame the USPS for that stuff. I expected a broken one from time to time based on my experience with the USPS. However, the scratched ones are my main gripe.

Just what the heck are the other Netflix users doing with these DVDs? Some of them look as if they've been used as an air-hockey puck at the local poolhall & gameroom. Seriously, how does this happen? Do they drop them and the scuff them across the floor when trying to pick them up? Do they put sandpaper skids in the tray of their DVD players? Are the other Netflix users using them for dinnerware? I don't get it. Do people really just abuse these discs because they think it doesn't matter? None of my personal DVDs have scratches, why do these?

Message to other Netflix users: Stop screwing up my DVDs before I get to watch them!

It's very irritating to be a 3rd of the way through a show to have everything freeze up or skip. At that point I usually remind myself that I should have probably made sure it was clean beforehand. So now I go through the process of ejecting the movie, cleaning the disc, starting the movie again and trying to get back to where it got stuck or jerky; all the while hoping that it will work this time.

Most of the time I can get the DVD to work. Sometimes I have to skip forward a bit to get to a working section of the movie. That's anonther aggravation, because I paid to watch the whole thing; if I wanted to miss parts of a movie I could have gone to the theater and got up to go to the restroom or get more popcorn just as the "best part" comes on.

So that's the "hate" part of the relationship. Sure, like any sort of endeavor there are bad parts. All in all, that's probably the worst of it, and Netflix is pretty nice about resolving the problem. You just log in, tell them the movie doesn't work and they'll send you a new one out. Of course you lose that day, but at least they don't make you send the defective one back before they send out a (hopefully) working copy.

Netflix is a great idea. In a perfect world it's a perfect solution to getting the movies I want to see. In a not-so-perfect world, it's a not-so-perfect solution, but I'm happy and I've saved a little money. I've also watch a lot more DVDs; I've considered turning off cable because of it too.

Well... that's probably enough of a commercial for Netflix. I'm not one to rant or rave about much, but did want to share.


Unknown said...

One word... ROKU

It's a little box you can buy through netflix that connects to your tv and pulls your instant que through a built in wireless connection. It allows you to watch anything in your instant que on the tv just as if you rented the dvd. the quality is decent and its free with your netflix service. i have 2 of them. you can watch half a show in one room and then go to the otehr room and the box will pick up right where you left off.

Jim Pankey said...

ROKU is the next thing I plan on doing! I look at it almost everyday. Maybe this month I'll be able to convince myself to buy it.

The Roku box might be the very thing to eliminate our cable bill.


bigsmithdude said...

i must be having better luck than you--in the 5 years i have been a netflix user i can only think of a couple that were scratched and had to be resent. i am just so thankful for all of the music dvd's that they currently stock--concerts, documentaries, instructional, etc. where else can you get that good stuff? i guess i'll take the good with the bad.

funny, i came across this blog after watching you play the banjo on youtube and now i am leaving you comments about netflix. gotta love the internet! :)