It’s been a long time coming, but Netflix has finally arrived here in the UK. Well, not like yesterday, it’s been here a couple of months now, but I’ve been giving it a try and thought I’d share my thoughts with you good people.
The reason I’m discussing Netflix and not something like Lovefilm is because of hardware compatibility. Both Netflix and Lovefilm will work on PC’s and consoles, but it seems that only Netflix supports the Android OS. Now, since I have Android on my beloved phone and can watch movies when I’m supposed to be working Netflix wins. One down side of both is that they’re in bed with Micro$haft and use Silverlight rather than Flash. This is a definite problem for Linux geeks like myself who can’t get Silverlight due to Microshaft douchbaggery. Worst comes to the worst and I simply must watch a movie on my Linux PC I’ll fire up a virtual machine with Windows in it.
Picture quality is a big thing now-a-days with all this new fangled HD stuff floating around. Personally I can’t see a bit of difference, but then I’m in the stone-age UK. If you choose a relatively new-ish release then you’ll get HD quality from Netflix (and you can alter the picture quality in the settings should you maybe be stuck for bandwidth) but choose an old movie which isn’t in HD and you’ll soon know about it. It’s like watching a video on a Commodore 64.
The choice of movies is another big factor, and in some ways Netflix shines. The Dark Knight? Nope, not on Netflix. In fact there are, surprisingly, no Batman films at all. Not even the early ones. Nude Nuns With Big Guns? Check! No Nightmare on Elm Street movies, no Friday the 13th movies either (not even the remakes) and no Godzilla. So although they’re definitely missing some big big movies, they do seem to shine with the sorts of lesser-known movies that we’d watch.
One strange thing though (no doubt something to do with licensing) is that you can watch Saw V and Saw VII, but there’s no Saw I to VI or Saw VI. Bizarre. Same with some TV series too. You’ll get early series, but not the new stuff, or vice versa.
There are some gems in there (checking some of our reviews against what’s on Netflix) such as Dead Set (which Alex reviewed right here), old 60’s animated episodes of Spiderman, House of 1,000 Corpses, My Bloody Valentine (the remake), Hobo With A Shotgun, Humanoids From The Deep, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Night of the Demons (1988), Machine Girl, Tokyo Gore Police, even through to more *ahem* unusual titles such as Hellraiser Inferno, Deader, and Hellseeker. No, none of the good first couple, only the crappy later ones.
One good thing about the site is that you can tailor its suggestions. Having run through a bazillion questions about genres and stories, the site will suggest films to watch again (things you’ve marked as already watched), films to watch based on <insert_film_title>, and films that fit particular genres that you like by combining them. So, if you like gory films and foreign films then the site will suggest gory foreign films. Nice!
Most of the time the suggestions are pretty good and hovering your pointer over a title will give you a little popup that will give you some basic info, with a link to more info, and a quick play button over the title cover. You’ll see what rating the site thinks you’d give it (like hell I’m giving Hellraiser Inferno four stars!) but you can either override that with your true rating (out of five) or you can dismiss the film by telling the site to forget it.
So, with all the down sides is Netflix worth it? I’d say so, yes. For six quid a month (other peoples with funny money can do their own conversion) you’re getting unlimited viewing. I can watch movies/TV on my Android device (phone/tablet), my Xbox, or on a non-Linux PC.
If you’ve used both, feel free to leave some comments about LoveFilm as, like I said, the only downside to them was a lack of Android support.