Archive for July, 2010

Netflix : Growing Into Its Name.

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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Netflix is one of those wildly successful endeavors that you never hear much about. From time to time I guess, but we get a thousand times more Lindsay Lohan news by my count. Since its inception in Los Gatos, CA back in 1997 though, Netflix has quietly invented the superior mouse trap as it pertains to video distribution… and in so doing, has shepherded Blockbuster, their main competitors, down the road to bankruptcy, where many anticipate a Chapter 11 filing sometime here in 2010.

Netflix

For the uninitiated, I have the cheapest subscription that Netflix offers which is $9 per month which allows me (1) DVD out at a time. When I return this DVD (in the provided SASE) they send me the next one. If you watch the DVD and return it within 24 hours, this amounts to approximately 90 rentals a year at a cost of $108. The same amount of rentals from my local Blockbuster would come to $400 plus gas, time and any possible “late” fees, all issues that are non-existent with Netflix.

But we’re only just getting started… one of the key elements that makes Netflix the king of the roost is their superior website coupled with their non-invasive email feedback system… the website serves up well over 100,000 titles in an extremely easy to navigate interface… and if you interact with the site in terms of answering the specific questions it asks you pertaining to content you’ve recently viewed… the site smartly offers you choices that are more “educated” at the top of any and all search queries. The only times I’ve had to dig on this site were the times I was looking for a movie that was recommended to me or is otherwise off the beaten path… From there you save movies to your “queue”, and this becomes the list that Netflix automated shipping facilities use to send you your discs, one after the other.

But there’s more… and this is the real kicker… Consider the name Netflix. These guys intent from day one was to deliver movies over the internet… hence the name. That was some real forethought for 1997 when you think about it. Here in 2010, that aspiration is well on its way to becoming reality… what could the shelf-life of physical DVD’s be anyway? For those of you with a broadband internet connection and devices capable of Netflix streaming (All 3 major gaming consoles, hundreds of models of A/V gear like Bluray players and HDTV’s as well as most computers with an OS that’s within a couple years old), there’s currently tens of thousands of titles on Netflix that can be streamed instantly. And this is on top of the 90 physical DVD’s you get and doesn’t cost a dime more. I watch numerous TV series using the streaming as well as more movies over three different devices in my house… It’s amazing and adds to the value tremendously.

Once you’ve watched a movie over the stream you’ll occasionally receive an email asking you how the picture quality was. The email will offer three choices… click on one and a screen will appear that thanks you, that’s all there is to it… you’ll also receive emails inquiring as to what day a physical DVD was delivered on as they continue to tweak their network in an attempt to get those DVD’s to you as fast as possible.

So that’s it for now… a quick tour of Netflix for any of you that have been curious about it without yet having taken the plunge.