In Canada, we recently got the Netflix service. I’m using it via Xbox Live, some of you might be using the other devices to access it. I’ve been using it for about three weeks as part of their one month free trial. It’ll be $8 a month after that. At the beginning it sounded like an awesome deal. Eight dollar a month for unlimited access to movies and TV shows. Given that there was a one month free trial, it was easy for me to decide to give it a try.
Once I signed up and began browsing the selection on my Xbox 360, it was quickly evident that perhaps $8 wasn’t that awesome of deal. Simply put, the selection of films and TV shows on Netflix in Canada sucks compared to American Netflix. On Canadian Netflix, don’t even bother looking for any movies that were released in the last year or so. The newest set of movies appears to be mostly from 2008. There is the rare movie or two that’s available from 2009 but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. For example, one of the latest “new releases” in the movies section was Jennifer’s Body, which I admit was released in 2009, but isn’t exactly a cinematic masterpiece. Most of their selection appears to be from 2008 and older, sometimes much older. Another problem is that most of their movies aren’t that good. You’d expect to see any of the Lord of the Rings movies available but they are not. There seem to be a ton of B-movies that are of dubious entertainment value.
The selection of TV shows is a bit better and that’s where I’ve done most of my viewing. Again though, you can’t expect to see the latest shows on Netflix. You’d think that shows from last season would be online by now but most of them are not. Some shows aren’t even available at all, even if there are several years old. I’d love to see all the episodes of 30 Rock from season one on but that show isn’t available. Strangely, the last season of Saturday Night Live is though. I was able to enjoy all the episodes of Hoarders in season one. I also watched a few episodes of American Chopper from 2003.
My one month free trial is coming to an end this week and I’m still undecided if I’m going to continue my subscription and start paying. Have I watched more than $8 worth of entertainment so far? If I were to compare how much I’d have to spent at the video store to get access to the same amount of shows and movies I watched, then the answer would be yes. The convenience alone was probably worth $8 and some of the shows I viewed probably wouldn’t even be at my local video store. Now here’s the interesting thing, I could have downloaded everything I watched using torrents for the price of free. Now I admit Netflix was more convenient and saved me time. Instant streaming is much easier than having to search for a torrent and then download it, not knowing how many seeders and peers might be out there. Again, perhaps $8 is a small price to pay for convenience.
In the end, there really wouldn’t be that much of a debate if the selection was a bit better. Netflix Canada is great for anyone who was in a coma from 2000 to 2006 and then woke up and wanted to watch really average movies. For those who have US Netflix, I envy you!