Netflix Archives (3 posts)

Netflix Canada Picks

Midnight in Paris

There have been quite a few good releases on Netflix Canada lately. You may have missed these films when they were in theatres or maybe you’ve never heard of them. If you’re looking for something to watch then I suggest you take a look at:

There are also a few turds that I wouldn’t mind checking out. Who knew that Dolph Lundgren and Steven Segal were still busy making B-Movies?

There are a lot of great films and TV series on Netflix that I want to watch. Netflix seems like such a great deal but how much do you actually use the service? I would love to be watching more Netflix but Mad Men, The Killing and Game of Thrones just started up again. Add to that mix the daily DVD release schedule, more television, feature films and rentals and I’ve run out of viewing time.

Posted in Netflix at 12:40 AM Review Using Bell Internet


I recently said that Netflix is the future of home video based on my experience of using the service here in Canada. I’m not surprised that 20 percent of primetime US bandwidth consists of Netflix traffic. The user experience is excellent. To borrow one of Steve Jobs’ favourite phrases, “it just works.”

How I Access makes it very easy to use their service in Canada by giving you a number of options. I access the service using:

  • a Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony Bravia TV (32-inch LCD)
  • a Mac Pro (Quad-Core Intel Xeon) with 27-inch LED Cinema Display
  • iPad

I should mention that I’m using Bell Internet’s Fibe 12 service with download speeds of up to 12 Mbps. The Netflix Tech Blog published some information on the top ISP networks in the US where the top HD streams were 4,800 kbps. Rogers leads in Canada with a very fast 3,020 kbps average.

User Interface

I like the simplicity of the Netflix user interface which seems to be fairly consistent from PlayStation to iPad to the website. You can browse movie titles by genre, new arrivals or by letting suggest titles for you that I found to be fairly accurate. Browsing seems to be fastest in a web browser and the iPad for me. Using the PS3 to navigate the screens and search for movie titles was a little clunky but that might have something to do with me being a 42-year-old and not an adolescent gamer.

Set Up

Setting up an account was fast and painless. I love that Netflix accepts PayPal for your monthly fee. Once you’ve confirmed your username and password you can use up to 6 unique devices for use with your account. This is where Netlfix has a huge advantage over similar movie services from the Sony PlayStation Store, and others – it’s not chained to specific hardware.

User Experience

The best thing about Netflix is the ease of use in the interface and the speed at which you can access movies. With my set up it takes about two seconds to stream a movie – no lengthy Blu-ray loading times, no annoying movie trailers, no DVD layer changes, no waiting. This is the number one reason that Blu-ray discs are already obsolete.

While watching movies and television shows I have never had a buffering problem or interruption (waiting for video to load and continue playing). I haven’t tested this while somebody else was using my home network to download a file or watch a YouTube video. My understanding of Netflix works is that it will adjust the quality of your video stream to ensure that it continues to play.

Scanning through a movie is easier and better than scanning through a Blu-ray and DVD in my opinion. Netflix displays thumbnail images of the frames that enable you to quickly find a particular scene.

Netflix scanning

If you don’t finish watching a movie or show, Netflix remembers where you left off and lets you resume watching at a later time. I never could get this to work properly on my Blu-ray player and it would aggravate me to end that I had to skip through the trailers and menus. I suppose that if I read the manual I could have figured it out but who reads manuals these days?

Netflix resume feature

Audio and Video Quality

The audio and video quality of most of the programming is excellent. Not everything streams in high definition but when it does it looks great. I’ve been watching the show Justified and if you look at the screen capture below, the quality is quite good.


Unfortunately when I watched Saturday Night Live: The Best of Christopher Walken the video was standard definition and the quality was horrible! The video was encoded poorly revealing jaggies. You can’t really see the aliasing in the video capture below but it is quite noticeable during playback on a television screen.

Christopher Walkin

No Extras

There are no extras. No director’s commentary track. No featurettes. No online games. Nothing. If you want extras then rent/purchase the disc.

When I find the time, I enjoy watching a favourite film with the director’s commentary. Sometimes I’ll watch the extras on a DVD or Blu-ray disc but most of the time the extras suck. The movie studio marketing departments often pass of featurettes and documentaries as value-added extra features to justify the inflated price of a $30 3-disc special edition. Most of us just want to watch the $10 discount bin version of the movie which could be why Blu-ray disc sales are on the decline and Netflix is enjoying huge growth in its subscriber base.

If you’re still not convinced that Netflix is for you then try it out for free. You really can’t lose. Thanks to Paul for asking about my Netflix viewing experience which led to this review.

Posted in Movies and Netflix and Technology at 8:49 PM

Netflix Is The Future of Video

I’ve been writing about the demise of Blockbuster for quite a while. After finally spending a couple of months using Netflix, I’m convinced more than ever that Blockbuster is sinking faster than ever.

I’m hearing about more and more Blockbuster stores closing around the Toronto area. I have two stores within 5 minutes of me and they see to be going strong but, Netflix, iTunes, cable, satellite TV and other online video services have to be eating into their revenues in a big way.

The only advantage Blockbuster has over its competitors is its inventory of the latest DVD and Blu-ray titles. The movies on Bell TV and cable are always months behind the latest DVD releases. iTunes has a lot of the latest titles but I still think they are expensive and I have to pay for the bandwidth.


Netflix For $7.99 A Month

For unlimited viewing at $7.99 a month, Netflix is the best deal in town. I can watch movies on my TV via a Sony PlayStation, my iPad, or my desktop Mac. All 3 viewing experiences are flawless and give me the greatest flexibility.

Blu-ray and DVD Is Dead

I love that I don’t have to watch a series of ads every time I want to watch a movie on Netlfix. As soon as I select a film it starts to stream without any nonsense.

I hate that I have to skip through a series of menus every time I watch an over-priced Blu-ray disc. If I’m paying a premium for a bloated 3-disc movie (with a DVD I don’t want), why do I have watch commercials and jump through hoops for 5 minutes? No wonder people pirate movies instead of paying for them.

DVDs and Blu-ray discs won’t last for long after Blockbuster Video is put to rest. The viewing experience with Netflix is so much better than Blu-ray because:

  • you don’t have to leave the house to rent a movie
  • you never have to return the movie or pay late fees
  • viewing is nearly instantaneous
  • movie rentals are inexpensive

Netflix Isn’t Perfect (Yet)

The biggest complaint with Netflix in Canada is that the selection sucks. Rubbish. Netlfix doesn’t have the latest blockbuster movies but it has a huge selection of films to choose from. I’ve found a lot of films that I want to watch and probably wouldn’t be able to find at my local Blockbuster - foreign, documentary, independent and TV shows.

I would love it if Netflix had all of the latest movie releases but I’ve found that there are so many great films available that I want to watch that I really can’t complain about the selection. Consider that my current movie viewing comes from the following sources:

  1. movie theatre
  2. film festivals
  3. DVD screeners
  4. Blockbuster
  6. Netflix
  7. Bell TV
  8. iTunes
  9. DVD and Blu-ray purchases
  10. DVD and Blu-ray discs borrowed from friends/family

I find it impossible to keep up with the number of movies that are available to me on a daily basis. Until Netflix beefs up its library of titles, you won’t hear me complaining.

Posted in Netflix at 11:59 PM