Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Netflix on your Xbox Review

So, with the new live experience came the capability to merge a netflix account and stream the movies you normally would have on your computer, from your xbox. The only problem is that hardcore and even casual gamers are more apt to sign up for this simply for the streaming videos, who needs DVD's mailed to you if you can just download a movie instantly to your xbox. I am taking the 2 week trial to inform anyone who doesn't want to do the same, what it's all about.

The biggest question I think is on everyone's mind is how the streaming movies compare to the DVDs they mail you. On the Netflix site you see that

"There are over 12,000 movies & TV episodes available to watch instantly,
but very few are new releases. It's a separate, smaller library from our over
100,000 DVD titles."
Now when you look at the DVDs you can be mailed, these movies jump out at me: Ironman, Sarah Marshall, Leatherheads, Clone Wars, American Gangster, Charlie Wilson's War, etc. Just so you get my point, its basically the new release wall you would see walking around blockbuster or Family video, if it's been released on DVD, most likely netflix has it as a DVD mail. Now you glance over at the instant options, and your looking at a very different list: Jackass 2.5, No Country for Old Men, Ratatoulie, Dan in Real Life, Team America World Police, Superbad, Nat.Treasure Book of Secrets, etc. So your limited to more of the middle of your local video rental store options. (I think I tried to pick every single recently released blockbuster I saw) You will find the bulk of these as 1980-1990 releases. Apparently picked at random. Some instant stream classics I have queued are Cool Hand Luke, Red Dawn, Dog Day Afternoon, and Deliverance.

I should add that new instant movies are added randomly and daily. After signing onto Netflix on Day 2 I saw Superbad joined the ranks. So maybe after 2 weeks there will be a whole new list of movies you can stream. When looking further into the website it would seem that this is all reliant on movie contracts which are stricter when it comes to streaming.
While movie studios and television networks have great flexibility in what they
offer on DVD, there are many limits to what they can make available to watch
instantly due to long standing contractual obligations.
Our library of choices available to watch instantly is growing every month, but there will be much greater selection available on DVD for a long time to come.
So for $8.99 a month (The cost for 1 DVD to be mailed at a time) you can get unlimited viewing of a random spattering of old and new movies, and a plethora of horrendous failed attempts at cinema. I didn't really even mention sitcoms in my review, because its even more random. On DVD's you can get Always Sunny, Arrested Development, Entourage, Curb your Enth. And for instant you can get British or American The Office, 30 Rock, The munsters, Good Morning Miss Bliss, Coach, and Charles in Charge. Realize that is just a random grab bag of things I think you guys would be interested in. As you can see its hit or miss if you will be receiving these things as a stream.

After the 2 week I will have to decide if it is worth the purchase. Odds are if Showtime didn't have Dexter, Californication, and Weeds, I would probably use netflix instead because netflix is pretty much the On Demand movie libraries of Cinemax, HBO, Starz, and Showtime combined. At 1/5th the price.

EDIT: I would like to add that I should review on performance as well. The movies take a bit to load (1-2 minutes), but once they are running it is smooth throughout. Unless, that is, you want to rewind or fast forward (even 5-10 seconds back) it rebuffers your movie and that takes up to 30 seconds (feels like a lifetime) . You can skip ahead chapters of what seems like 5-10 minute segments, but as soon as you hit the skip button you begin rebuffering.

Also, it mentions HD streams, but your options here are ultimately worse then non-HD, and the quality isn't very noticeable. The only HD I saw fit to queue was Vince Vaughn's Wild Wild West comedy tour. (and Perfect 10 boxing, lol)

You can queue up from what I can tell an unlimited number of instant streams on the Netflix website, they are instantly viewable on your xbox, and you can choose any one of them and begin play, rate, and remove it when your done. (Netflix apparently uses your ratings to update it's Suggestions widget. Much like Pandora, but less usefull)


Gregor said...

Crap, I knew I forgot to do something last night...

Anyways, "Good Morning, Miss Bliss" was the first unofficial season of Saved By the Bell. Read all about it here!

MrB said...

too many other distractions... i'll watch movies but they aren't a priority at all... and by not a priority I mean they're not video games...