11 October, 2008

Blockbuster can suck it

I must say that I am pleasantly surprised with Netflix.  I have been a diehard Blockbuster fan for quite some time.  Their Total Access package always seemed to give me the best bang for my buck; that was when I lived right down the street from a Blockbuster, back in Independence.  My best friend and part time lover swore that Netflix was a better deal, but I never listened to her.  We had the best of both worlds, anyway.
When I moved to Rolla, it was even sweeter, because they started sending me coupons for a free game twice a month.  And with their ‘no late fees’ I could keep a game for about three weeks before they charged me a restock fee, and I am usually bored with a game in that time, anyway.  By then I was ready to get another game.  It was nice.
I never would have thought that Huntsville would be worse off than Rolla in anything other than crime and traffic.  I was shocked when I saw that in all of the metropolitan area there were only two Blockbusters from which to choose.  And the one in Madison (still a twenty minute drive but the closest one) had such a sorry selection of Blu-Ray movies that I thought I was back in 2002.  And this franchise doesn’t offer any of the perks to which I had grown accustomed.
Add that to the fact my car is on it’s last lug nut, and Blockbuster seemed less and less attractive.
So, I decided to give Netflix a try.  I knew they let you stream movies to the computer, but I figured the quality must suffer.  I was willing to check it out, though, since I have pretty large monitors and the trial was free.  I wouldn’t want to watch movies on a regular sized monitor.  Though I used to watch the Colbert Report and the Daily show on my little iPAQ, they were mostly dialogue.  I need to be able to see the screen to enjoy a movie.
So I signed up, and I was shocked to find out just how good the quality of the downloads are.  And fast.  Literally within seconds of me downloading the viewer (it is Windows Media Player based) I was watching a series from Sci-Fi called Surface that caught my eye.  The quality seems better than my Tivo.  I don’t know if it is because my Tivo has to translate to analog or not, but I do know that I was impressed with Netflix.
Their Blu-ray selection is better than Blockbuster, I think, and their website runs much better, faster, and smoother.  And the selection of downloadable movies and television series I get is incredible.  I get all of that plus three movies at a time in the mail for only 15 bucks or so.  A much better value, and way more convenient than driving to blockbuster to trade in my mailers for in-store selections.
Now, instead of multitasking with my laptop in front of the TV (sitcoms are great, but they don’t require ALL of my brain) I can work at the desktop on one monitor while I have a show playing on the other.  I have already watched all of the first season of Jericho and I am starting on Dead Like Me.  
I was warned in advance that not all the episodes of every series are available for download, and it was nice to see that Netflix warned me also.  It was an easy fix to order the remainder to be delivered.  Netflix in the mail is also faster than Blockbuster, so I will have them before I get done with the first part of the season.  Even if I am a dedicated slacker.
Now if they would just let me stream to my PS3.  I could stream to an XBox, which I don’t have, or there is a device I could purchase for another 100 bucks, but I will wait and see.  I could get movies from Amazon on my Tivo, but the deal is kind of a rip-off,comparatively.  For now I am very happy with the entertainment value I can get from Netflix.
Sisyphus was not compensated for this entry in any way.

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