550 – The Council of Erias • 01


I really dig my Netflix. After subsidizing the whole of the Blockbuster for years with my late fees I was thrilled to be able to pay a smaller amount once a month to have all the movies I wanted brought directly to my door. (Blockbuster’s constantly changing rental policies more or less assured the fact that every movie I brought back to them was late. Well… that’s the story I’m going with anyway.)

With Netflix there were no late fees. I could keep a movie as long as I wanted… they didn’t care. The monthly fee was still less than I was paying in late fees, so I didn’t care either. It seemed like the perfect arrangement.

And then Netflix started streaming their video.

At first it was a bit rudimentary, the streams looked like really old VHS tapes you found in that closet that the air conditioning  doesn’t reach. They only played on Windows boxes. But gradually things improved. Netflix added Apple and started improving their technology, making the streams look better and play faster. Then they began adding other devices so that you could watch the streams on your TV, and improving the quality yet again to deliver high-definition images.

Not very long ago I saved up and got a Blu-Ray player that streams both Netflix and Pandora. It’s freaking awesome. The high-def Netflix streams are comparable to DVD quality, which is amazing in a video stream, and my $17 a month subscription covers as many movies as I’d care to watch. Now not everything is on the menu, but more and more stuff gets added every day, and Netflix has stated that streaming is their ultimate business model. No more postage, no more lost and broken disks. (Never really been a problem for me, but I guess it happens.) I’m thrilled.

So I started wondering, there are a lot of ways these days to get your movie experience delivered to you. Netflix, Wal-Mart, Blockbuster, Amazon, and iTunes are all in the streaming game now, though Netflix and iTunes seem several years ahead technologically. There are video rental stores, red-box and now “blue-box,” and hundreds of flavors of cable, satellite and pay-per-view set-ups. Lots of folks still buy outright their favorite stuff, while even more illegally pirate it.

The Monday Question:

So what about you? How do you get your videophile fix, and why do you like it the best? What makes it the right choice for you?

38 Responses to 550 – The Council of Erias • 01

  1. being deaf really narrows my movie entertainment, I tried a number of diffrent sites, Stream-Onlinemovies moviestreams netflix yet none of them offer closed caption / subtitles on streaming videos. So for now Ill just have to do with Hulu.com wich seems to be the ONLY site that offers subtitles on anything (other then anime)

    I dont like blockbuster much either but I don’t like waiting for movies to come in by mail so Ill be using them for the larger titles

  2. I have Netflix and augment them with Blockbuster. I’m on the 3 movie plan and have multiple locations that I stream to. I have an old laptop with a broken screen hooked to one TV as a media PC (it was given to me and my TV has VGA in — great combination). I have an XBox 360 in another room. I’ve also streamed to my desktop and my laptop on occassions. Then, we usually have 3 movies waiting to be watched. And, for new releases that have a “Give it up” wait in the queue, we’ll pick them up from Blockbuster and drop them from our queue.

    Our Blockbuster has now gone to this weird 1-day or 5-day pricing model for new releases. And instead of a late fee, you just pay for extra days. I’ve considered the Blockbuster version of Netflix since you can exchange in the store, but I really like the Netflix streaming movies, too (even if they are cheesy old movies).

    • I always felt like Blockbuster was trying to confuse me with all the changes. It seemed as though every time I went in they had changed their policy again. I suspect that they make a great deal of money on late fees, (or “paying for extra days” if that sounds better to them) but even without that I can only rent 3 movies from Blockbuster for what I pay Netflix to typically rent 12.

  3. Back when I still had the option, my movie watching method of choice was the Starship. A local movie theater that played films a couple weeks after the regular theaters got them, with an admission price of $2. Sometimes they’d have a promotional deal and could get in free. Naturally, all their profits came from concession sales, but even then their prices were pretty reasonable. Sadly,place got torn down a while back.

    Now, I go to Movie Gallery. I used to work there back when it was a Video Update. It’s fairly convient for me to get to, their prices are decnt, and the manager is a second cousin. I don’t get a discount or anything, but gives a vice feeling to support a family member, even if is a distant one.

    But the real reason I go there? They have porn. Now, I don’t rent much porn there, get most of what I want online. But since most of the other places around here censor every damn thing on the vauge chance it might offend someone, never carrying NC-17 titles and rather skitish about R, figure will support the one place that at least gives the option.

    • I don’t remember the name of it, but there is a by mail video service that operates exactly like Netflix, only all they carry is porn. If your usage was that heavy, it might be just the ticket.

  4. Movies are my biggest source of geekery. I LOVE MOVIES!!! The dialogue, the cinematography, the direction, the acting, the score and soundtrack, the effects, EVERYTHING. If I had the time and resources, I would see almost every movie that is released in theaters. I prefer to see movies in the theater, because that’s where they’re meant to be seen. However, the price of tickets and the inconvenience of showtimes has forced me to settle for seeing all but huge, special-effects-laden films at home.

    For a long time I also kept Blockbuster in business with my late fees. Although, more often than not, I exploited their lack of networked computers (idiots) by eventually incurring late fees at one location, then leaving that location for a new location and not returning until the fees had been charged off (about 6 months). I would store-hop in this manner as often as necessary. Considering that there’s a Blockbuster on practically every corner, especially after they acquired my previous favorite, Mega Video, this wasn’t hard to do. Then they got smart(ish), did away with late fees, and offered an unlimited rental option. Man, I was there best customer then! I was on a first-name basis with the clerks at my local store. For a short while I fell on some really hard times and had to let the unlimited membership lapse. When I returned a few months later, they had DOUBLED the charge for unlimited rentals, while pushing their online service. I was intensely dissatisfied with this development, so I jumped ship to Netflix. And I have never looked back.

    I quickly became obsessed with Netflix, spending hours browsing through their movie listings and star-rating movies. It took me less than a week to discover that, lo and behold!, your queue maxes out at 500 movies. I was adding movies left and right because I had a long list of to-see movies. Originally I was on the 3-at-a-time plan because I was watching and returning movies as fast as I was getting them, but I recently downgraded to the 1-at-a-time plan with unlimited Instant Watch, because my movie-watching has slowed down considerably. Currently there are 484 movies in my DVD queue and 305 in my Instant Watch queue. 🙂

    • And yet you hate television.

      I’m totally laughing about the 500 movies in your queue. Especially with a one at a time membership. That’ll last a while!

      September is my birthday month, and I’m planning on spending one entire day (don’t think I could handle more than that) watching Netflix streaming. Probably 30 Rock or something like that, but I’ll make up my mind then.

  5. I don’t really like movies, so I just jump on whatever (theaters or rented or buy it if it’s cheap) whenever I see something I feel like watching. I’ve got a queue of about 5 movies I’ve been meaning to watch for … somewhere around 8 months now.

    I’ve watched one of them.

  6. Most of the rest of my family was on netflix before I finally gave it a try. If I watch and return the movie the next day I get two a week, and it is no problem if it takes me five days before I get around to watching one. The streaming is nice for when I decide to binge on a series, though you lose the language/subtitle options. I enjoyed watching Ultraman with English language and subtitles, and seeing the wild discrepancies when they changed units of measure without doing the mathmatic conversions. in another 30 years I’ll probably watch it again. 😉

  7. We generally rent the movies that look good, Watch the AMAZING ones in theatres, and just wait for the mediocre ones to come on tv.

  8. I have netflix delivered through the mail, as well as stream through the X-Box 360. In fact, as I type this my daughter is watching the Legend of Zelda cartoon show from the 80’s on my 360. I love that machine. Even though it’s died on me twice. It’s a love/hate thing. We also have cable, but the only thing we watch is either cartoons for the kids (and myself, I will admit) or the military channel. I do love my military channel.

    • I heard an interesting statistic the other day. I can’t remember the actual numbers so I’m going to fudge it.

      A majority… somewhere just north of fifty percent… of all X-Box 360s in households have failed now and needed to be repaired. Of those owners who have experienced failure and had to send their X-Box in for repair, most… I think it was around 60%… say they would purchase another X-Box if theirs proved irreparable.

      This seems really weird to me, but I guess folks just like their games!

      • Being a hard-core gamer since I was six, yeah, I understand. I would totally buy a new one. I don’t know, it’s a pretty sweet game machine, with the online and all and the fact that I can watch netflix on it just sweetened the deal. Never played a PS3, but I’m not opposed to giving it a shot if I ever have an extra thousand bucks lying around to get one.

        • Sony just released the new, slim version of the PS3, all the gaming goodness of the old version, Blu-Ray, 150 GB hard drive, and $100 less!

  9. FUCK Y’ALL CORPORATE WHORES. Just kidding, don’t kill me!!! Don’t you feel sorry for your local videostore? Maybe you don’t have one. I didn’t in Sacramento. Went to Blockbuster. Now I live in Davis where there is one, and I get my movies from Netflix cause they’re cheap and I’m poor. But when that fails, I am VERY proud to go to my little independent 49er Video which is staffed and owned entirely by movie lovers who are watching their way of life die. Does it worry you a little bit? Kind of like the newspapers dying? It worries me, how the corps are finally taking complete control of all media. I mean, THEIR TASTE SUCKS! But they just create a gap that the free media rushes in to fill so I guess it’s OK. Let’s all look forward to the day when they finally ruin Hollywood forever and we all go to see plays performed by kids cause it’s better:)

    • Aside from the little mom/pop stores going out of business – I see this as a good thing. The path we are on is for streaming video to be the main source of video. This allows everyone to bypass the distribution and politics of getting your movie seen. I see this as opening a big budding filmmakers door to the masses. If your stuff is any good, people will talk. You won’t be stifled because the new Bradjolina movie coming out has a similar plot than yours.

      And, I could care less about the newspapers dying. Never cared to read them much. Now I can get all the news I want, for free, on my computer from different sources and get a truer picture of what is going on in the world – not just one countries view.

  10. Usually go to the theatre. If it’s a really good movie, or I want a good classic or cult film, I go to Amazon.com and look at the used movies section. They’re super cheap, usually in great condition, and you can get a break on shipping if you buy a lot from the same vendor. Plus, it the oldie-but-goodie wasn’t quite as cool as I thought it was way back then, then I can go to the DVD trade-in store and sell it for nearly what I paid for it. The ones I want to keep are mine forever. No late fees.

  11. i usually pirate first run movies to watch then the ones i like i buy on dvd when they come out
    i usually like fantasy movies or historical i also watch alot of kid movies (i have 3 girls)

    heh gramma’s cookies is effing funny
    i had to fight an aboleth once (im assuming thats what it is) i ended up killing a party member that was controlled by it
    the other player wasn’t too happy about that though
    oh well stuff happens

  12. Yarr, booty and rum! Bring me my eyepatch!

    I excuse myself with the fact that I have no monies. I don’t really give a crap about the movie makers, though, so…? Seems to me they’re well in the black and probably will continue to be as long as there are self-conscious humans and the piratey goodness continues to be illegal:P