Netflix and the future of TV in our house

Posted: March 27, 2011 in computers, hardware, iphone, software, technology
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I signed us up for Netflix shortly after it was available in Canada, mostly due to a well played advertising campaign that allowed me to try it for a month free.  (you can check it out here) It was nearing Christmas time and I knew the kids would be around looking for things to amuse them, and typically they have a lot of time off to do absolutely nothing. Personally i’m all for making the kids go to school right up to the day before Christmas if for no other reason than to give them something to do other than drive parents nuts, but i digress.

We used Netflix a lot that first month.  I mean, TONS.  It was on all the time, whether it was on iPod/ iPhones/ Apple TV/ laptops/Xbox360 or the Wii, it seemed somebody somewhere in the house was watching something on it – if not more than one. Being able to start watching a show on one device and then switch to another and pick up right where you left off is genius.  The programs available may be a little behind the networks, but the list seems to be getting better and more current all the time.  Its not as good as what they offer in the USA but give it time, it is still in its infancy up here in the frozen north.

One of the things I love is the personal experience you seem to get.  I’ve had numerous emails asking about quality of programs we’ve watched and most recently an apology for the bad service one day.  In all fairness,  the picture didn’t seem overly bad that day compared to others, but many times that is due to our lousy internet out here, but i’m not going to get into that since I think i’ve beaten that topic to death over the past few years.

They offered a refund for 3% which basically amounts to a day free since the service wasn’t up to their standards.  I’m all for free.  The fact they offered it up without having to contact them to complain goes a long way in my books.  Its nice to deal with a company that is proactive instead of reactive when it comes to the service they are providing.  The little things like alerting you there is a problem with the billing for instance (I had changed credit cards associated with my paypal account), and then sending you an email informing you it is fixed, makes you feel like they actually care about you and are listening and responding.   Some of the bigwigs in the telecom world could learn a few things from them I say.

Speaking of which, Bell our current TV provider, may be in for a ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’ letter from me soon.  Quite frankly i’m tired of paying a ridiculous amount of money for “packages” that really don’t work for us.  Being forced to get 4 or 5 packages just to get the 20 or so channels we actually ever watch is just annoying.  If you could pick “a la carte” as the saying goes and create a custom package of channels I would be happier than being stuck with about 100 or more we never watch just to have the few we do want.

a welcome breath of fresh air

As for their lack of caring, when you have to call up and complain about the costs before they offer you any kind of deal, if at all, just goes to show they really don’t care about the customers.  Sometimes they will offer you ‘great’ deals if you sign a contract for a few years, but even at that, you have to basically tell them you are leaving before they offer anything remotely close to a reasonable price.  Probably because they know you only have one other place to go and there are as many unhappy customers over there switching back, so the overall numbers stay more or less the same.  That’s the great thing for them about having a duopoly, Especially one that likes to price fix rather than compete.  They really don’t even have to pretend to care.

As a matter of fact, my daughter and I were watching Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters” on Netflix as I was writing this.   I love learning about places I could never afford or have the opportunity to go to, and seeing my kids watching them too instead of the repetitive drivel that is so prevalent on satellite or cable TV, or watching crap because “there is nothing good on” at the moment makes it all that much better.  The ability to see what you want when you want is the way all media should be.  Sure, you could pay for On Demand programming, but when you are already shelling out a ton of money each month for so many channels, should you really have to pay more?  Why not just offer more customizable programming packages and include the On Demand part of the service in the basic cable/satellite package?

The writing is on the wall Bell.  And for you too Rogers.  You need to start to act like we are your customers and that you rely on us, instead of treating us like we need you and will put up with whatever crap you are dishing out.  We need more competition in the Canadian market place and hopefully Netflix is just the type of thing to shake it up a little, and inspire others to follow suit.


  1. Phillers says:

    Me too. We cut right back to basic cable and ditched the digital rental box since our TV has a built-in tuner (like all do). We watch Netflix pretty much every night. Selection is still limited compared to what U.S. customers get, but it’l get there we assume.


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