Cheap Dave's Home Theater


NETFLIX - Having the ultimate DVD collection 3 movies at a time

OK I have used NETFLIX before. I quit it when I realized the movies were spending way too much time sitting around the house waiting to get mailed. But that was my fault not theirs. I signed back up and resolved to do better at sending them back.

OK I have used NETFLIX before. I quit it when I realized the movies were spending way too much time sitting around the house waiting to get mailed. But that was my fault not theirs. I signed back up and resolved to do better at sending them back.

So let me explain how NETFLIX works and how you can use it to make sure you always have something good to watch. Basically having NETFLIX is like having HBO but you are in charge of programming. You select you movies online from over 60,000 titles. You arrange them in any order you want and they send them to you. The most common plan is 3 movies at a time for about $17 a month (there are often deals and free trials). You can watch them and send them back one at a time or all together. As soon as they get a movie back the next one on your list is mailed. They have regional distribution centers so the movies come pretty fast. If you mail a movie by Monday you will ge the replacement by Wednesday or Thursday. So with 3 movie you could basically have a new movie every day (if you were better at getting them mailed than I am).

So I would like to compare NETFLIX to the premium movie channels and the video store. I have had HBO and the other premium movie channels but I think they end up ruining movies. How is that? Well you flip around the channels and stop on a movie on HBO and the odds are you miss the beginning. So you watch part of the middle. And then later in the month you see the end and somewhere along the line you see the beginning (and suddenly a lot of things make more sense). So in the month you end up seeing the whole movie but you never get the full experience. So in the end you know the whole plot but whatever emotional impact is gone. Tivo helps improve this or even "On Demand" but you have to be more diligent and you still aren't really picking from a large quantity of movies.

The other option is the standard video store. One of the video chains is running a funny commercial right now which takes a shot at NETFLIX (that tells you know how serious the competition is). It shows a couple curling up on the couch ready for a Saturday night movie and he has "Killer Clowns" and she says what else do you have? "Killer Clowns 2". It is funny and it does give you the possible downside of NETFLIX, matching your picks to your moods. But i have had that experience and worse at the video store. After spending 30 minutes or more trying to find a movie by reading the box of the boxes, you end up with something that doesn't match the description and is just a horrible waste of time.

So you have to think about how to balance your NETFLIX Queue. YOu can sort and shuffle your list anyway you want. So it you go on a tear with spaghetti westerns don't put them all in a row. Mix it up. Throw in some comedies or even some classic British TV comedies. Plus you also have your DVD collection.

With 60,000 titles you have about the entire DVD catalog to chose from. I find the NETFLIX and IMDB (Internet Movie Database http://imdb.com) are a powerful combination. I have been addicted to IMDB for years. I have used it to find movies, read reviews and find out: who is that guy and what else was he in. But IMDB also has a great rating system and lists of top movies. It has the top 250 movies of all time and breaks that down to the top 50 comedies of the 80's as voted by women etc. So if you go down these lists you might surprise yourself how many you have seen but you will also find some gems that you have missed.

So I have pretty much seen all of the top 50 all time movies (I still haven't seen the Godfather movies, I know they are top rated but I am not much of a gangster movie guy). Even if you don't like subtitles and black and white movies you have to see some of the movies on the list like "M". There is a reason they are so highly rated.

So the reason I decided to write this now is that we saw a great movie from Israel last night. Ushpizin. I am still digesting that movie and will write my review shortly. But it was one I never would have rented at the video store and it would never make it on HBO. Also it was my wife's pick on NETFLIX. I will have a hard time topping that one. But with IMDB and NETFLIX I have enough choices to make it interesting.