How much does unlimited TV and movie streaming cost? To us, it’s $22.98 a month (with Blu-Ray) or $275.76 a year.
I’ve been a long-time Netflix subscriber since 2005, and there was a time when I’d spend some of my downtime just sifting through the Netflix movie lists and constructing my Netflix queue with great care. It’s a fun pastime and a nice way to relax. On occasion, I also enjoy reading people’s comments about some of the movies I’m eyeing to rent.
So do you have Netflix? If not, and you happen to be a movie buff like most of my family and several friends are, then this movie rental service is something to strongly consider.
Netflix Review: How It Works
Admittedly, we’re pure couch potatoes here, so when we heard about Netflix in the early 2000′s, we thought about trying it out someday. Well actually, my spouse wanted to sign up while I wondered if it was worth the bucks. After all, back then it cost $18.00 a month (more on the charges later) to be a member. We eventually went ahead and tried it, and here we are, so many years later, still managing our movie queues.
How does Netflix work? The quick and basic description is this: you set up a movie queue or list of movies you want to watch. You can either receive the DVDs via mail or via instant streaming. If you’re opting for the DVD plan or channel, then each time you return a DVD, you’ll get a new one sent out. So you can watch DVDs as much as you want each month for the flat fee. What’s cool is that you can hold on to a movie as long as you want (there are no due dates) and you are not charged anything more than the monthly subscription fee. So you’re in full control of how you want to peruse the service. Now if you’re using streaming (which is where on-demand viewing is headed), then you can put your shows on your Instant Queue. If you’ve got this set up, you can then view your Instant Queue immediately.
If you’ve got an unlimited plan at higher price points, you’ll get a whole lot more out of the service. You can pretty much watch shows instantly (you no longer need to wait for anything via snail mail) as much as you want, as often as you want for the flat fee you are charged monthly. You can stream it to your computer or to your television — the latter works if you purchase a Netflix supported device.
Here are some of the basic features of the Netflix site and service.
1. Queue Management
You can prioritize your movie queue pretty easily. I dump all my favorite movies into this list, then I order them according to priority (the ones on top will be sent out next).
2. Browse Movies and Recommendations
I really like how Netflix has organized their movies — you can search for titles through many avenues, such as by Genre (my favorite is suspense/thriller), by New Releases, Netflix Top 100 (based on rental activity), picks by well-known critics (e.g. Roger Ebert) including movie reviews by Rotten Tomatoes, and by Award Winners. They also have an area in their site where you can watch previews.
3. Movie Suggestions Based On Your Past Preferences
Netflix also provides you suggestions for your movie queue by learning about your taste in movies and preferences. If you fill out a taste preference questionnaire and also rate the movies you’ve already watched, it uses an algorithm that offers you suggestions about which titles that you might love.
4. Watch Instantly: Stream To Your TV or Computer
What I really appreciate about this service is that over time, Netflix has provided more options for members. We’re getting more services such as this ability to stream shows onto our TV without any limits whatsoever. All unlimited plans (those that charge $7.99 a month and above) allow you to watch movies without limits and without extra fees. You have many options for setting up streaming: for example, you can download plugin software or hook up your Apple TV, game console or Blu-Ray devices. Purchase a “Netflix ready device” like the Xbox 360, Blu-Ray DVD player or a Tivo and connect it to the Internet. It shouldn’t take long before you’re all set to click on any movie you so choose, which you’ll be able to watch on the spot. Just make sure you have a high speed connection. Note that the titles that are in the “Watch Instantly” section are limited to a subset of what’s available to you via your Netflix queue. This is just an extra bonus above the DVDs you will continue to receive right off your queue.
How Much Does Netflix Cost? Pricing Plans & Other Options
You can sign up for a free trial through this link. It’s good for 1 month and allows you to cancel anytime within the first 4 weeks without getting charged. If you don’t cancel, you’ll be billed accordingly after the month is up. There are 4 major plans you can choose from, with monthly rates specified below:
#1 The cheapest is the Limited Plan that allows one rented DVD out at a time for $4.99 a month, and limits you to 2 DVDs per month and very limited streaming capabilities.
#2 The Unlimited Streaming Plan with No DVDs is for $7.99 a month.
#3 The Unlimited DVD Plan with No Streaming has fees that range from $7.99 to $14.99, depending on how many DVDs that you rent out simultaneously or if you are using Blu-Ray.
#4 By the same token, the premier plan that includes Unlimited Streaming plus Unlimited DVDs ranges from $15.98 and goes up to $34.98. In our household, we chose the “2 DVDs out at a time” plan that costs $22.98 a month.
The fees to use Netflix have been a source of great controversy among current customers, since the company did away with a popular plan that offered $9.99/month for unlimited online movies plus one DVD out. Now, any plan that combines DVDs and streaming will cost a minimum of $15.98/month. A lot of customers balked at the change and subsequently canceled their subscription, which sent a strong message to management. Some folks felt that they would rather do without the service and walked. For those with the same sentiments, there may be other alternatives you can consider, such as Blockbuster On Demand, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Prime Instant Video & Sony Entertainment Network. Which service you decide to use should be based on your viewing habits, need for flexibility and convenience, service costs and the type of devices you want to use for your entertainment needs. Some of these services have a smaller selection of shows, or may impose time limits on your viewing, as tradeoffs for a cheaper rate.
Why I Like Netflix As An Online Movie Rental Service
Netflix is a great service that you can run from an awesome website with a lot of cool features and tools to help you get the most out of this form of entertainment. For my particular needs, Netflix is a good value. The all-you-can-watch benefits and flexible features work for anyone who is looking for unlimited indoor entertainment for a song.
Created March 30, 2009. Updated March 8, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.