Netflix – Now with instant gratification. Oh, how I love thee.

As most of you know, if you pay attention to technology news, Netflix has recently started rolling out their Watch Now feature that allows you to instantly watch a movie, or television show, on your computer without having to wait for the mail service to deliver the DVD to your home. This is something I have been waiting on for quite some time, being that I am a very impatient person, but not specifically from Netflix, any service would have suffice. Luckily for me, I have had a Netflix account for over three years and have thoroughly enjoyed their service. Again, though, being impatient with the mailing service. I currently have the 4 DVD a month plan ($23.99 a month) and it still doesn’t seem to be enough, even with a 230 listed queue. Yes, I am a freak, a movie freak. I love movies and have for many years. However, my entire queue does not consist entirely of movies, I also have television series added to my queue. That is the beauty of Netflix, if something exist on DVD, they have it. So, I’ve added a few television series to my queue that I have not seen entirely, or I just simply miss. Titles like Quantum Leap, Sliders and, as yet to see completely, The Sopranos (I’m on season 2). So, you can see why the instant viewing is an advantage to me. I waste a lot of time watching DVDs. But, is it truly a waste? That may be a post as a different topic of conversation.
When Netflix announced they were offering streaming content in June, you can imagine my excitement and anticipation for that month. As time progressed, and listening to CNET’s Buzz Out Loud podcast, I found out that it would actually be rolling out to customers until June, then the full service would begin to all customers. With this new news, I begin watching my Netflix account activity on a daily basis to see if I was chosen as one of the lucky customer to be offered this service early. I am happy to announce that Friday, February 2nd, the Watch Now feature was added to my account. Today, I finally found the time to experience this new feature.
As few people had reported on the Buzz Out Loud podcast (and also Netflix had posted), the instant viewing isn’t actually instant on certain scenarios, it all depends on the bandwidth you receive to your home. Some people had reported that it took anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to wait on the download before they were able to push Play and start viewing their choice. Thanks to Brighthouse and their 8Mbps download they, on average, give me (test your speed at Speedtest.net), I was able to select Play on the Doctor Who episode, City of Death (did you know that John Cleese had a cameo at the end of this episode?), with Tom Baker, and the experience was exactly like hitting the Play button on my DVD player, I was instantly watching the episode without any pauses or stutters throughout the entire episode. I was amazed. However, I do want to point out that, before this instant gratification, I did have some video issues before I found out that I needed to upgrade my Windows Media Player to version 9 or newer. I never use Windows Media Player, if I can help it, and I did not realize that since I had rebuilt my PC (strictly for gaming), I had not upgraded Windows Media Player. After that, it was a nice experience, a little degradation in the quality but not so much that it was not enjoyable. It is not true DVD quality. I would compare the quality as being much higher than VHS but just below DVD.
I do want to point out a few things about this new feature of Netflix that can be toted, in my opinion, as negatives. At this time, Netflix requires Windows XP or Vista and is only viewable in the Windows browser, Internet Explorer. Hopefully, before June, they will wise up and allow Mac and Linux with Firefox, Safari, and Opera as choice browsers. Also, this could be pointed out as a negative too, it’s only viewable from a computer, however, there are ways to connect your PC to a television. But it’s not a negative in my book. With the setup I have in my office, I have a 19″ monitor that is close enough to the futon and with a very good speaker system, I had no problem whatsoever with watching the television show I chose. But, I will probably keep it to that, just television shows. I believe I may have a problem with watching certain movies on my computer monitor. And, one final note, the Netflix choice of movies and television shows for their Watch Now feature is still pretty limited. I expect that over time that every title they have in their library, which is a fantastic amount (that also includes documentaries, music videos, and more), will increase for this feature.
The future is bright, especially for my relationship with Netflix. I look forward to our four year anniversary in December when I will continue to be a devoted and loving spouse to the services Netflix has to offer.

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