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Watch Now

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Almost a month ago I read a story about Netflix offering online movie viewing. I thought this was really cool and couldn't wait for them to activate it on my account. When they first launched this service they apparently picked a random group of Netflix users and said they would slowly enable it on all their accounts over the next 6 months. The Joe Reid luck came through again because I already have the "Watch Now" tab when signed into Netflix.

This is a pretty cool feature but it definitely has its drawbacks. Obviously it's going to be DRM'd out the ass or else the MPAA would shut it down pretty fast. That means you can't download and watch later, or multiple times. I use Firefox primarily and saw this message when trying it the first time: "Your Internet browser is not compatible with this feature. Try again with Internet Explorer 6 or higher." Boooooooo! Not only IE, but you need to be running Windows XP SP2. So much for running this on my home theater pc and playing it on the TV. Watching it on the TV wouldn't really look very good anyway because the quality isn't terrific to begin with. The default setting is for the movie to play in a small window in the browser. You can select full-screen from the options, but that makes it look even worse. This just confirms that there is no way to replace their DVD sending business with this online viewing; they just couldn’t handle the bandwidth requirements to stream a full length DVD quality movie.

The movies available for instant viewing are also rather limited. I understand they are busy porting their collection over, but they seemed to have started with all the 1 stars.

Comments (1) Subscribe

Joe
#1 - Feb 12, 2007 at 6:31 AM
I forgot to mention, you have viewing limits based on your subscription. I used to have the 3 DVDs at a time unlimited plan which would allow me 18 hours a month of online watching. Since we were running out of things to watch, we switched to the 1 DVD at a time unlimited plan which only allows for 10 hours a month. I wonder how they count that. Like I could watch only the first 10 minutes of a movie, but would that count as 2 hours since that is the length of the movie I clicked on to watch? There also doesn't seem to be a "you've watched this amount" counter anywhere on the site. I'd hate to start a 90 minute movie only to find out an hour later I only had 60 minutes left for that month.

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