Netflix, a streaming dvd and tv series service from America, has come sofar to the UK, Ireland and the whole of Scandinavia, next to their existing USA, Canada and Latin America services. Unfortunately this means that the rest of Europe has to wait a little longer still, but rest assured, Netflix does make good money so they are very likely to come to your country aswell. Europe is big and it takes a long time to make agreements with film companies and authorities to allow streaming to other regions and to offer country specific content.
What is so cool about Netflix?
Perhaps this is going a bit far away from gaming, but not necessarily. We as gamers or ‘nerds’ like certain series or movies that are inspiring to us or they could be the thing we grew up with, just like the games we played. But more interesting for us gamers is that you can install Netflix and watch Netflix content right out of your favourite console!
Next to Netflix for PC and Mac, Netflix has also apps for Android, iPhone, Xbox360, Playstation3 and Wii (and soon also for the WiiU ofcourse!).
Netflix started out as a DVD rental company that would send out DVD discs to subscribers (4 dollars per rental plus 2 dollars in postage) and later on started their online streaming services.
They got international on the 22nd of september 2010 when they launched their streaming-only service to Canada. Late 2011 they launched in Latin America, not before the 9th of January 2012 Netflix was launched in the UK and Ireland. As of the 17th of October 2012, Netflix was launched to Scandinavia, adding Danmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway to the mix.
Currently most Netflix content comes in three different bandwidth streaming formats: 1,5Mbit/s which offers stereo audio and video quality comparable to DVD, 3Mbit/s better than DVD quality and 5Mbit/s 720p HD quality with surround sound audio.
Since many new devices also support full HD quality at 1080p resolution (PS3, Roku 2, WiiU, most Blueray with online possibility decks), it is possible to receive full HD content from Netflix aswell. Sofar there is a HD category in the content list available, clearly showing which content is available in HD, but it is not sure whether that is Full HD at 1080p or half HD at 720p. For full HD content a connection of 8Mbit/s is required.
Here in Norway most people have at least 2Mbit/s available and those who live in the city have the luxury to get glassfiber into their houses. I believe most people in Europe are also able to get higher speeds than 3Mbit/s in, so this is going to be rather nice the coming years (we for example have glassfiber at 25Mbit/s).
The Netflix application or webapp (when logged in with a paid account) offers you streaming content in a list of movies and series sorted by categories. There is an option to rate popular movies and series to better specify content to your liking. Furthermore the app gives you the option to read a short intro to every movie and you can see the ratings and type of the movie. Most movies can start straight away by a click of a button or you can browse through the seasons and episodes when you want to watch a serie.
The quality is quite good on our Wii, but had some screen tearing when watching higher quality, as that was the only device beyond PC’s that we could watch it on our HD TV. For Xbox360 you also need an active XboxLive Gold Subscription to be able to use the Netflix application, this is a very bad thing of Microsoft we think. On the Playstation 3 you can also use Netflix without any hidden ‘subscriptions from Sony’.
It’s coming to you too (sometime)
Unfortunately not everybody can join Netflix yet, but rest assured it is coming to your country most likely soon too. For Netflix it is good money, they got out of the UK and Ireland alone one million subscribers at a rate of about 12 dollars per member per month. I saw some methods on the internet to see Netflix aswell from other countries, but they are not legal.
Pricing is different per country and is based upon the local taxes aswell, but it is around the 11-14 dollars per month per account. You can use the same account for every capable device in your house, but you can only stream via one of them at the same time.
Although Netflix has over 100.000 DVD’s and also adds some local country culture movies and series, they do however not have ‘everything’. I was for that matter unable to find House MD, Burn Notice and the newer movies. I guess you should still see it as the rental type of movie store and that means they will always be a bit behind. Perhaps one day big movie making brands will see that they can get money out of this aswell and offer newer content via Netflix. Netflix has made an agreement with movie publishers to hold a 28 day grace period between the release of a movie on DVD/Bluray and the offering of this movie via Netflix, to allow for room to sell the DVD/bluray first in shops.
Netflix is currently trying to offer pay-tv type content. This is most likely going to launch in the US first, with movies from Dream Works and Twentieth Century Fox, but this is not going to happen before 2013.
Netflix is currently available for the following consoles:
– Xbox360 (with XboxLive Gold Subscription active)
– WiiU (nov 30)
– Playstation 3
Netflix is currently available for the following handheld devices:
– Nintendo 3DS
– Android smart phones
– Windows Phone
– iPod Touch
– Windows XP SP2 and up running Internet Explorer 6+ or FireFox2+ or Google Chrome 6+ with Microsoft Silverlight technology and 1.2Ghz CPU
– An Intel-based Mac with OS 10.4.8 or higher and running Safari3+, FireFox2+ or Google Chrome with Microsoft Silverlight technology
And for other devices:
– Apple TV
– most Samsung bluray decks
– most Smart TV’s
see for a complete list here
When you become a member on Netflix and register your creditcard details, they will give you one month for free to try it out. You can cancel your subscription any time before your creditcard gets charged. This date is visible from your account details. Ofcourse you can also cancel any time before the next charge.
So, if you live in any of the countries I mentioned above: Happy watching! Else: happy gaming!
The Game Mistress