The marriage of convenience and technology in my household is now complete. I got a nice surprise the last time my Tivo downloaded a system update. Netflix! It has only taken 3 years to finally come to fruition but it is finally here! While the selection is currently a bit limited for downloads,1 the quality is on par with standard def. TV broadcasts. Surprisingly, when they say “watch instantly“, they mean it. I’ve watched about 10 movies so far and every single one started within minutes and played thru to completion w/o pausing or hanging on the download. Fast forwarding is a bit slow to start and stop but not unexpected for on-demand content.
Of course, I’ve been able to stream Amazon movies thru the Tivo for about a year now. The Amazon service is quite different though. For one, Amazon charges by the movie vs a flat monthly fee for unlimited downloads. Amazon’s downloads also take quite a bit longer as the content is uncompressed and not optimized for streaming. Usually, for a 2 hour movie, I have to wait 30-45 mins before I can begin watching if I wanna watch all the way thru w/o the movie pausing. To be fair, Amazon does have a much larger selection of movies for download. However, if they hope to compete, they’d better get their act in gear because I can easily see Netflix kicking their ass soon.
I have yet to try HD content as I’m still streaming over a 54g wifi router. You need a hard line connection or the newer N speed wifi routers to really stream HD content seamlessly. I’m sure as the availability of movies increases, I’ll spring for faster wifi.
Once the selection improves, it will also give cable companies a run for their money. Seriously, imagine having almost any movie or TV show ever made available to watch instantly for a low monthly fee. No more exorbitant cable bundling fees to worry about. No more getting stuck with 100’s of channels you don’t watch just to get a few you do watch. If I were the cable companies, I’d be shitting in my pants about now. Of course, they’d still make money on primetime channels, first-run content, and broadband so their money stream isn’t totally screwed just yet. That said, I’ll quickly dump all of my movie packages once Netflix boosts their downloadable content.
Yes, I know, I’m a geek. But you knew that already.
- you can still have movies unavailable for download mailed to you but that is so 90’s. [↩]