Need Netflix help in time for the holidays

<p>Dh and I are considering doing the Netflix streaming as a family Christmas present. We haven't had cable in almost 20 years. Or Dish or anything like it. We love movies and have tried the cheap RedBox route, but the selection is so horrible that it's frustrating. Here are my questions:</p>

<p>1) We have a DSL connection. Will that make for poor viewing?</p>

<p>2) Is there some kind of parental control? I don't want all of us watching movies in different rooms -- that's counter what I have in mind. I want us to watch movies together (but a greater variety and when we want) and wonder if there's some way to ensure that.</p>

<p>3) I'm assuming there's some kind of queue so we know who's watched what?</p>

<p>4) Is there a good selection of documentaries? We love them.</p>

<p>5) How long does it take for movies to get into Netflix? For instance, is Moneyball already in there?</p>


<p>DSL connection is fine. You can watch movies directly on your computer. For tv watching, you can hook the computer up to your tv set or you can use a streaming device (e.g. a Wii or PS3 game console, a Roku box, or a Blu-Ray player with Netflix streaming capability). Make sure to figure that in your budget. Newer internet-ready TVs have Netflix streaming built in.</p>

<p>No idea about parental controls. But you can control which devices in your household are linked to your Netflix account.</p>

<p>Yes, there are queues, but it doesn't say who watched what, just that something was viewed.</p>

<p>There are a LOT of documentaries. Currently on my instant watching queue are disks 4-6 of Ken Burns' "The War", Beyond the Gates of Splendor, A Walk to Beautiful, Maxed Out, Monty Python: Almost The Truth, Buck, American Experience: LBJ, Kings of Pastry, Waiting for Superman, and many, many more. You should be able to take a look at what's available on "watch instantly" under the documentaries genre to see what matches your interests. One of the great beauties of Netflix is that they'll recommend things for you based on what you've liked before, which means you learn about things you didn't know existed.</p>

<p>The downside is how long it will take movies to come to instant streaming. The types of things that make it onto RedBox aren't going to show up as instant streaming on Netflix for a very very very long time, if ever. For that, you'd need to use the DVD service. It's an issue with negotiating licensing fees between Netflix and the studios. In fact, much of Netflix's streaming catalog is going to disappear early next year because their agreement with Starz is coming to a close.</p>

<p>Thanks for the info, Slithey! But now I have more questions ...</p>

<p>Truthfully, I was inclined to do the DVD service, but you can no longer do that without the streaming service as well, correct? I don't want the extra expense.</p>

<p>Hmm, how will the end of the Starz service affect what titles are available?</p>

<p>What's your idea of a very, very, very long time? Three months? A year?</p>

<p>We have a Wii so no prob, and we're about to get a TV for Christmas that has wireless.</p>

<p>Yes, you CAN do the DVD without the streaming service. Or the streaming without the DVD. For biggest variety, I'd go with the DVD version. You could always try it one way, and switch to the other if you don't like it. </p>

<p>A very, very, very long time could be years. :( One day this will all be nicely sorted out and on-demand streaming of everything you want to watch will be available at one subscription fee. But not in time for Christmas this year. :)</p>

<p>As has been mentioned, you can do dvd-only, streaming-only, or both. (We used to do both, until the price for that jumped suddenly by 60%.)</p>

<p>I agree with those who recommend that you choose dvd-only. The selection for that is amazing. The selection for streaming, on the other hand is (IMO anyway) pretty poor, except for documentaries. But you can get the documentaries with the dvd-only plan as well. </p>

<p>I think you can go to [url=<a href=""&gt;][/url&lt;/a&gt;] and browse their selections without being a member. Using your example, you'll see that Moneyball is available as dvd and blue-ray, not streaming (aka "Watch Instantly"). I would have been very, very surprised if Moneyball had been available for streaming on Netflix.</p>

<p>The website [url=<a href=""&gt;][/url&lt;/a&gt;] will give you a very good idea of what is available on Netflix Watch Instantly.</p>

<p>ETA: I just checked the Netflix website to confirm my understanding that the dvd-only and streaming-only plans are the same price. To my surprise, I could not see a way to sign up for a dvd-only plan. So I called Customer Service, and was told that the way to do that is to sign up for the Watch Instantly (streaming) plan, and then immediately switch over to the dvd-only plan. That seems a bit strange to me, but I assume they are really pushing the streaming plan. In any case, the plans are the same price.</p>

<p>Thanks, Sodium, for making that call. Dh had looked, I think, and didn't think DVD-only was an option. We'll do a little more research tonight.</p>

<p>I'm torn about the streaming option. I know ds1 in college would love it, but I don't want him watching all day and not working. ;) And it's ds2 who loves movies most of all, and I could see him holing up in the office watching for hours on end, and not waiting for dh and I to watch something fun with him! I want this to be a family bonding experience, not a family dividing experience.</p>

<p>I'm just chiming in to verify what Sodium Free said: even though the Netflix web site seems to indicate that you CAN'T get a DVD-only subscription, I know you can. For the past three years I have purchased a gift subscrription form Netflix for a year's worth of DVDs for my mother (she has dial-up internet service and has no desire to stream anything....) This year, when I tried to do this again, it looked as if I could only buy a gift certificate for the streaming sevice.</p>

<p>When I called customer service, the rep assured me that you CAN purchase the DVD-only subscription; however, you have to buy the streaming plan and then immediately switch it over. She was just as mystified as I am as to why.....</p>

<p>We used to have both DVD and streaming, but also dropped the DVD when the price went up formthe second time in less than a year. Now we have streaming fro $7.99 and use Redbox for "hit" movies. It works well since we watch about 3- 4 Redbox movies per month. We watch lots of documentaries on Netflix and some TV series such as Mad Men. If you get Netflix, it is worth spending about an hour searching through movies on your computer and loading up your queue to access later. There is nothing more frustrating than settling down to watch a movie and spending 20 minutes browsing around to find something you feel lie watching. With movies or TV shows of interest waiting in your queue, you are ready to choose and will be watching in seconds.</p>

<p>Depending on the movies you want to watch, you may find the streaming selection limited (as I did). Some movies that are well-known but not exactly recent are unavailable (for example, 1999's "Matrix" is DVD only). This is due to the studios or other content controllers, not Netflix.</p>

<p>For example, here are the 2011 nominees for best picture. All are on Netflix via DVD. But on streaming?</p>

<p>Black Swan: No.
The Fighter: Yes.
127 Hours: No.
Inception: No.
The Kids Are Alright: No.
The King's Speech: No.
The Social Network: No.
Toy Store 3: Yes.
True Grit: No.
Winter's Bone: Yes.</p>

<p>So 30% of these are available for streaming. YMMV of course.</p>

<p>Just wanted to add that I think that the Wii is not a great option for streaming since it doesn't support HD.</p>

<p>Streaming may actually be better if you like watching TV series from previous seasons. Since you've been without cable for a while, there are probably some series that you would enjoy but have missed out on. You can catch up quite quickly with Netflix streaming.</p>

<p>One thing you may want to know is that you can't delete the record of what has been watched. The only way to delete your history is to cancel your account and then open another account using a different e-mail address. This means that your kids can't watch something you disapprove of without you finding out about it (if you look), but at the same time, if you want to watch something that you would prefer that other family members not find out about, you have a problem.</p>

<p>Fig, that's interesting about the 2011 movies and makes me much more inclined to do DVDs. </p>

<p>New question: How many episodes of a TV show are on one DVD?</p>

<p>Depends from series to series. It can be as few as two, or as many as, I dunno, six? It even varies within a series. </p>

<p>Agree that the Wii isn't a good streaming choice if you want the full HD experience. On the other hand, it's the convenient and cheap option if you've already got one, and it does have a very nice Netflix interface.</p>

<p>Remember too, though, that you can change or cancel your subscription at any time. You're not locked into a year's contract. So why not try it?</p>

<p>Streaming is great for computer watching. Which means your D at college can watch stuff too even though she's not at home. Also can watch on an ipod or iphone.
DVD is limited to one at a time and I can go through a few movies in an afternoon based on my mood. I disliked DVD since what I wanted to watch was never what we had on hand.</p>

<p>I've found the streaming selection to be terrible. But you can see for yourself what's available by going to the Netflix website. You can browse the current selections or search or a particular item (and be told 95% of the tike that it's only available on DVD).</p>

<p>We have Netflix streaming only, and I agree, the selection is pretty poor. However D, who is 3000 miles away, never seems to have trouble finding things to watch, and enjoy,on her computer. Sometimes I'll follow her lead as she has really good taste in entertainment. Seems she's very into British TV. I know she eventually plans to settle in London...[perhaps she's boning up]</p>

<p>Again, can only say DVD keeps only one person happy at a time and streaming keeps a whole bunch happy. If you want something brand new go to red box. Really depends on how your family uses computers and other devices and their viewing habits.</p>

<p>If you are going to do streaming through WiFi, you need to make sure you have a really fast internet connection AND your wireless router is very close to where you will be watching movies. Otherwise i would suggest you have a WIRED internet connection to your new TV. You could end up with a less than satisfactory viewing experience with wireless on a big screen TV.</p>

<p>We actually went for both dvd & streaming. D uses streaming at college & things that I want to see are usually just on DVD. They are very fast though & sent me an extra DVD for xmas.</p>

<p>I like British tv too- It isn't as * packaged* as what comes out of Hollywood.</p>