Monday, November 9, 2015

Rant On

It strikes me that I haven't complained about Netflix in a while, so I'd better remedy that. If you recall, my last complaint was that they were sending me extra disks, which is pretty weak sauce. So today, my topic will be "Selection". Join me, won't you?

The promise of Netflix was: Every damn movie you can think of. If it has been released on DVD or Blu-ray, Netflix will send it to you in a reasonable amount of time. Then, Netflix decided to get into streaming. The promise: We have a bunch of stuff, not all of it bottom-of-the-barrel drek. You can watch it right now! It probably isn't what you want to watch, but maybe it's something almost as good!

That's fine, I pay for streaming and use it to watch old TV shows (like last year's Arrow and Flash). But I expect the DVDs to meet my serious film-watching needs. I have a queue of 143 disks waiting to be watched. At the rate of 2-3/week, I'll never run out of movies to watch. But my "Saved" list - movies I want to watch but aren't available on Netflix, is 103 movies. Some of these are movies that just haven't come out yet. Those will go onto the queue in good time.

But some of them have been there forever, and I don't know if they are ever coming off. Yellow Submarine. Greaser's Palace. California Split. Sure, some of these are obscure or rare. But Speed, for goodness sake. You can't rent or stream Keanu Reaves' greatest commercial hit!

Furthermore, the list is getting longer all the time - not because I am adding to it, but because movies that were available on my regular queue have fallen down into Saved. I suspect that movies are dropping to Saved faster than they are ascending from there to the Queue. And of course, there are the "Short wait", "Long wait", and "Very long wait" items. I've had a "Short wait" movie (Bela Lugosi collection with The Black Cat) at the top of my queue for 6 weeks, still no sign of it. "Long wait" items usually just stay that way for a year or two, then drop to Saved.

I forsee a future when you get a small selection on Netflix, along with some Netflix "Originals" (which have been quite good, I have to say). Other services will have locked up other content, the way Hulu locked up Criterion. That breaks the Netflix monopoly, but not in a good way.

OK, maybe I'm getting all worked up over nothing. You know, like "The food is terrible and the portions are too small." There are still more great movies on Netflix than I'll ever watch. But I was promised EVERYTHING!

Rant off.

Update: Coincidentally, Todd Van Der Werff on Vox wrote about this very topic, and refers to Jon Brooks of KQED from last year. Still think I'm just a crank?

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