A Review of Netflix and Watch Instantly - A Good Alternative to Cable or Satellite


The Whispering Sirens of Dish and DirectTV have been luring me to subscribe.  We only get the broadcast channels out here in the midst of farm fields where I live, but I hate the idea of having to pay so much for satellite when I would only watch around five of the channels and wouldn't watch them all that much (see my post "A La Carte Satellite - Give it to me").  For me, the expense I would pay never seemed to meet the perceived value I would receive.  Then we were able to move out of the stone age and get DSL out here in the boonies.  Like a light from heaven, the options opened up.  I was finally able to watch streaming video over the internet.  Video on the internet, amazing!  YouTube was interesting for a few days.  Then the boredom set in.

Then I checked out Netflix.  I could try it free for 14 days.  If it wasn't what I was looking for, I could just cancel.  But it was what we were looking for, especially with the Watch Instantly option.  What that means is that we can stream them instantly from the internet to our television.  Not all the movies are available to watch instantly, but many are.  For those that aren't we can check out movies from Netflix the old snail mail way.

Roku HD PlayerFirst, I tested out whether I would like Netflix on my computer.  We decided that we would like it. Then, I attempted to hook up my tv-out GeForce 8400 GS only to finally come to the conclusion that this Vista compatible card is not completely compatible with Vista.  Go figure.  The forums were saying that, but I figured I could figure it out.  I couldn't.

But thankfully, there is another solution: The Roku HD Player.  It comes in at $99.99, but it allows me to play the streaming video directly to my television.  We had to decide we liked Netflix before making the decision to buy the Roku Player, but it has been nothing but beauty since then.  Roku also allows me to play my Pandora radio stations, rent movies from Amazon if they are not available on Netflix Watch Instantly, watch other internet shows, and subscribe to MLB baseball if I was so inclined.  The potential for a la carte channel choice is finally here, although we have to wait for the channels to participate.

You will not need a Roku if you have an already compatible device on your television or a compatible television.  The most likely compatible devices that you would already own are an X-Box 360 or a PS3.  They will be coming out with a Wii adapter soon.  But for me, we only have a PS2 and Nintendo DS, so that easy compatibility wasn't an option and the added expense was not worth it to get one.

Besides the terrible experience of beginning to watch Year One the other night, Netflix has been great.  I am a documentary guy, and they have a great selection.  The kid's have a good selection of shows to choose.  They have seasons of t.v. shows that I can watch.  All for $8.99/month.  And it can be canceled at any time.

Feel free to use these ad links if you subscribe because they do generously pay the site for everyone that signs up through them.  But I am not trying to huckster you and sell something I don't use; I watch Netflix most of the time I watch my television.