Netflix has arrived - What the hell is Netflix?

I don't think I've hardly watched regular free to air television at all in the last 3 years. I'm 33 and I don't know anyone my age or younger that primarily watches TV the old fashion way by flicking channels. Even my 4 and 7 year old kids barely turn on ABC4Kids any more, and instead prefer Youtube, TV shows and Movies streamed off iTunes and the odd DVD. 

It was back around 2008 or 2009 I used to watch a bit of ABC, then I discovered iView, ABC's on demand service, and that was the end of turning on the TV and just watching what was on. I also bought an Apple TV a few years back, and now even getting off the couch to put in a disc feels akin to starting a car with a crank handle. 

So now my TV viewing habits are basically made up of

  • The NBA app on my Apple TV or iPhone or iPad for my sport consumption. 
  • Youtube for a lot of great random stuff you can't find anywhere else. 
  • A bit of ABC iView for things like QI and Fallon. 
  • Purchasing or renting whatever movies or TV shows I'm interested in from iTunes. 

Note: I don't torrent anything and firmly believe in paying artists for what they do. 

I first heard about Netflix a few years back, and gave it a try but I had to use a VPN to stream anything. It was a PITA and I gave up after a couple of months, deciding to bide my time until it finally came to Australia. 

Today it has launched and I've signed up straight away, ready to binge watch season 3 of House of Cards and maybe season 2 of Orange in the New Black. 

So what is Netflix?

Netflix is a streaming subscription video service. That means you pay a monthly fee and get to choose from their catalogue of Movies and TV shows to watch when you want. Usually entire season of shows are available so it's great for those of us who like to binge watch things. 

How much does it cost?

In Australia there are three different options. $8.99 will get you on your way with the basic plan. $11.99 will avail you of the content in HD, and two devices can stream content at the same time. Premium costs $14.99 a month, and up to 4 devices can stream at once. You also get access to Ultra HD (4K) content, if it is available. (You probably don't have a UHD TV.)

How does it work?

You need an internet connection to access the content. It doesn't come over the air like regular TV. While the amount you can stream from Netflix is unlimited, you'll want a healthy amount of data from your internet provider. 

You watch the content from either a web browser on your computer or laptop, or you can download the Netflix app for your smart Television, phone or tablet. 

You don't have to commit to a long term contract like traditional pay tv services either. 

Seems pretty cheap, how do they make any money?

Netflix pay content distributors or owners to have their shows and movies on Netflix, but the shows they have on offer come and go. So it's not a library of all movies and all tv shows from all time at your fingertips.

And not all of it is A grade stuff. There's some new stuff, some old stuff, and some really old stuff. There's plenty of family and kid's content. And Netflix has even made a couple of original shows that are just brilliant, and you'll need netflix to watch them in the future; House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. 

Other streaming services are also on offer in Australia, and the question of value really will be in whether the quality of the service stands up. If content doesn't get to your device in a reasonable quality and without heaps of buffering, it will be too frustrating for many people to put up with. 

So far with a pretty crappy NON NBN connection the service seems fine, with about 2 minutes of testing. I'll reserve my verdict on whether it's worth the money once my one month free trial is up. 

But for the cost of two coffees a month, I think I'll be getting my monies worth.