I'm not sure why everyone is griping so much about streaming Netfilx? We love it! I think it's all in expectations. We bought into Netflix first when they were just doing the mail-DVD/BD's and were totally happy about it. Sometimes we even forgot we put stuff in the queue and when it arrived it was a nice surprise! Then when streaming became available on the Apple TV, I was the first one in line for Gen 2 ATV and we couldn't have been happier. I think we went in accepting the fact that streaming Netflix only had releases that were older or B/C type films and TV shows. It actually gave us the opportunity to catch up on shows that we missed many years ago or films and shows that we loved but didn't want to buy on DVD due to the fact that they weren't loved enough to justify the purchase and our precious shelf space. Actaully our household saves money with streaming Netflix! Additionally, we save money too just by keeping our favorite shows in the queue for re-viewing.
With everything there are shortcomings. NOTHING IS PERFECT!
Of course there are things we wish Netflix would resolve. Sometimes shows/movies in our queue won't play (error message or "unavailable at this time")
Sometimes we can't login to the App. But, it passes and back to normal. We did have some streaming issues but then went back to our DVR or live cable and waited for the problem to cure itself. Now let me also state that we had a dying router at the time and our ISP was slower than it is now (we pay for 5mb/s and streamed just fine...my latest speed test claim we getting between 8-13mb/s even though we still pay for 5). So some of our streaming issues could have been either the router or the ISP...which it might have been both. But now that we replaced the router with the Airport Extreme and our ISP seems to be on the mend, we've never had a streaming issue.
As stated below, we have the Gen 2 ATV and a 720p Plasma TV. So, we don't really notice the difference if it's 720p or 1080p. However, I can say pretty confidently that the picture quality is clearly NOT 720p...so there must be some compression issues as some have stated prior. Yeah, that would probably be my bigger gripe, but hey, it costs next to nothing for the service monthly so i'm not complaining. I mean seriously people, the SVOD Netflix cost something like $8-$10/mo! that's at most $120/year. In the old days, the Blockbuster days...you had to drive to the store (Gas Money) and they only had what's popular on the shelves and if you don't find anything you could waste your time by leaving or just rent some crap movie you never really wanted to watch for $4 a shot and were fined when you missed the return date. For the amount of content we watch (and re-watch) on Netflix, I kind of feel like we ripping THEM off.
Lack of Current Content:
Yes, SVOD Netflix has no current content. That is something we already knew so it's was no surprise, and had plenty of options otherwise. So we didn't expect Netflix to carry current stuff, and Netflix has never stated they DO stream current stuff either. So really that gripe that many have is just that. A nice-to-have but not need-to-have, and there are other low-cost options. Plus, we didn't buy into the streaming service expecting to get it. If you really look into it, Netflix is 50% of the problem and the Movie/TV Networks are the other 50%. Netflix has to parley with the Networks and Movie studios for content. Netflix (undoubtedly) pushes for the most popular and current content they can get for the price they are willing to spend on the distribution rights...and the "industry" pushes for higher distribution cost and fewer popular and current content. So, I guess the compromise is the "industry" allows what you current see in the streaming and mail-distribution for the price Netflix is willing to spend. So you can blame Netflix, but the "industry" is equally to blame. And on one last point, I blame the "industry" slightly higher now that the Mail-distribute no longer offer commercial DVD's and BD's. They are the "Rental Only" disks with no commentaries and no special features. That was one the greatest things about the Mail-distribution, you could actually place the special-feature disks in your queue! But no more >:( Baaaaad "industry"...so, naturally since they weren't offering that anymore, we cancelled the mail service and went 100% streaming.
So there you go, I gripe too, but really, that's just to state the obvious short-comings, and every product has them. We are 100% satisfied despite it's flaws.
Personally, I think both Netflix and iTunes actaully have a nice balance between the two. We use Netflix to catch-up/re-watch older stuff, and supplement that with either our DVR for current TV. And, iTunes for new release movies and to catch an episode of a current show that for some reason our DVR did not record. We're, however, less happy with iTunes than we are Netflix. And I must say, we go to the theaters pretty regularly so we never really have a need to watch new release films, unless we happened to miss one or two. Regardless the ATV streams great and has all the current content we desire...but the service does have some rather less-savory points that we wish could be rectified.
Everyone in the "industry" fears/loathes Apple and some give in. Since we use Netflix for older content and ATV for current, I'll focus on the selection of current content. I'd say the "industry" is to blame here for not striking a good deal with Apple to allow it. And, on the flip-side, Apple may be demanding much more than is reasonable. Apple is so secretive that we'll probably have to wait until another Biography to hear the real story. However, I'm really pissed off that the Network Exec's decided to cancel the deal for TV Rental episodes. That made no sense to cancel. You were getting my 99 cents (so there's some lost Ad revenue...maybe not as much as you wanted but let's not be greedy now). And, I don't have to muddy up my iTunes library with a million single episodes of a show I may never watch again, but wanted to watch because for some reason I missed it. So BOOOO Networks for that! I think in the coming year (now that the Nielsons are proving the live viewership is serious tanking) they might reconsider the iTunes rentals. I just hope when they bring it back they won't raise the rental costs. Secondly, I really with HBO would offer current content on iTunes. That is a mistake I hope they learn quickly so I can keep current on GoT :P
So there's my gripe about the iTunes. It seams less nit-picky but the failings are much greater than Netflix...but frankly i get more upset over Apple failing than Netflix because it's Apple. And I can't blame them too much (it is probably unfair of me to do so), but perhaps SJ was a bit to rough on the "industry" and perhaps the "industry" was a little too pig-headed.
So there is a balance with everything and NOTHING is perfect. In our household, IMO we have a good balance of our content. We use Neflix Streaming for old and re-runs, iTunes for New and current, and Cable+DVR for live events and daily TV watching. It's not perfect, but that's the best balance we could find. If there was a way to watch live events (i.e. News, sports, special events and Public broadcasting...Sherlock is a great show ;) ) through the ATV in the form of a paid App or minor-fee subscription...we'd drop cable yesterday. Granted we would have to run the numbers and see how many shows we'd have to buy per year and weight that against our $160/mo. cable bill. Currently we have over 40 shows in our DVR queue, and not all of those shows are offered on iTunes...BTW, that $160/mo. includes our Internet service as well, but I think we only pay about $40-$50/mo. or so for our ISP. We, let me also say that for me (not the Mrs.) I would like to see the TV rental back before I really pull the plug on Cable.
Boilerplate info for reference:
37" Panny Plasma, 720p/1080i (early adopter and couldn't be happier with unit)
Charter cable internet (we pay for 5mb/s even though we get much faster service currently)
Charter Cable Basic/Digital tier, HD channels and MOXI DVR.
Apple TV Gen 2 (720p)
Apple Airport Extreme (previously Belkin wireless router...can't remember model)
Edited by antkm1 - 6/2/12 at 9:17am