Netflix: Good Enough or Not Enough?
Netflix; What Does It Offer?
Before I start getting into Netflix, I should mention that Netflix is not my go to media center option. I mainly am using a Linux system with Kodi installed on a Raspberry pi3 device. While going around online, I saw that Netflix offered one month of free trial and decided to give it a go. While subscribing to the service, you have 2 options; one with media quality up to full Hd (being 1080p), the other going all the way up to UHD or 4k(2160p).Both options being free to try the first month, it was a no brainer that I picked the UHD option since I have an Lg Tv in my living room that can play those 2160p shows. That is how I started using it so let us take a look at pros and cons of this service.
Simple, Fast, Clean,Adaptive; Yep, that is Netflix
First things first, let us look at how the software works. After choosing a subscription plan and registering, you need to decide which device to use Netflix on, and boy the service is compatible with all the mainstream devices and OS. You can download it to your smartphone, install it on your pc browser (only google chrome though), use it on a tablet like ipad, or a game consoles like Xbox-Ps4 (Sorry, Nintendo Switch owners as far as I know it is not supported at this time, but you guys have an awesome Zelda game.), and last but not least you can install it directly on your smart tv, which is how I am using it on my tv's. I say Tv's because with Netflix you are not tied to a single screen, you can, based on your subscription plan have 2 screen or 4 screens at the same time which is a nice thing because, it not only allows for multiple users but also allows you to start watching something on your television and continue watching it on your phone if for example you had to leave home.
The prices according to google are :
Basic-----No HD quality, single screen---$8
Standard---Up to 1080p, 2 screens---$10
Premium---Up to 2160p, 4screens---$12
After subscribing, the first time you open Netflix on any device, it will ask your name and password after that, the world of Netflix will quickly be yours to command! If I remember correctly first thing you have to do is pick some of your favorite tittles. This will create a playlist for you for easy access to your shows and also, Netflix will try to give you content recommendation using your list to check for similar content. This is where I saw Netflix's first shortcoming but those are for later paragraphs, let us stick with positives now. The User interface is fast and easy to use across all devices, the content is split up into genres so it is easy to navigate, also there is a search option where you input the name of the content you are looking for and Netflix returns the result or the closest results, for faster access to what you want to watch. Another useful feature especially if you have kids around is the profiles option; On Netflix you can set up multiple profiles with different options enabled on each. For example, Netflix software comes pre-built with two profiles; YOUR NAME profile which is your normal profile with no bells and whistles, KIDS profile which when chosen makes Netflix only show kid friendly content like, well, cartoons and what not. This means you can lock your normal profile with a password using Netflix settings and fire up KIDS profile every time your kids or some visiting kid wants to use your tv, and not have to worry whether those kids are watching Pablo Escobar or something like that.
Now, let us try to address something a little more technical, the quality of the content you are watching, I am going to assume like me, you have also picked the premium plan, while watching anything on Netflix, if your Internet connection is slow or fluctuating you will see the quality of the video goes lower or higher. This means, it is a joy to use Netflix if you have a strong connection otherwise, it might become hell, but everything that needs internet these days work on this philosophy, what you can do about it is measure your Internet speed and subscribe accordingly, for example, if you have a connection speed of 2 mbps, it is pointless to go for premium plan, you simply won't be able to take advantage of UHD content that is available.
Content: This is Where Quality gets blurry
Now, it is all good and well to use the slick user interface to go through your media, it certainly is useful to be able to take advantage of multiple screens, but the amount of content on Netflix is actually why you would pay for it since you are not going to watch the UI all day and marvel at its beauty. It is a media center, and the word "center" here means a lot, it means that you can use this software for at least all your entertainment related content, with "entertainment related" I mean content like tv shows and movies, you certainly would not watch the news for entertainment. What I expect when I hear the word "center" is centralization, I want to be able to find most Tv shows or mainstream movies I also personally like to bump into something new to watch while using it. Sadly Netflix does not host most of the shows I watch. There are times that I find a show I follow, only to discover that it is missing the last 2 seasons. The Netflix original content are good and high quality, man I love Stranger Things but I also watch Orphan Black and last I checked that show was missing 2 seasons, there is something for everyone but it is not enough, especially not enough if you are a frequent show follower, if watching stuff is your hobby. The main media center I use as I mentioned earlier is KODI which is lot harder to setup compared to Netflix but does what it says it does "centralizes" all my media in one place and also it is free to download and use.
Sorry, Netflix You Got a Long Way to Go
To sum it all up, Netflix has an easy to use user interface, but if you are like me, and you want it all, unfortunately it might let you down when it comes to content. Yes, it has great original contents and it also has many classic shows like, Star Trek and what not but it also misses a lot of content which you feel should be there after paying for it $12 a month, especially when you know there are free alternatives like Kodi. If however Netflix addresses this content issue somehow I would not mind paying 12 bucks at all, for now though I will be sticking with my raspberry pi media center.
Well, if you are reading this than you read all the above and I thank you for that.
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