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Matthew Fabb
Guest

Matthew Price, the service that you want that searches a movie or tv show through all the services and tells you where to get it, is basically what Google was trying to do with Google TV. As it would search only video content, through Netflix, Hulu, HBO, other tv networks and more. Only a lot of the external companies didn’t like that, as they didn’t want people watching content designated for computer viewing and watching it on their tv. As too many of these companies were afraid that this would lead to more people cutting their cable. That said, it also didn’t search iTunes, although there was apparently a separate app that would connect to iTunes, but it wasn’t built into search.

I don’t think Apple would ever do anything like that, as they don’t want you to buy anything outside of iTunes.

That’s the problem is that there is so much money at state, that everyone wants the biggest piece of the pie rather than work together.

mattmovies
Guest

Matthew Fabb Google Tv wasn’t able to do it because it needed to takeover your cable box to make itself work. The whole thing was a kooky failure. What I want is a monopoly (or the appearance of one through a universal overlay interface that simply hides the guts of the transactions from me) where every single recorded entertainment ever created is available for consistent pricing with no extra equipment or effort. Otherwise I’m very happy going to the video store and buying blurays. And I agree, there’s too much money at stake to make it likely that I’ll get what I want.

strybeck
Guest

You do know that Netflix in the US still has DVD/Blu-ray by mail? They’ve never had that in Canada and that’s a big difference. Streaming is like a big cable channel on demand for me. Discs in the mail is for all the other movies I need to see, and the selection is virtually everything ever produced for home video in the North American market. It’s a lot more convenient than trekking out to one of the last remaining mom and pop bricks and mortar rental houses too.

ajames1
Guest

strybeck I sign up for mail Blu-rays about once every three months.  I keep it for a month or two and catch up on all the latest stuff I missed in theaters.  Then I cancel for a month or two and come back.  I will miss the day when this service goes away (which it likely will soon).

Ten bucks gets all the latest stuff delivered to my door in glorious baby Blu.

We’re having a similar discussion over on the music thread about Spotify vs. buying discs.  Outside of the collector mentality, it is baffling to me that people still buy physical media (at least within the United States).

BobTurnbull
Guest

strybeck Though Canadian NetFlix doesn’t do discs by mail, zip.ca does and I’ve remainded a customer with them for a good 7-8 years. Specifically due to their selection. Lots of stuff that would not be easily found in any rental store (neither box nor online service) – foreign, horror, 30s-40s films, obscure Noir, etc.

ajames1
Guest

I just listened.  Wow. holy shit. wtf. insanity.

I was going to come on here and say that I seriously feel bad for you guys that if Netflix Canada is as you describe, then that’s horrible.  But then you went on to say it’s no different in the States; it’s just a bigger playground. Epic disagreement here.
Admittedly, I don’t have the same tastes as Mamo Matts and maybe my definition of “middle of the road” is different, but Netflix is NOT just all the Kate Hudson and Steven Seagal movies. If you want “top shelf stuff” like Amazing Spider-man, then no, this isn;t your place.  You’re not going to get newly released Hollywood Blockbusters.  If that’s what you want, you’re right, Netflix Instant is not your for you. And maybe for some of us who see almost everything in theaters, the selection might be a little lower as well. And of course there’s a lot of shit in there. Of course.  But I skip that and go to the good stuff.

But holy shit, to say Netflix is “nothing but the middle” is baffling to me.  My queue is chock full of what I would call “top shelf stuff” and it gets bigger all the time; even when they remove some stuff each month.

Coens, Fincher, PT Anderson, Tarantino, Boyle, Nolan – all of these guys have titles on here.  Then there’s Linklater, Kar-Wai, Mallick, and on and on.  And not just one obscure title, but some of their “bigger” stuff is here.

Yeah, but I want good stuff from the last two years – stuff I haven’t seen!  How about stuff that was on a lot of top ten lists in 2011, 2012 and 2013? We’ve got Weekend, Drinking Buddies, The Imposter, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, The Last Stand, Blackfish, Sightseers, Prince Avalanche, Warrior, Robot and Frank, Cabin in the Woods, Frances Ha, Take this Waltz, Upstream Color, The Hunt, Berberian Sound Studio, Cutie and the Boxer, Salinger, ParaNormal, Kon-Tiki, A Royal Affair, Bullhead and on and on and on and ON and on and on….

I found these movies looking through the listing for about 6 minutes.  This doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the hundreds of back catalog stuff I’m interested in seeing.  If Netflix stopped adding new content right this second forever, I would have enough movies to watch that I’m confident I would really really enjoy for just about every day for probably the next three years.  It drives me up the wall whenever someone says “there’s nothing good on Netflix.”

Again, this is all US Netflix.  No idea about Canada.

ajames1
Guest

As for the micro-genres, does it matter?  I didn’t read the entire article. Does it give a point to all of its findings?  I’m wondering who cares about all these micro-subgenres. 

Personally I don’t give a flying leap about them.  I think the results in the article are kind of interesting.  But what do I care?  How does it affect me? Seeing those in the listings always gives me a little chuckle if even a glance. Are people genuinely upset about these subgenre listing or is it merely something kind of interesting to discuss?

Sean Kelly
Guest

ajames1 I’m perfectly happy with the Canadian Netflix selection, probably because I’m a genre film nut and there are plenty of those on the site.

Sean Kelly
Guest

I still regularly rent films (more so since I started doing the Blindspot posts).  My store of choice is Bay Street Video, which I’ve been going to since I was in University (and had to rent obscure art films to write essays on).

Sean Kelly
Guest

I should also note that, after spending years of ignoring them, I recently redeemed as many Digital Copy codes as I could still redeem.

I currently have about 30 films redeemed through iTunes and 4 through UltraViolet (none of which are actually downloaded to my computer – saving space and all).  The latter isn’t as complicated as you would think, but it’s weird that it requires an account with Flixster.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

mattmovies No, you didn’t need to connect GoogleTV to your cable box to make it work. Apparently, you could do that to integrate your cable within the Google TV UI, but it worked fine as just separate input. It had a number of flaws such as the large price point and the big complicated keyboard remote, but also shortly after launch Hulu and tv networks shut out access to their services to Google TV, killing the whole point of it. GoogleTV has found success with Chromecast, but doing things very differently and mainly succeeding with the insanely cheap price point.
All that aside, Google seemed to be one of the few companies looking not to control all the revenue through something with GoogleTV, but realizing the revenue that could be had with ads for video searching. That it would be the hub to all existing digital video content like you describe.

Only no one wants to give that much control to Google. Just as I don’t think studios are either ready to give that much control to Apple either.
So I don’t see any way around there being a fractured state of video content in the immediate future.

danheaton
Guest

I agree with your comments about Netflix in general. The real draw is TV; we just rolled through Orange is the New Black, which was stunning given the wealth of female performances. Even so, there are some solid movie gems in the mix. I’ve caught up with Frances Ha and Computer Chess in the past month through Netflix.
On an overall basis, however, I’m disappointed by the changes in the services. I’m in the U.S., and Netflix was the greatest thing ever back in 2004-2005 when I was a super user. It had basically everything, and my queue included so many films that aren’t available through streaming. Their push to disenfranchise the DVD-by-mail customers and awful service pushed me away from Netflix completely. I’m only using it now because a family member has an account. 

I do wonder where we’re headed given the issues you guys discussed. Netflix hurts itself by getting more popular, and they may just stop pursuing top studios. I’m not excited about a world where every studio has its own service. That feels like a huge step backward, but I can see that happening for sure.

tederick
Guest

danheaton I think Netflix will just end up being a transitional technology between DVD and the actual next generation of digital content. 

These things happen. Netflix will basically be to online media what the BlackBerry was to the smartphone. It’s nice being the first kick at the can for a little while; and then other, better competitors get into the market and it all goes to hell.

danheaton
Guest

tederick danheaton I think that you may be right. I don’t see the brand loyalty to Netflix that you have with something like Apple. The Blackberry comparison is an apt one. People use Netflix because it provides what they currently need, but the limitations may eventually come back to haunt them.

Mike_Rot
Guest

ajames1 you got Andrew pimping Frances Ha and Upstream Color, I love it!

I kinda fall in the middle, I watch maybe two or three movies a month on Netflix, and for the price that is enough, and of all the films available, I don’t find it difficult to make that quota.  I would say 90% of what I see on there is documentaries, and for that alone I am thankful.  

Of that list you mentioned Andrew, maybe Cabin in the Woods and Headhunters are on the Canada site (actually Headhunters definitely is because that was one I did watch on there) but otherwise not much else, so it is relatively bad.  I am dying to see Prince Avalanche.

KurtHalfyard
Guest

Mike_Rot ajames1 Also a primary user of netflix for documentaries, for which their selection is excellent.  But the Matts are right in terms of it being useful for kids watching ‘saturday morning cartoons’ – my daughter is by far the biggest user of Netflix in the house watching series cartoons in rigorous episode-by-episode order (a privilege we were rarely granted as kids who just watched whatever was on, usually in syndication)

KurtHalfyard
Guest

Mike_Rot 
Did you see the original Icelandic film that Prince Avalanche is a remake of?

Mike_Rot
Guest

KurtHalfyard Oh yeah forgot, the majority of the use is to stream kids stuff for Hayden.  That is its primary function.  To the point that he has mastered the wii remote himself.  

have not seen the icelandic original.  is it on Netflix?

ajames1
Guest

KurtHalfyard Mike_Rot ajames1  I’m sure that it’s great for that.  But that’s not ALL it’s good for. If you’re talking about Canadian Netflix, then fine; whatever.  But they specifically said the US Netflix is the same. Which is patently false… unless you have literally already seen everything or simply don’t like movies.

I believe the quote from Matt P was, “They don’t have everything, so the are totally not functional for me.” It’s so ridiculous to me I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. That’s like going into a bar and saying, “well, you don’t have every single kind of beer ever made, so I’m leaving.”

http://youtu.be/ZG_xNbVMmIA

ajames1
Guest

tederick danheaton This may be true, but it depends on your definition of “transitional.”  Netflix Instant has been around for close to ten years.  I’d say that’s a pretty big drop in the bucket.  In the grand scheme of consumerism, one might look back and say that it was transitional, but I don’t know.  At least around here NI feels pretty ubiquitous.

ajames1
Guest

danheaton I don’t remember this magical time when Netflix had everything as you’re alluding to and the Mamo Matts said in the show. I’ve been using NI since back in the day when you actually needed a disc to put in your player to bring up the streaming interface on your TV.  And NI has, more or less, been pretty stagnant in terms of the number of films available that I want to see (which is a shitload). Granted that is a highly subjective number, but most of us around here are all swimming in that same boat.

When was it that NI “had everything?”

mattmovies
Guest

ajames1 KurtHalfyard Mike_Rot Hey Andrew, I like the new look, did not know you had changed your hair. And yes, just like with video stores, I only go where they have everything that it is possible to have. I also want to carry every single song I own around with me all the time everywhere.

This is the future, I don’t want to have to compromise when all we are talking about is bits and bytes and rights. I’m advocating an overlay service that seamlessly hides the guts and just gives me whatever I want, or else ideally a government sanctioned monopoly that guarantees access to all consumers, because right now greed and competition are fucking this all up. I pay for Netflix and I get my eight bucks worth, but that doesn’t mean that I think it’s good, I just use it for TV shit, and for that it’s well worth it. Movies are a dead loss anyways because regardless of selection they all continue to look like shit that’s been compressed through a straw and have the color gamut of an instagram feed. But whatever, enjoy what you like and I will do the same.

danheaton
Guest

ajames1 danheaton We’re talking about the time before streaming was even an option in any form. It was just a DVD-by-mail service where you’d get so many at a time. They started out having most films on DVD, even Criterion. When discs would break, they stopped replacing them, and then streaming became the focus. I’m talking about 10 years ago.

ajames1
Guest

mattmovies ajames1 KurtHalfyard Mike_Rot I would absolutely LOVE the service you’re describing.  And if it ever came to fruition I would gladly pay – fairly handsomely – for it.

But this is what we have now and calling it “non-functional” truly baffles me from a cinephile standpoint.

I’m also curious about the quality aspect of the Canada Netflix vs US.  I’ve honestly considered moving to Toronto more than once, and as dumb as it sounds, lack of Netflix has sort of been one of the main deal breakers; and this just confirms it.  I legitimately feel bad for you guys on this front.  Here, at least on my TV, it’s all (most of it) in HD and looks terrific.  Not quite Blu-ray quality, but certainly better than standard DVD. 

It’s too bad they look like shit there. Is this a common complaint or is it possible it’s a bandwidth issue?

ajames1
Guest

danheaton ajames1 Oh I see.  Well don’t they still have pretty much everything on DVD? I believe, again in The States, if it exists on DVD, Netflix will have it.  Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I’ve never been able to stump the service.

danheaton
Guest

ajames1 danheaton They have a lot, but it’s not the same. Plus, they really cater to streaming. I usually just go use our local library system for DVDs.

Mike_Rot
Guest

ajames1 My Netflix looks like crap a lot of the time.  Every so often it is pristine, but the norm for me is less than DVD quality.  

What should be the deal breaker for living in Toronto is the real estate prices which are bonkers.  I think we all must be on crack for living here.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

ajames1 My experience living in the suburbs of Toronto (Mississauga) is the same as you. The video quality is better than DVD but not quite at the level of Blu-ray.
That said, there’s various different things that affect Netflix’s video quality. Your internet connection, wifi connection in your house relative to tv and what kind of hardware you are getting it to the tv.

I’ve a web developer so that’s my excuse to pay for an incredibly fast fiber connection, also I turn up my settings on Netflix to get the better quality and use a WiiU to stream it to my tv. (I have a Chromecast but haven’t tried the NetFlix app yet).

Because Canada internet providers have such restricted bandwidth caps, Netflix Canada actually changed the default video quality a while back so that it’s really low, as too many customers were complaining about hitting their bandwidth caps.
Even sometimes when people can have similar hardware, like say AppleTV, the version of firmware running on them has been known to affect the video quality. (However, in general I’ve heard bad things about Netflix on AppleTV).
So basically the short version is a lot of different things can affect Netflix video quality, but it is possible in getting better than DVD quality video in Canada.

ajames1
Guest

Matthew Fabb ajames1 Ok that actually explains a lot.  We don’t’ have bandwidth caps here (yet). So I’m streaming high quality all the time.  I’m also not using Wifi – I have my PS3 hardwired to the modem.

That said, when I use Chromecast with my phone it works great and I don’t really see much of a degradation.

I also pay for the near highest internet speed you can get as I want fast internet, but I also want quality online gaming and the Cinecast cannot suffer.

🙂

Sean Kelly
Guest

Matthew Fabb ajames1 The quality of Netflix streaming actually depends on the client are using.  My parents got a new blu-ray player recently and Netflix looks flawless on that (much better than my client at least).

KurtHalfyard
Guest

Sean Kelly Matthew Fabb ajames1 I can add to Sean’s point in saying that when I use the Wii Client things look like crap, but using the Windows 8 App for Netflix, things are PRISTINE, particularly the super-HD films (1080p compression is pretty good, but hard on your bandwidth)

Matthew Fabb
Guest

tederick danheaton Only Netflix has the advantage that it’s the most common app on any hardware. Any topset box, video game console, smartTV, blu-ray player generally has a way to install Netflix if it doesn’t come pre-installed. The hardware for getting content to your tv, is a huge giant fractured mess, with so many custom OSes, it’s absolutely crazy. People are still keeping tvs around a decade or so and keeping consoles for a good 5 to 10 years. Things like AppleTV at $100 and Chromecast at $35 make it cheaper and more portable but people who buy are still in a minority.
Beyond hardware & software, getting the rights and everything is into place is also a slow and terrible mess. Look at how long it takes giants like Apple & Google to work out all the deals to move into new countries with tv or music.
TV is a huge giant boat, that doesn’t move quickly and any new player is going to take a long time to move that boat in a new direction. I think Netflix is going to remain one of the top competitors, as it has such an HUGE advantage, especially as it continues to generate good original content.

Matthew Fabb
Guest

KurtHalfyard Yeah, the original Wii has a max of 480 resolution. When I moved from the Wii to Wii U last year, which has a proper 1080p output, it was a noticeable difference.
Before I got the Wii U, I also had an Xbox 360 kicking around but despite having Netflix installed, I can’t access the app without paying for a Microsoft Gold Live account. I’m not giving Microsoft an extra $5 a month just to access Netflix. Despite the number of consoles I have, I actually don’t play video games that much (I probably use the fitness games more than regular).

Rick Vance
Guest

So I know you guys read comics so this example will not be lost on you.

I was kinda terrified as a comics fan of you guys both praising monopolies and extolling the virtues of some third party in which all the companies can send their products through as TERRIFYING (*cough* Diamond)

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