The UX of Movie Watching

Recently Netflix changed their prices, not that radically (in my opinion), but enough to make me reconsider who we are paying for the privilege of showing me a movie.

Go to a Movie Theater
This is the most expensive way to watch.  On the plus side, you have the largest screen possible and great surround sound.  Additionally, having a large audience (depending on when you go) can add a tremendous lift to your enjoyment of a movie.  Nothing like laughing with the crowd to pep you up.  On the negative side is the cost and the food.  Popcorn and candy are traditional, but they are also fattening and unhealthy.  The chairs aren’t as comfy as my couch and I HATE wearing the 3D glasses.  Overall, I just think the price is so much it’s not worth it.  Grade: D+

In actual use, I find that we don’t watch that many movies from them.  We could have their lowest tier and rarely exceed the limits.  Now that they don’t stream for the same price, I think we will be using them less and less.  Maybe even quitting the service.  Grade: C+

on Demand
Generall, this is more expensive that Netflix at an average of $5 per movie.  If this was $3 a movie, I might get rid of Netflix and do on Demand only.  The convenience is good.  The only down-side is the limited selection and the horrible, HORRIBLE search interface.  Grade: C- (Would be B- with a price adjustment)

Downloading from Internet
There are plenty of ways I have discovered of downloading high quality movies quickly.  However, this isn’t legal.  We want to pay the people who make movies to continue to do so.  However, it is a question of what kind of movie and how much to pay.   If it was legal, this would be an A-. Grade: N/A

HBO or other Cable/Satellite Channel
We have DirecTV and a DVR.  There are plenty of movies that we get, but it is catch-as-catch-can.  HBO is $10-15 per month.  This is just too much to pay for the content.  If it was $5 a month, I would add it today.  Grade: C-

All the choices suck.  The one that is closest, based on our viewing habits is On Demand about 2 times per month.  This would cost $10, but I could eliminate Netflix in the bargain.  I didn’t review Hulu, VuDu or some of the other services because I haven’t used them.  Opinions welcome.

2 replies on “The UX of Movie Watching”

I am evaluating many of the same things. As for netflix, it was my understanding that they are only raising the prices on the mail delivery and the streaming will be the same price. I love the streaming netflix and think it is well worth the money (not just for movies, but tv shows as well. Although it is had folders for different family members it would be even better). I would also be just as happy if they had one commercial before each episode (or if they advertised while searching or loading content). As for the at home delivery, I like that just a bit, but probably not as the increased rate. Why don’t they have an option to order 8 movies a month and they are all shipped at once (saving them money). Amazingly, I have found it very hard to watch the content of my computer on my TV. I set up a direct HDMI connection and there are still tons of issues. Recently, Cablevision created a pay service to steam anything on your computer to your TV, in full HD, for $5/month. This would be nice because I could watch hulu,,, etc. My dream is to get off of cable all together and get a combination of netflix, hulu plus, nfl/nba/mlb packages, and a direct stream from my computer.

I recently signed back up with Netflix for streaming only. I cancelled about 2 years ago as I realized I was keeping movies (DVD) for about 3-4 months at a time and they raised their prices again so it wasn’t worth it. I’ve been using the streaming for the past week and while the quality is pretty good, the selection is terrible. Other than some old movies and some UK TV shows (UK version of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares) they don’t have much available for streaming and I don’t find much value in the service. They need some updated TV shows and newer movies. I’m thinking of cancelling again. Just not a good value, and I can pretty much find everything they have online from other sources, some of them free and legal.

When will there finally be a Paradigm Shift in the entertainment industry and they start to provide content online quicker and easier? I won’t hold my breath. Until then, I’ll cancel Netflix again and go back to using BitTorrent.

Whatya think?