In 2004 I had a Netflix subscription. At the time it was by mail only, 3 DVDs at a time, no streaming, but I was still giddy about the whole experience. Well, 4-5 years later they decided to offer instant streaming to your TV or computer. Well, after ditching them in 2006 due to the original infatuation wearing off and coming to the realization that $19.99 a month for movies was ridiculous, I picked it all back up again. Last year I signed up a second time for a subscription at the most basic level of $8.99 (1 DVD out at a time, and unlimited streaming). What’s the first thing I did of course? Fill up my queue with about 100 movies, half of which I will never see, since it would literally take eons to get through a list of even 100 discs. So I decided to check out the instant streaming section of the website.
This is where my story turns into a review. Here are the Pros and Cons of the Netflix “experience”.
PRO: You can stream movies, CON: You can only stream a few movies, and usually B-movies or knock offs with the exception of a few that might be good, but never saw a single oscar nomination, much less an award.
PRO: You can setup multiple profiles/logins restricted to specific MPAA ratings. Once for me and the wife, and possibly one for kids when they get old enough. CON: No instant streaming allowed on sub-profiles, this the only reason for a profile is to have your own DVD rental queue…whoopie. Oh, and another thing – once you create a profile you cannot delete it, even from the main administrator account. Huh? What is the purpose for this “Feature” (dare I call it a feature). If you can add something to your database, you should be able to remove it. Very lame.
PRO: You can now stream to the Wii! Yay. We have a Wii, and the interface is cool, but wait…CON: You have to have the Wii Netflix Disc in every single time you want to watch a movie…Seriously? Why was this not made a channel downloadable from the Wii Store? Was this not common sense. Speaking of lack of common sense…
PRO: (no more PROs, just CONS), CON: You cannot limit or link the Wii to a specific profile/rating, like “G “for your kids only. The Wii does not allow for user login, meaning it hard-links your device to your account. It also uses the default account, no profile control or limitation, meaning that your kids get to see all the history/activity of movies that maybe you and your spouse have watched. Do I really want my kid coming to me and asking if he can watch “A Few Good Men”? No thank you, thus I have to keep the Netflix disc out of the Wii and locked away whenever I am not there. Thanks Netflix! Stellar job.
CON: No ability to clear your history/cache of “Recently Watched Items”. Again, as stated earlier, on the Wii you can see everything you have ever watched for the last 100 movies or so. When I want to let my kid pick out a movie, do I really want him just one keystroke away from being able to see all the mature movies mommy and daddy have watched? (By “mature”, I do not mean “adult”, I mean PG, PG-13, and possibly R rated movies that are no appropriate for children). Thanks again Netflix…there another reason I have to keep the Wii disc locked away. Much appreciated.
CON: No way to assign a profile to a Netflix enabled device, thus no parental control available on the Wii. Huh??! Netflix does realize this is a CHILD’S TOY right?! No parental control available in the Netflix Wii client. Solid work Nintendo and Netflix. Now my kids can play Super Mario Brothers, and if squashing goombas does not satisfy their killer instincts, they can always click a button and watch Stallone shoot bodies in half with a 50-caliber gun at point blank in Rambo! Alright!
CON: Technical support is incompetent. I called them up and asked them to make some of these things work on their end, like limiting the Wii to only playing G movies, and they said they cannot do that. So I asked them to delete the test profile I created that I no longer needed (since I cannot use profiles for streaming anyway), and they said that they could not delete it from their end. Huh? You have a DB back-end that you cannot edit at headquarters? Again, congratulations on a fine programming job.
Now, with all this said, I of course realize it is 100% the parents’ responsibility to watch you own kids. Of course my child would never have access to this, but my point is, shouldn’t I be able to give them access to this, in a limited fashion? I cannot even do that now? the program should be made in a way to allow the parent to give full or no access, depending on each family’s situation and needs. Until Netflix releases a 2.0 with the above issues fixed, then no Wii access for my kid(s) and frankly we’re thinking about ditching it altogether due to some of these common sense items not being in the initial release. They have a lot of things that should have been caught and revisited by the developers in the QA process, but were not.
Try again Netflix and Nintendo. Good attempt, but it is just that, and attempt, and definitely not ready for prime time.
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