After using Netflix for well over three years, we (me, my wife, and our dog Evie) have decided to cancel our Netflix subscription. As outlined in this post about why using a media center PC for your TV is a great idea, we don’t have cable. We do watch broadcast TV sometimes, but most of what we watch comes from the internet.
Although we’ve been generally happy with Netflix, there were several factors why we decided to cancel it. The most obvious reason, of course, was price. After starting out at $8.99 a couple years ago, the price on September 1st for the streaming plus 1 DVD at a time is now going to be $17.98, or double what it was. Not the same price as cable, but at this rate if it doubles every 3 years or so it will be around $70 per month by 2020 (I’m joking, of course). In 9 years though, I would be surprised if Netflix, Hulu, or anyone else operates in anywhere near the same way they do today!
The second reason, more of an annoyance really, was how they switched their interface to something less useful (in my opinion). I’m not the only one that feels this way, check out the 5000 (generally negative) comments on their blog about it. There is a way to fix this, but why should we have to do a work-around?
Finally, we just seem to have run out of stuff that we want to watch. Our DVD list was empty and it was getting harder and harder to find stuff to watch on instant. To their credit, cancelling was easy and came with a nice note saying that they hoped to have me back. We still had a DVD out that we didn’t get in the mail, and taking care of this was an easy call to customer service.
We’ve been watching Hulu more and more, and at 7.99 per month for Hulu plus it seemed like a good deal. There are some commercials, but not too many, and things are displayed in 720p video and 5.1 audio depending on your setup. So far it’s been great as we’ve got a lot of different stuff to watch that wasn’t on Netflix. At some point, I’ll probably run out of things to watch on Hulu and switch back to Netflix (at least for a while, especially if they give me a coupon for a free month). For now though, I’m glad there’s some competition.
Blockbuster has lowered their prices as well it seems, so they may end up getting more of our business again. It’s not as crowded there anymore, which is nice.
Update 11/15/2011: After having this service for a month and a half, I’ve decided that it’s OK. I’d say the streaming isn’t as good as Netflix, but they do have fairly current episodes of some shows. It’s definitely a tradeoff.
Hulu and Netflix seem to have different content though, so when I get tired of them, maybe I’ll switch back.
Also, here’s my HTPC setup if you’d like to see it.