Well, Netflix has finally come to Canada. I have been really excited and have been waiting patiently for it's debut for some time now. So yesterday I got my first taste of the new service. I signed up just before noon yesterday and started streaming movies within minutes. The signup process is pretty simple and you can breeze through it in a few minutes. You'll get a 30 day free trial with a monthly fee of $7.99 / month after that. No commitments, no long term contracts, cancel at any time. Cancel before your 30 days are up and you won't be charged at all, however you do need a credit card for the initial signup process.
The service itself was a little a slow. I believe this was due to the sudden rush of people signing up at the same time and partly due to the Horrible internet connection at work. That being said my first streamed movie "Erik the Viking" went smoothly and worked as I would expect albeit with a video quality appropriate for the bad internet speeds. In browsing around I didn't find too much content that was even close to new or good but I figured I just must be missing something and would dive in when I got home that night.
After dinner and the kids were in bed I got a chance to really test drive the service. On my home 3mb DSL connection response times were acceptable and the streaming was almost instant on in most cases. I tested the High Definition video by watching "Teen Wolf" on my Media PC hooked up to my HDTV Flat panel @720P resolution. The video was crisp and clear and streamed in HD without any problems across my G Class Wireless network. Technically the service provides what it promises SD and HD Instant On Streaming Video with good quality across home Broadband internet connections. That's the good, and it was very good at it in my opinion.
Later on I settled in for a full watch (1hour 38 minutes) of a classic Tom Baker Doctor Who episode from 1975 (The Ark in Space). The video had no hiccups or interruptions and performed flawlessly, but you might notice a pattern developing here. While it was very cool to see this episode again after so many years I couldn't actually find anything new here. The actual content to choose from was difficult to navigate and extremely sparse. There were no recent release movies. Period. Nothing. The TV episodes/collections were interesting but the content available to Canadians was pitiful compared to our American cousins. Three TV series I looked for that I knew were on Netflix were the New Doctor Who, Torchwood and the original Twighlight Zone. These were some of the primary reasons I wanted Netflix because I knew these were there. I had to search to find them but they did come up, although they very politely told me that "This video is not Available for you" but perhaps you would like to see "Killer Clowns from Outerspace". Um... no. I was speechless. Everything I wanted to see was either "Unavailable" to me or was something I already owned on DVD. Hugely Disappointing.
I have to say, I haven't been this disappointed since Season 3 of Heroes. It would be a great service if it was free, as it is for the next 30 days, but for any monthly subscription rate, even $7.99 / month, it just doesn't seem worth it. Any media service has to have content that people actually want to see, even free services, if they hope to continue operations. Unfortunately Netflix Canada is seriously lacking in Content at the moment. Until they address that, I can't recommend the service at all. I'll monitor it for a while longer, after all it's only Day 2 of it's existence and if it improves I'll have a follow up down the road. For now, Try it out for 30 days but ask yourself, is this content worth any dollars per month at the moment?
BTW, Almost forgot, this is a Windows / Mac only service. No Linux support possible without Emulation for Windows. Another disappointment.