So about 2 months ago I reviewed NetFlix for Canada and for the most part I had good things to say. In fairness I had only been using it for a week or so at the time. I reviewed it and got almost 50 comments from our community in response. All great comments and they also opened my eyes to a few things whihh leads to this follow up. It is a little bit Buyer beware and a little bit fact checking on NetFlix Canada, what you get, what you don’t get and more importantly what you don’t want but might get in the form of a big bill in the mail.
Netflix Canada is dirt cheap and for $8.00 a month you get access to somewhere in the range of 7,000 films and TV shows. Not a bad amount of entertainment to pass away your evenings and weekends. I am the kind of person who enjoys watching my favourites over and over and a good many of them are on Netflix so when I get home from the office I like to put up my feet, mix myself a drink and watch something on Netflix. I still two months later enjoy Netflix but I have certainly learned a few things about NetFlix that may or may not make you get its service.
First off the pros of Netflix service and what you will really like about it. First and foremost if you rent a lot of movies every month either on demand or at your local Rogers Video Store ( or Blockbuster if anyone actually shops there I don’t ) then Netflix could save you a boatload of money. I for one never rented old movies I always purchased them cheap online but Netflix saves me a bunch of money because now rather than buying/renting I can simply watch them online. Netflix also offers the convenience of not having to wait for it to arrive and enjoying the movies whenever and wherever I like. I had to travel to court for work one day and went out of town and brought along my laptop and watched Netflix in my hotel room. That was really a nice treat! So Netflix is great if you want to catch up on movies wherever you are for a really cheap price.
The other nice part about Netflix is it gives indie filmmakers a channel for distribution that we die hard film fans can really appreciate. I wanted to see The Zombie Diaries and ThanksKilling for a long time and absolutely nobody in the local video stores had it or had any intentions of getting it. I also wanted to checkout the foreign films IP Man, Irreverisble and Audition. I watched them all on Netflix. No need to hunt for them, no need to go drive anywhere and track them down. I literally pointed and clicked my way to it! The same can be said for Documentaries. Documentaries are not the staple of your local video store and I was able to watch 15 easily in 2 weeks that I had never heard of that were truly fantastic all thanks to my Netflix account. So good selection of indie films, and rare films you may not have access to with a good price make Netflix a great buy.
Now for what might be the bad news.
If you are getting Netflix to enjoy any new releases at all your better off not getting Netflix at all. One of the most common comments you will hear from Netflix Canada users is how badly they are getting screwed in comparison to the American NetFlix service. NetFlix in the US has all the hit TV shows, new release movies and reportedly 20,000+ films to watch. That is almost three times the material that us Canadians get for. There was a few comments saying its the CRTC that is causing this problem because in Canada the CRTC controls TV content and enforces under some kind of law ( not a lawyer ) that a certain amount of video / tv content be made in Canada. Although this makes sense the CRTC as pointed out by The Globe And Mail has no control over the internet. SHAW one of the large cable players is calling for the CRTC to regulate Netflix because it is unfair for Netflix to not pay into the same programs that the Canadian broadcasters have to. Although I agree with SHAW they are also clearly terrified of subscribers dropping $50 to $100 a month cable charges for Netflix On Demand Movie & TV Service. Fortunately for the corporate TV monsters they have nothing to fear and have no need for the CRTC to step in at least not so long as Netflix only offers dated or limited access to movies and TV shows. I and no other Canadian is going to drop their cable service anytime soon so long as Netflix offers the limited library of new releases and TV shows that it does.
Now for the real eye opener that will hit you in your bank book despite Netflix’s dirt cheap $7.99 a month fee. When is the last time you looked at your internet account to see exactly what is included? Do you happen to know how much band with is included? I know as I write this I do not have a clue and think I might find out at the end of the month like some of you will. A commenter on our site pointed out to me that I should beware of my bill and other users called him an idiot because in Canada we don’t pay for bandwith. I thought the same thing and unfortunately… I and others were wrong.
At just about the same time that Netflix announced it was bringing its service to Canada Bell & Rogers Internet announced a great new addition to our internet service, bandwith caps. Bandwith is basically how much you can download per month and came into effect in my view for no other reason than to battle Netflix and its clear threat to Cable TV business. Who in their right mind is going to pay $50 to $100 a month for cable when you can get it for $7.99 on Netflix? Under the new changes to your internet bill according to GeekTown.ca if you exceed the new bandwith cap you will be billed $4 per gig that you go over ( for Rogers Internet Users ). If you figure every movie you watch is 1gig to 4gigs in size your looking at up to $16.00 PER movie. Ouch! These new bandwith caps are a typical cash grab but also in my view a way to keep Netflix in check.
I have not yet checked my internet bill but reportedly if you watch more than 25 shows a month on Netflix you are going to find an extremely rude awakening in your mail box at the end of the month in the form of a hefty ‘bandwith charge’. I will confirm this with you all later since I have easily watched that many in December and will find out pretty quick if it does or does not impact my Bell Internet Service Bill.
In conclusion lets recap the points. Netflix is a great service! If you like me want access to thousands of films and TV shows and don’t mind that they are not the ‘latest and greatest’ you will truly enjoy having access to 7,000 + movies and TV shows for $7.99. I would like other users have said easily pay $20 a month for the same service the Americans get but I think it would be nicer if Netflix did not treat us like second class users and worked on getting that addressed, and for all I know they could be!
Netflix drawbacks include a potential shock in the mail from your internet provider if you are on a ‘highspeed lite’ account or for all I know on ANY internet package if you exceed the bandwith monthly limitations. So beware. Lastly if you are looking for the latest shows and the latest films then Netflix is clearly not the route to go.
Please as always leave comments, give me feedback and let me know how your Netflix experience has been and any tips or suggestions you might have for me and the rest of the community reading this. Also be sure to read my earlier Netflix Review to get a complete breakdown of the service and more importantly to read feedback from 50 current Netflix Canada users. I think at the end of the day you will still find good value from a Netflix Subscription but you will also want to hear what other users have found!