OK, the warning first: The thing is terribly addictive.
I lost one whole weekend to “Continuum”. I’d tried to watch the series a couple of times elsewhere. It was confusing and not very effective, since I’d tried to pick up in the middle of a complex plot with self references. If you didn’t see the first couple of episodes, you don’t have the needed context. Being able to start it from ‘day one’ changed it to an interesting plot line that developed (reasonably) clearly.
Then I discovered what “binge viewing” was all about…
Since each episode is just a bit over 40 minutes (no commercials!), you tend to watch “a couple” or “a few”, and that gives the story a LOT more “flow”… and that makes it a LOT more interesting… So 2 days and 27 hours of ‘viewing’ later, I’ve seen all of Continuum that is on NetFlix. Loved it. (Now the hard part… for any series, do you ‘pick it up’ on broadcast for the next year, or wait a year for it to reach NetFlix? Decisions decisions…)
The Good Stuff
There is a very large selection of series (that, as noted above, you can start from the beginning) including some very old favorites (even some old B&W stuff from decades past) and some newer (but not on broadcast anymore) like Eureka! that I’ve missed for a while.
The movie library is more than large enough to keep me busy for a few years (I’ve generally limited myself to one movie a week, but sometimes 2…) with a very large range of topics.
I was able to use it to show my Brazilian students “High School Musical” (that, it seems, they all know and love) in class for English practice with darned near no effort. (Just put the name in the search bar and there it was…)
Most of the time I’m on a shared network, and it has few performance problems; so the compression and buffering are likely pretty good.
The interface is mostly decent (tends to repeat the same movies / series a few times under “new” and “trending” and “comedy” and… headings, so a lot of ‘real estate’ used for any given number of shows, but you find what you want on the first category search, typically.
It doesn’t cost much at all. (First month free, then something like $8 to $10 / month depending on plan). Frankly, just cutting commercials out of one series for one show covers the monthly cost IMHO.
At the end of a month or two of using it, I’m finding it nearly impossible to ‘go back’ to broadcast. The commercials just make we want to turn it off and switch back to NetFlix. News is about all I’m doing on broadcast / satellite now. I’m seriously considering canning my $100 / month DirecTV and just getting news from local free broadcast. I certainly see no reason to get a ‘premium channel’ from DirecTV or DISH. (other than news / sports / things happening Right Now.. but some web sources look good for that too…)
One other minor “negative”… since it works so well, and the spouse likes it rather a lot too, I find that evenings it tends to monopolize the ChromeBox. Seriously cutting into my ‘research’ and ‘posting’ time. I’m likely to end up getting a second box just to drive the video so it can be ‘in use’ for hours on end and NOT impact my “computer time”… Yes, it’s that good. I’m willing to toss $180 at a dedicated video driving platform.