I am one step closer to cutting the cord. Last month, after nearly a dozen years of DVD home delivery, I switched to a streaming-only Netflix account. I joined Netflix in November 2005, before streaming was available, originally opting to have three DVDs available at once at home. Back then, I joined because I really hated due dates, especially from the then very popular home video rental giant BlockBuster. Where is BlockBuster now? (Hint: Netflix bought them)
I searched through my email archive to see the milestones in my Netflix account changes. I added Blu-Ray discs as a preferred format in 2008 and I believe the “instant watch” or streaming plan became available in 2009. In 2011, I changed from three to two DVDs at home at once, not wanting to give-up my ‘life-line’ to non-streaming movies and television shows.
Last month, my attitude changed because a couple of series I wanted to watch were not available via streaming nor physical media from Netflix or my local library. Specifically, The Man in the High Castle, only available through Amazon Prime, and The Handmaid’s Tale, only available through Hulu. Since my daughter has enjoyed the use of my Netflix subscription for well over a decade, I asked if she would add me to her Amazon Prime subscription. She readily agreed and I plan to start watching The Man in the High Castle this month. The other series may prove more difficult as I’m not finding it available through Google Play nor Amazon Prime for purchase and no DVDs have been released yet that would allow me to request it from my local library collections.
In the month since I cut myself off from delivery of Netflix DVDs, I’ve actually enjoyed having six or eight DVDs and Blu-Rays at home simultaneously thanks to my regional libraries. Yes, I’m back to dealing with long wait times and due dates, but it has not been onerous nor too annoying.
And I may still occasionally purchase a movie that I really enjoyed, as I did with The Arrival and Star Wars Rogue One. I will be purchasing Wonder Woman through Google Play as soon as it is released.
Aside from Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming, with the occasional purchase or rental through Google Play, I’m also a Starz subscriber, but not through my satellite provider. Rather, I opted to subscribe through their Android app, back when the final season of Black Sails aired earlier this year. And I remained a subscriber to watch the debut of American Gods, which I haven’t continued after the fifth episode. As soon as I finish that first season and rewatch The Sons of Liberty, I will probably cancel my Starz subscription. Aside from the two original series and a couple of old series, like Laramie, the streaming service hasn’t been that entertaining.
With this change to my Netflix account, I increased the number of simultaneous devices by double and also took advantage of higher video quality, up to and including Ultra HD, which has improved the quality of streaming video I watch on my home theater system. This change also halved my monthly cost so I consider it a win-win scenario going forward. I just hope that Hulu releases The Handmaid’s Tale to DVD so I don’t feel compelled to subscribe to yet another streaming service just to watch some of the best science fiction television being broadcast, or more accurately, streamed currently.