Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

Netflix UK Review 2012

I really like the idea of Netflix. You pay a flat fee of £5.99 a month and then you can stream movies and tv shows whenever you want them, over and over if you want, with no ads. So I thought I’d try it out (for free). The convenience of being able to watch whatever you want when you want is a great idea, and if it was ubiquitous I believe it’d cut down on piracy massively since it’s cheap and easy.

The bad news 😦
Unfortunately there’s no linux client. Since most media servers are linux based this is a shame but it’s due to DRM dependencies. There was talk of there being a linux client and now talk that there won’t be, however a Chrome addon is likely to eventually support NetFlix on linux.

The other bad news 😦
Although there’s clients for a variety of devices, including android tablets I can’t get the android client to work, I load it up and just see a spinning throbber endlessly.

The good news 🙂
The Wii client works well and was fun to browse. TV listings are well structured and programme fast-forwarding through thumbnails is great. Quality is ok and I loaded up a few FireFly episodes and enjoyed flicking around them. The quality wasn’t as good as my FireFly DVD though, so I turned off the Wii and put the DVD in my linux media centre to watch in my bedroom. If you’ve never watched FireFly it’s worth signing up for the free month trial just to watch it.

The really bad news 😦
The choice is just terrible at the moment. I like rubbish movies, and even old rubbish movies which is good because that’s all there is. In terms of TV there’s just ancient stuff. Top Gear episodes from 2003-2009 (which is basically the Dave playlist minus QI) and some other things I can already get for free (or rather forced purchase) from BBC iPlayer. In terms of US tv shows the choice ranges from appalling to non-existent (Ok so there’s a couple of good shows but I’ve already seen them, notable popular shows not on Netflix UK include Bones, Castle, Supernatural, True Blood, Nikita, Eureka, The Mentalist, The Vampire Diaries, Glee, Game of Thrones, Fringe, Homeland etc). It is possible to pretend you’re in the US rather than the UK of course, since Netflix is just looking at your IP address, in which case the choice is much better but that’s probably considered cheating at best and is probably T’s and C’s violation. If you do proxy to the US you’ll find most of the shows I listed above are available.

The conclusion
It’s a bit like dusting off my own DVD collection of rubbish old films and old good tv boxsets. Maybe there’s a couple of things in there to enjoy during the free trial month but there’s no way I’ll be continuing my membership past the free trial which is a shame. I like the convenience, I’d like it even more if there was a linux client and the android client worked, but it all comes down to the library in the end which just isn’t good enough at the moment.

I’m hoping it’ll get better and I’ll happily sign up again.


6 responses to “Netflix UK Review 2012

  1. Anonymous April 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm


  2. ragnekuk April 10, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I signed up just before summer of last year, around May/June time and I agree the choice was poor. However I kept my sub. going and the choice has begun to improve. Series such as Vampire Diaries, White Collar, Breaking Bad have all been picked up by the UK site, though maybe not to as recent a series/episode as the states version. The “new” films are starting to look better as well now too. Also I use Netflix on windows, android and iOS and it works without an issue.

    Just thought I would let you know as you mentioned you would return to the idea in the future.

  3. Anonymous December 11, 2013 at 4:20 am

    I started a the free month in October 2013 and also was pretty disappointed by the series and movies availlable. There are some good ones – like said in the comment above – such as Braking Bad, White Collar, Criminal Minds and Dexter but still very popular series missing (such as The Mentalist, Supernatural, Arrow and Glee).
    Anyway if you’re testing it for a month – it’s perfect, since there are a few good films too (those kind of films you actually always wanted to watch but didn’t really want to by the DVD, or those other people told you were great but you just didn’t want to ‘pay’ for to see.) However at the moment I think the series and movies you can choose from are alright, so that you can actually enjoy the free trial and maybe one month, but to be honest, that would be about it too.

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