Thursday, December 28, 2006

Night at the Museum (2006) review

I went with my nephews to see Night at the Museum (2006) this week. They are 13, 15, and 17, and they loved it! It is a terrific family action-adventure movie in the tradition of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. It's about a night watchman at the Museum of Natural History who discovers that all the exhibits come to life at night. It is a very clean movie which manages to be funny and exciting also. I like it because it isn't trying to be cynical or sophisticated, but instead expresses old-fashioned values in the context of a good time.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Spiritually Significant Films™ on Netflix

The Arts and Faith Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films™ list links each title to Netflix with an "add to queue" button.

The list constitutes a wide range of movies, covering many different themes and subjects. As I look over it, I think, what do all these unique movies have in common? What are "spiritually significant" films? Without a doubt, every one of the movies will make you think.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Criticker vs Netflix

Criticker claims to be "the best Movie Recommendation Engine and Community on the Internet!" When asked if they would be trying for the NetflixPrize, their answer was "NO ! We won’t take part...if someone ever tries to submit our algorithm, it won’t do him and Netflix any good - because Netflix won’t be able to use it.

To get our algorithm they would need to buy Criticker, but it won’t be a 1 million [dollar] bargain."

Have you tried Criticker? If so, how does it compare to Netflix?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Netflix gift certificates

I have given a Netflix gift certificate this Christmas. Have you?

I see them on eBay sometimes, but I'm afraid to take a chance on it turning out to be a scam.

Finally got some Netflix Schwag

After years of being gratuitously accused of shilling by commenters here and elsewhere, all without any actual recompense from Netflix, an insider contact at Netflix finally sent me some Netflix schwag, to thank me for all I've done. Sweet. I received a red Netflix-logo t-shirt, a black Netflix-logo hat, and a couple feet of red Netflix-logo stickers.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Calvaire (2005)


Usually in a horror movie, there's a moral to the story. For example, don't dress like a hoochie and walk alone through dark tunnels at night, or don't have premarital sex in a cabin in the woods, or don't get off the Interstate through Texas. However, in Calvaire, the moral seems to be, "don't be a wedding singer" or "don't take a roadtrip in a van with a bad alternator." Of course, Marc Stevens does exactly that, and he gets into some trouble with the French version of rednecks. The suspense got to me at one point: I had to turn it off and come back to it later. However, compared to the fate of American horror victims, Mr. Stevens gets off easy.

I received a free screener copy of this movie as part of the Netflix VIP program at Palm Pictures.

Japanese movie news

Hoga Central is an English-language site written by Japanese people and devoted to contemporary Japanese cinema:

"We hope that our site will help the international fans discover about wide range of recent Japanese movies, in addition to the classics samurai films and art-oriented movies, We also hope that journalists and researchers can utilize this site to have a better understanding about what movies Japanese people enjoy on a real-time basis, not just limited to the ones that are released overseas."

Also contains helpful links to other Asian film news and shopping.

Netflix name decoder

Because of the X, Netflix makes for some interesting acronyms. Click on the image to decode your own name.


Networked Electronic Technician Fabricated for Logical Infiltration and Xenocide

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Counting Netflix: in which Google thinks I'm a hacker

Inspired by this item on Hacking NetFlix, about how Netflix Has 70,000 Titles, Blockbuster 60,000, I decided to see if I could count the number of titles displayed on Netflix's Web site using an advanced Google search.

This is the search I attempted: allinurl: MovieDisplay -rss site:netflix.com 1..10000000

The words MovieDisplay appear in the url for every movie. I didn't want RSS feeds, because that results in duplication, and I restricted the site to Netflix.com because Netflix movies are linked on hundreds of thousands of sites. I restricted results to include numbers one through ten million, because I thought that would help find only those movies with a movie id. I changed my search preferences to include all languages, and removed filtering. Surprisingly, that doubled the results!

Google will let me see only one page of the more than 85 thousand results of this search. If I try to go further, I get an error message which says I'm acting like spyware. Click on the following photo to read the message:

I decided to eliminate the 1..10000000, and lost ten thousand results, but now Google no longer thinks I'm a virus. A quick scan of the results shows they are all specific movie titles on the Netflix site. There are 75,400 titles on Netflix.com. See if you can duplicate my results and let me know if you get a different number.

Update: I've repeated the search, and now I can't get more than 75,200 results.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Netflix changes advertising policy

Anonymous Source says Netflix will be phasing out banner advertisements on its Web site over the next few months, because they aren't worth it.

Conspiracy Theorist Source says, maybe the reason Blockbuster is collecting Netflix mailer flaps is to see who is paying Netflix for advertising.

I'm not the only one who sees sneaky motives behind Blockbuster's actions.

Monday, December 11, 2006

24 Films Guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy - Advent DVD Guide

A very interesting list of films from alt-flix.co.uk designed to enhance the Christmas mood. Not all are Christmas films, but all have something special, or maybe just snow. The site links to the Amazon UK site, but these films are available on Netflix, too.

Top Ten, er, Eleven Ways to Spell Netflix

I have decided that these are the top ten most popular (mis)spellings of NETFLIX. The numbers in parentheses are the Google hits:

  1. Netflix (2,100,000)
  2. NFLX (303,000)
  3. Net Flix (43,600)
  4. Netflicks (22,900)
  5. Netfix (16,400)
  6. Nexflix (619)
  7. Net Flicks (610)
  8. Nextflix (216)
  9. Netflixx (72)
  10. Netfilx (23)
  11. Nets Flicks (22)


Update: I added Netflixx at #9, suggested by Davis Freeberg.

My Google preferences are set on strict filtering and English-only results.

Netflix is a "green company"

WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: What Netflix Tells Us About a Bright Green Future
"Netflix is a product-service system for DVDs. By signing up for the service, you are able to rent movies you want to see, without having to own them. So far, so good, and much like a traditional video store. However, Netflix goes one better on sustainability terms, by letting users order movies online and delivering the DVDs via the regular postal mail. Now I'm sure they made the decision to do this based entirely on cost savings, but as it turns out, there are real sustainability savings involved as well: by not having a store to which I drive to get the videos, the planet is spared the impacts of a retail outlet, as well as all those trips back and forth, each of which uses (though I haven't run the numbers, I'm sure this is true) far more fuel and generates far more pollution than do the daily rounds of the local mail carrier (who is, after all, making the trip anyway)."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nicheflix going out of business sale

I am very sad to report that, as I suspected, both Nicheflix and Nicheflix a la carte are going out of business. Friday December 22nd will be the last day films will be shipped out. Their going-out-of-business sale is a fantastic opportunity to get rare, out-of-print, non-region one collectible titles on DVD. Check out their store on eBay: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Foreign-Region

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mystery writer reviews movies on Netflix

Quite serendipitously, I discovered that William Mize shares his profile on Netflix, so you can see his reviews and favorites.

Via WilliamMize.com

Netflix on 60 Minutes

Here are two links to Reed Hasting's appearance on 60 Minutes:

Netflix on CBSNews.com

Netflix on 60Minutes.com

Because of Netflix, I do not watch TV any more, so I tend to forget about stories like this.

When I say I don't watch TV, I mean, erm, I don't watch TV. I do not have cable. I have zero channels. I might hook up the rabbit ears if humans were about to land on Mars, but otherwise, all I see on my TV is snow, unless I'm watching a DVD or VHS.

Thanks to Mike G.

Blockbuster Video collecting Netflix subscriber info

Blockbuster Online has a new gimmick to get you to switch from Netflix. You can bring the "tear-off address flaps of your Netflix rental envelopes" to Blockbuster Video and use them like coupons for "free" rentals. I say "free," because you pay for the time, the gas, and the video, if you don't return it on time. The promotion runs from now until December 21.

This is not going to work, because Netflix subscribers hate making the trip to the store twice for the same movie, the limited selection, and due dates.

This promotion is a way for Blockbuster to find out exactly which of you are Netflix subscribers, so they can spam you. Netflix isn't going to sell their membership mailing list to Blockbuster, so Blockbuster is going to get you to volunteer the information.


Via PRN news press release.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Nicheflix disappoints

I'm disappointed with Nicheflix. They are an online subscription rental service, modeled after Netflix, which specializes in multi-region DVDs. I rejoined three months ago in order to rent the British DVD release of the Farscape TV series, season five, but I quit them. Nicheflix lets you add movies to a queue, and the queue shows the status, whether long wait, short wait, or even "out of stock." Well, I added Panic in Needle Park, which was available, but then it became out of stock. Unrelated to that, they sent me an email telling me that they are selling some surplus DVDs on eBay. Much to my chagrin, they were selling Panic in Needle Park on eBay, even though it is in my queue as out of stock! Even though I contacted the eBay seller ID about it, they never replied. I contacted Nicheflix directly. They never replied. Therefore, I am posting this.

My feeling is that they are pulling out of the subscription rental business by selling off their stock. Well, if they are going to do that, they shouldn't be accepting any more subscriptions. They took my money under false pretenses.

Nicheflix has another store, called Nicheflix a la carte, where you can do short-term rentals of individual DVDs for a fee. That store seems to be growing. They are still adding more titles to their inventory, although much more slowly than at first. They don't have Panic in Needle Park.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thank your mail carrier

The Postal Service will deliver 20 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

On average, the Postal Service processes 670 million pieces of mail every day. On the peak holiday mailing day, Dec. 18, that volume will increase to 900 million pieces of mail. On that day alone.

On average, Netflix ships 1.4 million DVDs each day.

According to my calculations, Netflix makes up .2%, that's two-tenths of one percent, of the average daily volume of mail. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

We have an amazingly efficient, inexpensive postal system, and I want to thank you postal workers for bringing me my Netflix every day.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Review indie films

I love Indie film, so I've signed up for this Palm Pictures Netflix VIP Program, in which I will receive screener DVDs of films which I may or may not choose to review here. If you're a Netflix user who is interested in reviewing indie films, too, send an email with your name and address and links to 3 recent indie film reviews to erik.martin [at] palmpictures.com.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Queue progress update: a big milestone

I started watching the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, in May 2004, having already seen about 200 titles in the book.
Now I've seen 904.
I passed 801 in June.
I'm watching them in chronological order, so I'm in the 1990's now.
I have 78 of them in my Netflix queue.
I own 7 which I haven't watched yet.
Which leaves 12 missing titles, which I will have to beg, borrow, or steal from somewhere. I especially need to find sources for Hanyo (1960) and Deseret (1995) . If you can help me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Hobbit rights-owner backs Jackson for prequel

Saul Zaentz owns all the movie rights to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings.

Zaentz says, "It will definitely be shot by Peter Jackson. ... Next year The Hobbit rights will fall back to my company. I suppose that Peter will wait because he knows that he will make the best deal with us. And he is fed up with the studios: to get his profit share on the Rings trilogy he had to sue New Line. With us, in contrast, he knows that he will be paid fairly and artistically supported without reservation."


READ MORE:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Peter Jackson not making the Hobbit

I just found out via TheOneRing.net™, that Peter Jackson, director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will not be making the Hobbit prequel. This is terribly disappointing. I don't know who else I would trust with this movie, since he did such a great job with LOTR. I'm a huge LOTR fan, but I'm afraid the Hobbit would stink without our beloved PJ at the helm.

Things for which I'm thankful

My loving God and savior Jesus
My loving Family
Freedom
Health
American citizenship
Independence
Material provisions
Material comfort
Safety
My education
etc, etc, etc, and of course,
Netflix

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weinsteins buy Video store chain

With their deal to rent their movies exclusively through Blockbuster Video and Blockbuster Online, the Weinsteins have effectively bought themselves a video store chain. They're deliberately excluding Netflix. What is this, Weinstein vs. Hastings ego arm-wrestling? Honk if this angers you.

via Video Business Online

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rentcaddy update

Time to give another plug to the Rentcaddy. I've already mentioned it about three times on this blog, but since Carl is still loving it, I'm posting his follow-up review.

Carl writes:

It's been a little over a year since I reviewed the Rentcaddy, and I thought I'd give an update.

A year later, I'm still using my Rentcaddy. I've hauled it with me to conventions and on vacation. It's held up incredibly well and looks practically brand-new. I don't really have anything new to say about the product... just that a year later, I'm still using it and I think it was money very well spent.

Mmm. One thing I realized that I had missed in my earlier review. The pockets to hold the sleeves are bigger than the pockets to hold the discs... they're specifically designed for the purpose. I'm still separating the sleeve and disc into their own pockets. (You may recall that I questioned why one would want to do this.) It makes it easy to immediately see which disc is out or where I'm supposed to put the disc I've got in my hand. I don't use the retainer-flap over the disc, even when I'm traveling... it's just too much bother. I've only once dumped a disc on the floor. Just have to remember not to invert it.

If you'll recall, I bought one for my mom last Christmas. I see it on her coffee table regularly, and asked her how she liked it the other day (which is what made me think to write this). She loves it. Not only does it keep all discs and return envelopes organized, it keeps them looking neat and tidy on the coffee table.

I can heartily recommend the Rentcaddy as a Christmas gift for friends and family on Netflix. (Or one of those other rental services, if they must.)



The rentcaddy folks have given me absolutely zero incentives to plug their merchandise.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Silly Movie Survey: my answers

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 movies on this list, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 240 movies on this list. Put your score in header and re-post.

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
() Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
() Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 7

(x) The Princess Bride
() AnchorMan: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
(x) Saw
() Saw II
() White Noise
() White Oleander
() Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
() The Princess Diaries
() The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total: 4

(x) Scream
() Scream 2
() Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
() Scary Movie 2
() Scary Movie 3
() Scary Movie 4
() American Pie
() American Pie 2
() American Wedding
() American Pie Band Camp
Total: 2

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
() Resident Evil 2
() The Wedding Singer
() Little Black Book
(x) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
Total: 7

(x) Finding Nemo
(x)Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
(x) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
()White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
()13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
(x) Robots
Total: 6

(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
() Universal Soldier
(x) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
() Along Came Polly
() Deep Impact
() KingPin
() Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
() Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
(x) KING KONG
Total: 5

( ) A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
() The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving X-MAS
() Flubber
Total: 2

() Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
(x)Chicago
() Ghost Ship
() From Hell
(x) Hellboy
(x) The Secret Window
(x ) I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
Total: 4

(x) The Day After Tomorrow
(x) Child's Play
() Seed of Chucky
() Bride of Chucky
() Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
( ) Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
() Sixteen Candles CLASSIC
( ) Remember the Titans
(x) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
(x) The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
Total: 5

() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Slevin
() Ocean's Eleven
() Ocean's Twelve
(x) Identity
() Lone Star
() Bedazzled
(x) Predator I
() Predator II
() The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
(x) Curious George
Total: 4

(x) Independence Day
(x) Cujo
() A Bronx Tale
() Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) ET
(x) Children of the Corn
() My Bosses Daughter
() Maid in Manhattan
() Frailty
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
() Rush Hour 2
Total: 7

() Best Bet
() How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She's All That
(x) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
() Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
() The Terminator 3
Total: 9

(x) X-Men
(x) X2
(x) X3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
() Sky High
() Jeepers Creepers
() Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) the little mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
() Reign of Fire
() The Skulls
() Cruel Intentions
() Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total: 10

() Swimfan
() Miracle on 34th street
() Old School
(x) The Notebook
() K-Pax
() Krippendorf's Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
() Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old-virgin
Total: 2


(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total: 6

() Love and Basketball
() Hostel
() Waiting for Guffman
() House of 1000 Corpses
() Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
(x) Highlander
() Mothman Prophecies
() American History X
(x) Three Amigos
Total: 3

() The Jacket
(x) Kung Fu Hustle
(x) Shaolin Soccer
() Night Watch
(x) Monster
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
() Willard
Total: 6

() High Tension
() Club Dread
(x) Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicals Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
(x) Orgazmo
() Phantasm
(x) Underworld
Total: 7

(x) Kill Bill vol 1
(x) Kill Bill vol 2
() Mortal Kombat
() Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
(x) the Hills Have Eyes
() I Spit on Your Grave
() The Last House on the Left
() Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
Total: 5

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) StarwarsEp. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
() Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
() Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total: 6

(x) the Matrix
(x) the Matrix Reloaded
() the Matrix Revolutions
(x) Animatrix
(x) Evil Dead
(x) Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
() Hannibal
Total: 8

Grand Total: 115!

This survey came from a drunk Laura on MySpace via HackingNetflix.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chat with other Netflix Fans right here

Thanks to Chat Creator, I have added a chatbox to this blog. It's easy to use and anonymous. You can chat about Netflix or find Netflix Friends. Let me know how you like it.



I'm going to add this to the sidebar of this blog, too, so you can chat anytime.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In the Mood

I remember how I was back in the day, browsing the aisles at the video store, asking, "what am I in the mood for?"

But since I've had Netflix, I don't care what mood I'm in. I watch whatever shows up in the mailbox.

What about you? Do you organize your queue around your moods? Or do you watch whatever comes next? Or do you have an agenda?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Netflix and the bell curve


Average ratings
Originally uploaded by igrigorik.
igrigorik has posted several interesting graphs of Netflix users' ratings data on Flickr. This one shows that 3.8 is the average rating given to titles on Netflix.

Friday, October 27, 2006

In Other News: Local CW affiliate holding open auditions for on air talent


WCWG CW 20 will hold it’s first open auditions Saturday October 28, 2006 at Hanes Mall located at 3320 SILAS CREEK PKWY, WINSTON-SALEM, NC from 11am to 1pm on the first floor below the food court. Please bring your resume and a demo tape if you have one. You may also submit your resume and audition tape to: WCWG C/O Talent Search 622-G Guilford College Rd. Greensboro, NC 27409. Acceptable tape formats include: VHS, DVD, and DVC Pro.


50 candidates will be selected; their videos will be posted on WCWG20.com and the top five to receive the most votes will go on local radio stations to display their talents and two candidates will be eliminated. The remaining three will shoot another video demo and the one that receives the most interest will become the station's new on-air personality.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Somebody at Netflix reads this blog!

Netflix employee Wesley Miaw has blogged a nice, thoughtful response, entitled A Netflix blog?, to my earlier post regarding Why no corporate blog for Netflix? Bottom line is that his is not a Netflix blog, but rather, the personal blog of someone who works at Netflix. I must say that all of the employees I linked to in that post are blogging as private individuals, not as representatives of Netflix. I apologize if that distinction is not clear.

I've since updated it to include Eric David, Advertising Production Specialist.

NOTE: Keep in mind that since these are all personal blogs, please do not direct Netflix customer service inquiries to them.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Dipstick Guide to Movies


The Dipstick Guide to Movies
Originally uploaded to Flickr by aroid.
Aroid says:
The Dipstick will guide you. But like with the Mets, you gotta believe, and read the instructions.

First stick the dipstick into a Netflix envelope and take a reading.

"Full" means "Everything is illuminated", so don't "Curb your enthusiasm". Sit back and enjoy.

"Empty" means you had better make "The Great Escape" from this turkey. Move on, don't torture yourself, start over.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Another queue milestone

For the first time since I joined Netflix in January 2004, my queue has dipped below 100 titles!! I haven't had to add anything in a long while, since I'm working on the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I haven't put anything in my queue unless it's in that book. I have seen 881 of the 1001, which leaves 120. I have 97 in my Netflix queue. I own 12 which I haven't watched yet. I'm still looking for 11 of them. I have just 16 to watch before I'm done with every movie through 1990.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Why no corporate blog for Netflix? Updated 10-26-06

Mike at Hacking Netflix and I have often wondered why Netflix doesn't have a corporate blog. The closest they came was when their in-house movie critic James Rocchi had one. This story about Wal-Mart getting into trouble with a blog , by disguising it as a fan blog, makes me glad Netflix hasn't done that. People used to think Mike's blog or my blog were corporate blogs, but that's not the case. Mike gets alot of information from Netflix contacts he has, but he's not on the payroll, as far as I know. I'm glad that Netflix is obviously sharing information with Hacking Netflix, but not making him their mouthpiece, so he retains some credibility, and they aren't directly risking potential damage to their image by association with him.

A quick search reveals that Netflix is not forbidding employees from publicly acknowledging online where they work. I wonder if they have a policy governing employees speaking for the company. Here are some:

Robert Fagen
Michael Rubin
Neil Hunt
Wesley Miaw
Eric David

That's just five out of hundreds of employees. Surely, there must be more? Do you know of any others?

UPDATE: I've added Advertising Production Specialist Eric David to the list. 10-26-06 I must say that all of these employees are blogging as private individuals, not as representatives of Netflix. I apologize if that distinction is not clear. 10-26-06

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Now I've seen everything

When I joined Netflix in January of 2004, I was so excited, that I quickly filled up my queue to the limit of 500 titles.* Since then, I have been tracking my Netflix history using a program called Netflix Freak, and as of today, I have watched 500 DVDs from Netflix. If I hadn't added any new titles in the last years, I would have emptied my queue today.**


*because of the Profiles feature, you are no longer limited to 500 total, just 500 per profile. If you want a longer queue, add a profile.

**My queue has 100 items in it today, not counting the saved section.

Friday, October 06, 2006

"Wings of Desire" flying East


Although Netflix has been doing this for at least two weeks, this is the first time it's happened to me. In my usual email from Netflix, telling me that my next movie has shipped, they had the courtesy to tell me that the title wasn't available at my local (Greensboro, NC) shipping center, so it is coming from San Jose, CA, and I can expect it in three business days.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Replacement for damaged disc is shipping today

I know Netflix says they will ship replacement discs "as soon as possible," and some of you have complained that they don't ship replacements until after you return the damaged disc. That's not always the case. In my experience, Netflix ships replacement discs even before I return the damaged ones. Here's a screen-grab of my queue as proof:

You can click on the photo for a larger view.

My Netflix Friends page

If you are Looking for Netflix Friends, check the comments on this post. You can leave your email address as an open invitation to make a Netflix Friend. New addresses are being added all the time.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Full House of Netflix


a full house
Originally uploaded to Flickr by aroid on 30 Sep '06, 2.22pm EDT.
Flickr-user aroid calls it a "once in a lifetime event" when "8 Netflixes arrived on the same day."



Titles bumped from Queue to "Saved" means Out of Print

I've just had two titles bumped from my Netflix Queue to my Netflix Saved section, suddenly, and with no explanation. One is Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother, and the other is Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer (20th Anniversary). The titles have gone OOP [out of print]. All About My Mother is on Amazon.com for $20-49.95 and Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer (20th Anniversary) is there for $16-22.

What does it mean for something to go out of print? Well, books and DVDs are manufactured, just like shoes and toilet paper. When a publisher or movie distributer decides to sell copies, they hire a printer to do a job for them, known as a print run. They order a certain number of discs or books, based on how many they think they can sell, based on pre-orders from stores and customers. A run can be hundreds or thousands of copies. If they succeed in selling all of their copies, they are done. The Book or DVD is now "out of print." You are not aware of this until all the copies are gone from the stores.

Netflix buys many copies. Each copy lasts through maybe a dozen rental cycles before it wears out. When all of Netflix's copies wear out, they order more from the distributor. If there is a second print run or third print run, we're in luck. However, if the distributor doesn't do another print run, Netflix has no control over that. Netflix isn't about to go to eBay or Amazon or Blockbuster to buy more copies, because that would not be cost-effective.

Going out of print doesn't mean that there are no more copies anywhere. It means that the manufacturer has sold all the copies that were made. You can still find copies at your local retail or rental store, or online at other stores or rental outlets, but the price might go up as collectors and speculators take advantage of the shortage.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Neil and Linda

Neil and Linda are working their way through the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, posting reviews of them on their blog as they go. Since they started in July, Neil has seen 72 and Linda, 75. They have a lovely blog on which they have listed all the movies by decade or genre, and linked them to Amazon.co.uk, where available. Since they are in the U.K., they don't have the benefit of using the enormous selection at Netflix, but it's a great idea for a blog. I've been able to see 861 of the movies on the list, of which, I rented about 450 from Netflix.

2-25-07 update: I just discovered that Neil and Linda have deleted their blog. Sorry about that.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Weekly Blurb

The Weekly Blurb is a movie review site where EVERY MOVIE gets a rave review!!! Find out about Surprise Hits of the Year!!! Listen to Blurbcasts about Powerful and Important Masterpieces!!!! Discover Staggering works of Pure Genius!!!! IF YOU LOVE MOVIES, THIS IS A MUST-SEE BLOG!!!!!!

P.S. Whoever does the blurbcasts for this site sure sounds familiar.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New Netflix Widget

John Forsythe has created a nifty new Netflix Widget for displaying your queue on your blog. You can use your RSS feed to display only movies you have at home or the whole queue, but that would be huge. You'll need to know how to place html code in your blog template, but he makes it real easy. I'm going to display mine in my sidebar. He has a great feature that if you click on the Advanced button, you can customize how it displays to automatically match the style of your blog.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oops! I lied.

Back in July, I answered a Netflix customer survey. I thought it was routine and that it would never be read by a human being. At the end of the survey was a place for comments, so I freely told them how I love Netflix so much that I started a fan blog. Of course, this excited them very much, so they sent me the request for my testimonial which I posted on August 30.

After thinking about it for a long time, I have since decided not to give Netflix my testimonial.

The reason is that I value my privacy. I'm afraid that Netflix would connect my name and face to this blog, which on the plus side, would generate alot of traffic, but then I wouldn't feel like I was blogging for myself any more, but for Netflix.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Netflix fan out of the closet?

Dear Netflix Fan:

A few weeks back you had participated in a Netflix survey and had
shared some comments about Netflix that we would like to include in our
library of testimonials. In exchange for the permission to use this
testimonial you will receive three months of free membership to your current
Netflix subscription plan.

We would also appreciate if you could include a picture of you/your
family that could be used with the testimonial.

If you are interested, here are the 3 things you need to do:

1. Read the "Release Agreement" below.
2. Reply to this email and acknowledge your acceptance
3. Attach a digital picture of you/your family to the email

Please also include your name and the email address that you use with
your Netflix Service so we can credit your account for 3 months of free
service.

Your account will be credited after we receive your pictures and
acceptance to the Release Agreement (below).

Rifftrax, from one of the guys behind MST3K

Even though Rifftrax is a Blockbuster Online affiliate, I think they would be a great tool for Netflix users, too. As they say:
RiffTrax.com, is an innovative new site featuring the hilarious DVD commentaries of Michael J. Nelson, head writer and star of the legendary Mystery Science Theater 3000!

Do you feel that some of the movies coming out of Hollywood are just, well, missing something? At RiffTrax, you can download Mike's running commentaries and listen to them along with your favorite, and not so favorite DVDs. It's like watching a movie with your funniest friend. And it's easy to do. Just check out our FAQ; more than likely, you have the tools to do it already.

Don't just sit back and take whatever Hollywood throws at you. Transform the DVD experience with RiffTrax. It's the most fun you'll ever
have at the movies.


Via Listology

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Netflix vanity plates available in North Carolina


You'd think I would be the one to have the personalized license plate for Netflix in North Carolina, but I do not. If you want it, it's available.

So also is nflxfan. Do you have a Netflix vanity plate for your state? If so, I'd like to see it. Send me a photo or link in the comments. Thanks.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Netflix drop point in Raleigh, NC

Via the Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer:
"If you rent DVDs online instead of at the store, you may have noticed your films are getting to you sooner.

Return address labels on some Netflix movies direct DVDs to a Raleigh address. Blockbuster Online customers might send some of their returns to Holly Springs.

But neither company has opened a distribution center here.

Instead, Netflix now has a Raleigh drop point, where all of the DVDs for the Triangle are collected and then shipped en masse to the big distribution center in Greensboro.

Blockbuster, on the other hand, has supplemented its 35 distribution centers nationwide with the inventories of about 1,000 of its retail stores.

If you order a movie online and the store in Holly Springs can get it to you faster than the distribution center in Charlotte, the employees there ship it out, said spokesman Randy Hargrove."

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spike Lee movies underrated on Netflix?



Jim says: "Having just finished and enjoyed Inside Man, it occurred to me I've been neglecting Spike Lee's work of late. So I was checking out his Netflix page to see what I should rent next, when I was struck by how low his ratings seem. I guess they aren't too bad, but no movies crack four stars, and quite a few seem to hover between two and three. And Inside Man gets the best mark?"

However, I think: "Netflix displays the red stars you see according to how you rate. "People who rate like you" are giving him those ratings. When I look at his page, I see only two 2-star movies, the rest are 3, 3.5 or 4. I'm going to blog about this and see if anyone else sees it any differently."

Click on the photo to see a screen capture of my view of Spike Lee's page on Netflix.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Cheaper than Netflix



I just rented two movies for 54 cents, including tax, from Family Video, in High Point, NC. I drove by there tonight and noticed the store for the first time. Because of Netflix, I don't bother with video stores except for titles still available only on VHS, or if I need a specific title immediately.

This store gave me my first two DVD rentals for 50% off, which were regularly $1.00 for 5 nights. The first 30 days of my new membership, all my rentals are half off. The associate offered to give me a tour of the store. They rent kids' (limit 3) and educational videos for free. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all new release rentals, about $2.50-3.50 for two or three nights, come with a free rental from the "almost new" section.

The downside is that it's still a video store, which means driving to and fro, and the location is about 15 miles from my home. The selection is well-organized, but still limited, so I didn't find any hard-to-find or out-of-print titles.

Still, because of the great customer service and low prices, when I can't wait for Netflix, I'll remember Family Video.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Not Starring

Not Starring is a database of "your favorite stars, and the roles they didn't get."

One of my greatest disappointments is that Daniel Day-Lewis turned down the role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He would have been brilliant. Way better than Viggo Mortensen. I guess Mr. Lewis had no desire to be richer and famouser.

The "red army of Netflix" enlists another fan

Steve Svekis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is a recent convert to Netflix fandom. Read more about what got him to make the switch. Bottom line? He hasn't "stepped into a video-rental store since."

Friday, July 28, 2006

If you can't see 1001, how about 50?

Perhaps I should re-name this blog after the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, since that's my current obsession, but there is no way I could meet my goal of seeing them all without my beloved Netflix. However, if you despair of seeing all 1001, or you have a short time to live (my condolences), the Sunday Mail has come up with a shorter list of only 50 Films You Must See Before You Die...according to "experts" of course. I have posted my checklist on Listology, where you can see that I have only nine more to go before I'm free to shuffle off this mortal coil (not that I intend to, of course).

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Idaho has a new Netflix distribution center

Faithful reader Tourneyman1 says folks in Idaho had been getting DVDs from the Salem, Oregon distribution center with two days mailing times. Starting Jun 26 he's been getting them from a new Boise, Idaho shipping facility with one day delivery.

I've posted the address for the Boise facility on the list of Netflix distribution centers.

Fabulous photos of Netflix headquarters

Mike K of Hacking Netflix went to California and brought back some fabulous photos of the Netflix headquarters. He's not a spy, so all of the photos are legal. They wouldn't let him take any photos of the distribution center {sadness}. I guess that's why they won't invite me out there. They're afraid I would be all over that DC with my nano-spy-camera, giving away their secrets, like I have no self-control or anything. Anyway, head on over to Zoomr to see the collection.

Friday, July 21, 2006

It's been saved

Netflix says :

For titles that haven't been released on DVD yet or for which the release date is unknown, we offer the option to save them in the "Saved" section of your Queue.


Sometimes a title will disappear from your regular queue and show up in your Saved section. This could be because it goes out of print, or all the copies get broken or missing, or whoever holds the rights to it stops dealing with Netflix, etc. There are all sorts of reasons. Don't give up. I have seen them come out with a new edition shortly after.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Netflix domain name up for sale on eBay

Netflix.us is on auction at eBay with a starting bid of $500.00. The sellers claim it is worth ten times that. I wonder. It's worth nothing, if Netflix shuts them down. Seller is brand-spanking-new servo_webfx, with a feedback of six, and claims to be in Colorado.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hacking Netflix interviews Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Or, Mike K. talks to Reed H.

Mike got Reed to answer a couple of our questions, but I still ain't got no satisfaction. I'll translate for you. When Mike asks why doesn't Netflix reveal the formula behind "throttling," Reed basically answers that as long as happy customers outnumber unhappy ones, they don't have to tell you anything. He says it's a balancing act between protecting a trade secret, and giving subscribers "a sense of straight-forwardness."

You can read it all here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

You can bet Netflix will win

The online sports betting site, bodog, is taking bets on the outcome of the Netflix vs. Blockbuster Online patent lawsuit.

Netflix queue fodder from twofifty.org

twofifty.org

If you are looking for movies to add to your Netflix queue, The Internet Movie Database is one of the best places to start, other than Netflix.com of course. IMDB maintains a list of the top 250 movies as voted by their users. I have seen 223 of them, but the list changes as the popularity of the films changes. As time passes, some drop off and others are added. I keep track of how many I've seen using a site called twofifty.org, which automatically updates the list as it changes. You can easily check off the ones you've seen with a single click. You can post comments on the movies, share your list on your blog, and check out the statistics on various movies.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Blockbuster Online promo code

Someone using the email address blockbustervideoonline at yahoo posted this one month free trial promo code on the netflix_complaints Yahoo! group:

No risk or obigation. Compare it side by side with Netflix.

www.blockbuster.com/trial

Promo Code: 40037

If you've never used Blockbuster Online, you should try it out. In some areas, the shipping is not as fast as Netflix, because they do not have as many distribution centers, and their selection is a little different. They don't always ship in queue order. Sometimes they ship from a video store. Although not as good as Netflix, they are a good alternative.

Skeleton climbing the Netflix building


P1010017
Originally uploaded by ~YYY.
I have no idea why.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Netflix Challenge

Could you empty your maxed-out Netflix queue in only one year? Well, San Francisco Bay Area writer Bucky Sinister is trying to watch 500 Netflix movies (the maximum you can put in a Netflix Queue) in one year. As of this week he's watched 229, and needs to get the rest viewed by December 31. He's calling it the Q-500 experiment. You can also "play along" by joining his Netflix Friends list, swap opinions on films, or suggest a film for his queue. If you're crazy like me, you might try to beat him. Except I can't. I've seen 257 movies this year, but only 82 were from Netflix.

Monday, July 03, 2006

If you love them, set them free

Stoner alerted me to this article in the New York Times detailing one poor man's effort to detach himself from the clingy AOL. "When Vincent Ferrari, 30, of the Bronx, called AOL to cancel his membership last month, it took him a total of 21 minutes, including the time spent on an automated sequence at the beginning and some initial waiting in a queue."

In sharp contrast to Netflix, which makes it easy to cancel their service:
IF I were asked to think of an online company that provides exemplary customer service to its subscribers, Netflix, the DVD rental company, would come to mind well before AOL. When I took a look to see whether Netflix offered a way for a customer to cancel membership swiftly while online, I discovered that it provides a procedure — a click on a link, a click on a checkmark box, and one more click to complete — that would take no more than two seconds. No exit interviews, no last-ditch offers while I'm held captive on the phone.

Seeing how Netflix would be so protective of my time were I to leave makes me all the more unlikely to do so.

You should read the whole article. It's scary-funny.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Five things I hate about Netflix

1. I can't have a million movies at one time
2. I'm not their only customer
3. They don't have every movie and TV show ever made
4. They haven't paid me to write this blog :)
5. It's not free

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Netflix Hearts HTML


Netflix Hearts HTML
Originally uploaded to Flickr by justinbaeder.
Justin says: "This Netflix sleeve from Alias Season 2, Disc 2 has -oops- <I>doesn't</I> instead of doesn't. I guess Netflix customers are geeky enough to understand."

Friday, June 23, 2006

What would you ask Reed Hastings?

Mike K, of the Hacking Netflix blog, is going to get a chance to talk in person to Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, next week, and he's soliciting questions from his readers. I reckon he'll select the best ones and publish the answers on his blog. Go on over there and put your question(s) in the comments.

Yogurt Flix


Stonyfield Farm - Future Flix
Originally uploaded to Flickr by AdamVandenberg.
Netflix font found on ice cream.

Hello, Trademark infringement!
Originally uploaded to Flickr by Vortech.
Two Flickr users have found a similarity between Stonyfield Farms yogurt lid and Netflix. What do you think? Is it trademark infringement to use the same font as Netflix and the word "flix"?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

TradeFlix in beta

TradeFlix is a new peer-to-peer DVD trading service which is in beta. They go live in 100 days, but they are inviting beta testers to join now and invite their friends.

Update re: SilverScreenArchive, formerly ClassicFlix

11/14/2007 UPDATE: I have replaced all references to Classicflix in this post to SilverScreenArchive, which is their new name since October 2006.

I am really enjoying using SilverScreenArchive, which I joined back in March to use as a supplement to my Netflix subscription. If you would like to see the greatest classics of foreign and American film, this is your source. They have thousands of titles which are missing from the Netflix collection, because Netflix carries only DVD releases. SilverScreenArchive does something very helpful for the customer. They take movies which are only on VHS and convert them to DVD for ease of mailing, which makes movies available for rent which you can't get any other way. Since I am trying to complete the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, this is a big help.

They ship series discs in order, I haven't received any unplayable or damaged discs, and they've never made a mistake.

I have two challenges with using SilverScreenArchive, but these don't bother me enough to give up the service, because they still have movies I must see. Turnaround is slow. It can take about 4-5 days for them to receive my returns. They are in California, and I am in North Carolina. The fastest was 3 days once, and the slowest was 8 days once. As a result, even though I'm limited to 8 per month, I've reached my limit only once. Still, I get my money's worth.

The other challenge is that they do not ship in queue order, so there is no predicting what you'll get next. Blockbuster Online does the same thing. However, I never put anything in my queue that I do not always want to see, so that's not a big deal. It's just that there was a title at the top of my queue for three months that just now shipped.

Considering that they are a little mom & pop organization, they do a great job.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Update to Netflix and the set-top box

Hacking Netflix got up early this morning and found that Netflix has filed a SEC form 8-K in order to put a spin on the statement Eric Besner made about Netflix working on a set-top box to bring video downloads from the Internet to your TV.

When Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey told Hacking Netflix that Eric Besner's comments were "Quoted out of context" he really meant that Eric was the one who gave away information without providing the proper context for his remarks. Netflix wants you to think that they aren't committed to providing the set-top box as the final solution for video downloads, because they want you to think they might have something else up their sleeve.

Animal lovers win dogfight with Netflix

Netflix has removed a controversial video from its library, on the grounds that it portrays actual dogfighting, which is illegal. According to the AP story,
"Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix removed Hood Fights from its library during the past week after customer complaints prompted a review of the objectionable content, said company spokesman Steve Swasey.

"We treated it like we would pornography," Swasey said. Netflix doesn't rent pornography to its nearly 5 million subscribers."


Well, Steve, since you say it's like pornography, I can't complain, because I am glad Netflix doesn't carry pornography.

This is a follow-up to my post about censorship. I do not think this is a case of censorship, because Netflix, as a corporation, has the same rights as any individual in America, to act according to their beliefs.

Via Hacking Netflix

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Favorite things about Netflix

Easy to use Website,
Easy to use service, and
DVDs are an easy to use medium
No commercials (unless you think banner ads are commercials)
No storage limitations
Easy to change your address, so your movies can follow you anywhere
No equipment to buy or lease (yet)
No contract
No installation (yet)
No cancellation penalty
Cancel anytime
Constant stream of movies coming and going
I get nothing but what I want
Less risk of getting a crap film
No schedules
No due dates
No wasted trips to video store for out-of-stock titles
No travelling to and from the video store
No forgetting what to rent
Biggest selection possible
No late fees
Learning about new films I didn't know existed
Keeps me within my budget
Free shipping and handling
Rapid turnaround
Clever envelope design
Clever distribution system
Widely loved by a great online community of fellow members
No porn
RSS feeds
Member reviews
Great recommendations system
It's not Blockbuster, Walmart, or Amazon
Easy to buy cheap DVDs
Easy to share movies, ratings, and recommendations with Netflix Friends
Gift subscriptions
Zillions of previews


Do you have a favorite thing about Netflix which I failed to mention?

Netflix Friends temporarily unavailable


The usually reliable Netflix site has been a bit wonky lately, what with ratings and Friends features going on the fritz. It's all temporary, and there's no reason to panic, as they've saved all your stuff and it will be back up "soon."

As Mike says, I hope this means they are making good changes.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Does Springfield, IL have a Netflix DC?

I have a reader who would like to have confirmation that there is a Netflix distribution center in Springfield, Illinois. If you can confirm this, post a comment, and Netflix will have a new subscriber, thanks to you.

Powerful Netflix addict in Baltimore

Hannah Byron, the director of the Baltimore City (MD) Film Office, is a powerful woman, responsible for getting movies, TV shows, documentaries, and commercials filmed in her fair city, and she's also a self-confessed Netflix addict. Read more about Hannah Byron and her job here.

Netflix and the Set-top Box

Hacking Netflix reports that VP of original programming Eric Besner was quoted out of context when he said that "Netflix is planning to introduce a proprietary set-top box with an Internet connection that can download movies overnight."

I'd like to know what the context of that comment was, and how it could possibly be interpreted any other way.

Whatever they do, I hope I can still get the same wide wide selection of movies on my TV for the same low price.

Read more about Netflix and the set-top box at VideoBusiness online.
Via Hacking Netflix

Blockbuster countersues Netflix

In response to Netflix's suit against them for patent infringement, Blockbuster filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Netflix, and hired some expensive lawyers to give a scary-sounding statement full of bold claims in order to prejudice any potential jury pool that Netflix is the bad guy, by using words like "monopoly" and "fraud." Only those lucky jurors will know who is doing right by the customers, and that will be based only on the information the lawyers and courts allow them to have, if it goes that far.

Read more at Reuters

Via Hacking Netflix.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another viewing milestone: 801 out of 1001

The greatest thing about Netflix is their enormously wide selection. They have something like 60,000 titles in their catalog. This big selection of movies gives me the opportunity to do something I could never otherwise have attempted: I am trying to watch ALL of the movies in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die at least once. As of today, I have seen 801 of them! In February 2006, I posted that I had seen 704 of them, so I've seen 97 in the last four months. A year ago, in May 2005, I posted that I had seen 501 of them, so I've seen 300 in the last 13 months.

Here are some of my other viewing statistics:


What are your statistics? How many movies have you rented from Netflix this year? How many have you rated? How many recommendations does Netflix have for you?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Soused Cinema: Netflix Queue fodder for Drunks

If you are looking for movies which will inspire you in your drinking, filled with glamorous and humorous drunks, Modern Drunkard Magazine has a list of the "10 Best Drinking Movies Ever Made." Some of my favorites are on the list, including Charlie Chaplin's One A.M. and The Thin Man.

Iowa gets a new Netflix distribution center

I've just added Cedar Rapids, Iowa to the list of Netflix distribution centers, thanks to commenter Jerry.

If you live within 50 miles of that location, you'll receive one-day delivery from Netflix.

I do not know if this means the Des Moines center is closed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Movie Fans Suspect Foul Play at the Post Office

A Branson, Missouri, man thinks that someone in his local post office shares his taste in films.

Robert Halamicek is one of two USPS customers in Branson who have reported that DVDs they rented from online video rental suppliers have arrived one or two days later than expected, with indications the package had already been opened.

Read more

Why DVDs will be around for few more years

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been saying for years that "DVDs will dominate for another decade," because the selection of movies available for Internet downloading and Video-on-Demand will remain small, as long as the studios license the content the way they're doing now. The studios have no financial incentive to allow more titles to be downloaded, because they make way more money from selling DVDs:

Studios make money when Netflix and other companies license their movies. But that amount pales compared to how much the studios make when consumers buy discs. Studios earn $17.26 for each DVD sold, but only $2.37 for a movie on demand and $2.25 per DVD rented, according to Tom Adams of Adams Media Research.
Read more via the International Herald Tribune.

"Pearls Before Swine" features Netflix


This Friday's Pearls Before Swine features a take-off on Apocalypse Now, courtesy of someone's overuse of Netflix.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Remind me not to do this again

I went to the movies twice this past weekend, because there were two movies out which I thought I HAD to see on the big screen: Cars and X-Men 3: The Last Stand.

Wrong.

Cars was good, but not great, but it was nearly ruined for me by SCREAMING BABIES. The audience was full of very short non-voters who were BORED, and parents were continuously dragging them out to the lobby and back again.

X-Men 3: The Last Stand wasn't ruined for me. I thought it was pretty good, but there was a woman behind me who had apparently NEVER SEEN AN X-MEN MOVIE BEFORE, because she was so SHOCKED that Magneto could CONTROL METAL. She LOUDLY expressed her surprise, amusement, and disappointment, ALL THROUGH THE MOVIE. She really belongs in a test screening or on some kind of prescreening panel, because the movie producers would LOVE her. There would never be any doubt whatsoever how she feels about the movie.

During a couple of the exciting fight scenes, folks were moving about, standing in between me and the screen, either going to or from the lobby, arriving late, or changing seats.

I should have waited for these movies to come from Netflix.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"Netflix Freak" is O'Grady's PowerPick

NetFlix Freak is a Mac OS X application for managing your rental queue that is a must have for fellow freaks. In addition to viewing and managing your rental queue, NetFlix Freak offers some features that aren't available on NetFlix.com.
Read the review here

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Time travel and Netflix

In addition to finding Netflix "surpassingly cool," Glenn McDonald wishes he could use time travel to get the most out of his Netflix subscription. Read it

TiVo Announces Revolutionary New Service, TiVoCast; Bringing Broadband Video Content to the TV

ALVISO, Calif., June 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO - News), the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVR), today announced the launch of TiVoCast(TM), a revolutionary new service which will deliver broadband video directly to the television sets of TiVo subscribers. The TiVoCast service turns Web video into television by bringing top broadband content now only available on the PC to the TV set.

"The range and quality of broadband video is exploding on the Web, but it's not TV until it is on the TV," said Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo. "With the TiVoCast service, we are once again transforming the television experience by bringing the rapidly expanding array of video content on the Internet into the living room."

"Television is still the preferred platform for watching video. The TiVoCast service captures mainstream and specialty-based content on the Web, delivering programming that is not otherwise available through the TV today and providing a wide variety of choice that will be of interest to all segments of the TV audience," said Tara Maitra, TiVo's Vice President and General Manager, Programming. "The TiVoCast service provides niche networks and broadband content suppliers, for which the economics of television distribution might not make sense, a way to connect with audiences in the living room via their favorite medium for watching video, TV and TiVo."

As part of the launch, TiVo announced that it has reached new agreements with leading video content providers including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), The New York Times, Heavy, iVillage and CNET among others.


Read more

Netflix-related domain names for sale on eBay

Seller Big Troll is offering several Netflix-related domain names for sale on eBay, such as eNetflicks.com, NetflixPro.com, MrNetflix.com, and HDNetflix.com.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Should we censor Netflix?

I found a discussion on a Vegan Web site about a movie Netflix is carrying which portrays a dogfight. Dogfighting is illegal in the United States, and terribly inhumane to animals. We have a God-given obligation to be good custodians of creation, and you can tell what's in a person's heart by how they treat their animals. I understand and appreciate using animals as servants or soldiers, to feed and protect us, but cruelty for entertainment is the product of a depraved society.

Animal rights activists on the Veg Pub site suggest persuading Netflix to delete the dogfighting title from their database. I say "go for it." Under capitalism, you can ask anyone to delete a title from their store because of your personal beliefs, and you can boycott anyone you like. That's how capitalism works. You are meant to vote with your dollars. It is not fascism or dictatorship for consumers decide where to spend their money, based on their own personal reasons.

But I see a lot of stuff on Netflix which offends me, like Michael Moore "documentaries," and Gaspar Noe movies, but I have never asked Netflix to stop offering them, because I am a believer in free speech. I don't want to tell you what you can and can't watch, because I don't want you telling me what I can and can't watch.

Even though we have the freedom and the right to protest any movie Netflix carries, we must exercise that right prudently. A world cleansed of all disagreeable content would exclude us all.

Update: the movie has been removed from the Netflix library, so the above link is broken.

How DVDs get to Netflix

From the New York Times
In the San Francisco area, Netflix trucks pick up returned DVD's from post offices by 4 a.m. each weekday morning and bring them to a warehouse in a leafy Sunnyvale office park. There, workers — mainly Asian and Latino immigrants — arrive on the brightly lighted warehouse floor at 5 a.m. to begin tearing open the red envelopes and putting the discs in mechanized sorters. By 10 a.m., the workers are stuffing new envelopes to be sent out again and the discs are back at the post office the same afternoon.

Netflix has 39 of these warehouses around the country, one in each major metropolitan area. Because first-class mail service takes only a day within a 50-mile radius, most customers get a new movie two days after dropping one in a mailbox.
Via Hacking Netflix

Blockbuster Online has lousy search

Which is what I've been saying, and so says this review of various movie options on ArsTechnica:
Trying to find my list of titles on the Blockbuster site proved a frustrating experience. Where Netflix helps out with spelling corrections along the lines of Google's suggestions, Blockbuster would simply not find anything if I fat-fingered something. I had to search for some Swedish movies under their English titles because "Search does not support accented or non English characters." And good luck finding It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World if you forgot exactly how mad the world is. Three or five repetitions put the title I wanted on page four of the search results, but Netflix nailed it as number one. Blockbuster's search function is simply nowhere near as sophisticated.
Read the whole thing.
Via Hacking Netflix

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where I get my movies, besides Netflix

I love Netflix so much, to the extent that I can take them completely for granted, like water in the pipes and electrons in the wires. Netflix continues to be amazing and reliable.

Because I've been hunting for the rare and out-of-print titles on the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, which Netflix doesn'thave, I tend to take for granted how many ARE available from Netflix. At the moment, they have around 800. The list changes continuously, because some drop off while others are added.

However, for the remaining titles, I have had to use other sources.

I have bought at least one title from each of the following, and received good service:

Xploitedcinema.com
AsianDB.com
superhappyfun.com
arabfilm.com
alapage.com (French language only)
lostsilver.com
YesAsia.com

And of course,
eBay
Amazon

I have rented titles from these online video stores:
Facets.org
Video Library
ClassicFlix.com
Nicheflix a la carte
Greencine

And of course,
Blockbuster

I can't guarantee you will have equally good service from any of these stores, so if you use one of them, and they abuse you, please post a comment here, so my readers will know to avoid them.

Please, if you know of a good place to find rare movies which isn't listed here, post a link in the comments!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Netflix makes me buy more movies

Having Netflix has increased my overall spending on movies. I didn't buy movies at all before Netflix, and I used to see movies on the big screen maybe once per month. Since I joined Netflix in January, 2004, I have increased my attendance at the cinemas to once a week, and I have bought 48 movies, on DVD and VHS. I have been spending so much time, energy, and money on my hunt for the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, the ones I can't get through Netflix, that I've spent less time watching the movies in my Netflix queue! That's wrong.

Has Netflix increased your spending on movies or TV?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Netflix buys Sherrybaby

Netflix is dropping another movie in an envelope and shipping it ... to theaters.

The online rentailer has made one of its biggest distribution deals to date, picking up rights to Maggie Gyllenhaal starrer Sherrybaby. The company will handle video distribution and has tapped partner IFC to manage theatrical.


Read more on Video Business Online (subscription required)

Kiosk burns DVDs on demand

Hewlett Packard was at a trade show in May, showing off their new Media on Demand kiosk, which allows DVD download or burning in 8-12 minutes in a variety of formats from iPod to HDTV. HP currently has licenses from Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures to burn movies.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Film fans, cast your vote!

Warner Bros. has consistently delivered high-quality DVD releases from its vast back catalogue and, together with Amazon.com, they’re giving cinephiles a stake in their future release slate with “DVD Decision 2006: 30 Movies in 30 Days,” a joint initiative offering movie fans nationwide the opportunity to vote online for the WHV library titles they want to next see released on DVD.

During the month of June, visitors to the Amazon.com web site will be able to vote for their favorite titles from a list of 30 films. At the end of the voting period, the ten movies with the largest number of votes will be selected as the winners. On August 8, the two companies will announce the winning titles and make them available for pre-order; five of the winning titles will make their DVD debut on December 5, 2006, and the remaining five will be released on January 2, 2007. All of the films will be digitally re-mastered and will contain added bonus features where available.

vote here on DVD Decision 2006

S&H Greenpoints is a Netflix affiliate


You can earn S&H Greenpoints by shopping at Netflix.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm sore and sunburnt

I have returned from my all-too-brief vacation to Ohio, where I spent a few of my nine lives and earned some gray hairs on the thrill rides at Cedar Point, "the roller coaster capital of the world."

However, it wasn't a total waste of time. I managed to squeeze in a movie. I recommend it to children of all ages. It's quite humorous.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Netflix Fan on vacation for three days

Hey y'all. I write this blog to share my love for Netflix, to interact with Netflix fans like you, to help you get the most bang for your buck, and to satisfy your curiosity about how Netflix operates. I appreciate all of you who have written to me with story ideas, questions, and to tell me you enjoy my blog. Big hugs to you all!

Since it's Memorial Day weekend, I'm going out of town to visit family, so I won't be blogging again until Tuesday. Monday is a postal holiday, so no Netflix for you!

The sad thing is, I'll be spending time with family INSTEAD OF WATCHING MOVIES. Talk about priorities out of whack! ;)

Set your calendar to remind you to check back with me on Tuesday for more Netflix gossip.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NPR visits Netflix


National Public Radio reporter Scott Horsley visited the Netflix distribution center in Santa Ana, California, and brought back a sweet photo of the zip code machine that Netflix uses to sort 17,000 mailers per hour, to speed things up for the postal service. He also reports on the following details of the Netflix service:
  • Netflix is one of the postal services FIVE LARGEST CUSTOMERS

  • Netflix ships and receives SEVEN MILLION DVDS PER DAY

  • The Santa Ana distribution center processes 130,000 DVDs per day

  • Membership is nearly 5 million

  • Membership is expected to be 6 million by year-end

  • Round-trip postage costs Netflix 78 cents per mailer

  • Upon their return, Netflix movies are stuffed into a new envelope BEFORE THE ENVELOPE IS ADDRESSED, which solves the mystery of the see-through slot on the back. That barcode is definitely used to determine how to address the envelope according to who gets the movie inside next

  • Netflix workers get a FREE DVD PLAYER and FREE NETFLIX SUBSCRIPTION

You can listen to the whole story here

Monday, May 22, 2006

SPOUT alternative to social aspects of Netflix

If you're looking for an alternative to the Netflix Friends (tm) feature, there is a site called SPOUT, which allows you to create a profile and share your movie-related thoughts with your people in the Spout community. It's also a shopping site, so each movie has a link to the Spout store.

You control who sees your stuff. You can create lists of movies, tag your movies, recommend them to others, and discuss them in the forums. It's still in beta, so it has bugs and shortcomings, like there's no way to rate or review movies, or browse tags.

I joined, but my only list is movies I'd like to see. Having rated over 2,000 films on Netflix, there's no way I'm going to take the time to rate those same movies on Spout, and they don't have a way to upload your data. I have my data in plain text on Listology, where it's easy to copy and paste a list. Spout doesn't have a recommendations engine, so there's no real incentive to take the time to rate movies.

Friday, May 19, 2006

netflix in the outbox


netflix in the outbox
Originally uploaded by bp33.
Would you trust the mail sorters at your workplace with your Netflix? I don't. I leave my outgoing Netflix in the USPS box.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DVD rental vending machine at Blockbuster Video


DVD rental vending machine
Originally uploaded to Flickr by goldberg.
Blockbuster Video in Tel Aviv, Israel provides DVDs using a type of vending machine.

Netflix installs new in-building wireless system for its workers

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 15, 2006--LGC Wireless, the leader in advanced in-building wireless systems, today announced Fusion SingleStar, the first in a line of in-building wireless systems that support multi-frequency coverage. Based on its InterReach Unison(TM) line of active in-building wireless systems, Fusion SingleStar delivers multiple RF frequencies with the same industry-leading performance that has made LGC's Unison systems the most popular in-building systems in the world.


"We have a lot of mobile employees within our offices, so strong and consistent wireless coverage is very important to us," said Steve Swasey, director of corporate communications at Netflix. "The Fusion SingleStar system from LGC met all our needs. The system was extremely easy to install, and is a very cost-effective solution for us."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

List of past Cannes Film Festival winners

DVD Ideas blog has compiled a list of past winners in various categories at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts this week, if you'd like to catch up.

Netflix and "perceived value"

Hunter McDaniel's comment on my previous post inspires me to look at the perceived value of Netflix versus other forms of entertainment. Hunter says "my brother-in-law pays $75 per month for a satellite package, and ends up mostly catching the last half of movies he has already seen 10 times. Nonetheless he thinks he's getting a good deal, and thinks he doesn't have enough time to get his money's worth out of an $18 NF subscription."

With Netflix, we think in terms of "perceived value," in other words, whether we are getting a good deal. With other things, like water, electricity, cell phone minutes, cable TV, we value these things according to how much or how little we need to use them. But with Netflix, the utility, and therefore, the perceived value, of the DVDs is connected to how many we can get and watch in one month. This makes us feel as though we need to increase utilization in order receive the value we think Netflix "owes us," which, as Hunter pointed out, is where the idea of "throttling" has its basis.

Netflix has other valuations, other than how many discs you get per month. I think Hunter's brother-in-law doesn't feel that he is wasting money on satellite TV, because "he has 500 channels." I don't worry about throttling, because "I have 60,000 movies" through Netflix. Netflix is the greater value to me.