When we moved into our new apartment, my wife and I opted to receive cable services through Time Warner. It was the premium package that offered countless of channels. It was a sweet deal, and we thought we were getting our monies worth. However, after a month and a half, we noticed something, we weren’t using our cable package as much as we should’ve. We were barely watching any of the channels. To make matters worst, my wife was either glued to the Netflix App on the iPad or Netflix on the Apple TV. It seems that we were paying a substantial amount for a service that we were not using. We were barely watching the any channels, and it appears that our cable was useless.
Upon mutual agreement we decided to cut our cable, and replace it with just watching online content. We decided to use Netflix primarily for watching movies, along with other websites that offer free movies. I have not been inclined to use Hulu Plus, because it has no interest to me.
So what has it been like since cutting our cable?
Well, to be honest, our watching TV has increased. Netflix’s online ‘instant watch’ is a great service for only $8 a month. This service offers a wide range of Movies and TV series. If you don’t mind older movie titles and TV series then it is a great service. With recent reports of Netflix shifting it’s business model from renting DVDs to streaming online content, the company looks to grow both it’s online content and subscribers within the next two years. According to a report from Tech Crunch published earlier this year,
Netflix added 7.7 million net new subscribers total last year, up from 2.9 million in 2009. The growing appeal of streaming should keep driving that number up. And Netflix is spending less to attract new customers. While new subscribers grew 63 percent, Netflix spent 10 percent less on marketing. Its average cost to acquire anew subscriber fell to $11.13 in the quarter, from $19.81 during the September quarter before pure streaming was an option. Also, a lot more people are taking advantage of Netflix’s free one month trial to see if streaming is for them. Nearly 9 percent of subscribers were in free trials during the quarter, up from about 6 percent the quarter before (and 3 percent a year ago).
Overall we have been extremely happy with Netflix. As mentioned earlier our time spent consuming online media has increase because of the wide selection of watching TV series. For example, all six seasons of Lost (one of my favorite TV shows of all time), Prison Break, 24, and many popular tv series can occupy hours of your time. My wife is currently watching Torchwood series (meh).
Apple TV vs. iPad Vs. Desktop
The User Interface for Netflix on the Apple TV 2 is superb. Searching through the various content is smooth and user friendly. Combined with the remote app from Apple, browsing through your media is great. On top of Netflix, Apple TV offers you the ability to rent movies and also tv shows from iTunes catalog, stream online music, access your media on your desktop, search youtube, and stream movies from your iOS devices. With iOS 5 releasing this fall, airplay will have a great use with iPad 2 users through the mirroring feature. Unlike the UI for the ATV2 the iPad Netflix UI feels unpolished.
Netflix on the iPad
The iPad app is horrible, and makes it quite cumbersome to browse through the different selections, even with the most recent update. Searching titles is fine, but the response time for the app lags. However, the ability to watch a movie in bed far surpasses the experience one would have when watching with a laptop. The iPad just seems natural, and the battery life last up to nine hours (literally).
There is also an iPod App, but I have not used it. I don’t enjoy squinting my eyes on a small screen.
Watching it on the desktop is also enjoyable, as most of the time I have something else running while watching the movie. Next to the iPad the desktop would be the way to watch Netflix.
Netflix on 2nd Gen Apple TV
So do I regret cutting my cable?
No. The only thing I regret is having access to local news, you know, Joe Moore for ten at night news. However, the ability to access news online remedies this problem. Other than that small inconvenience the positive outcome far outweighs it. Because, today the options to watch online content is numerous and also for a low cost of subscription, the decision has been great. Not so for cable providers.