Monthly Archives: July 2011

What to do about Netflix 60% Fee Hike

I have been a long time Netflix subscriber. Long back I started off with 3 dvds at a time for about $20s as that was the cheapest option. As competition heated up, they had to start offering 1-dvd at a time for less than $10. As I was watching too many movies with 3 dvds at a time, I switched to the 1-dvd at a time option. At that time, streaming was still not an option. So, I used to end up getting 5 to 8 dvds a month. Once video streaming started, I still get DVDs but that has reduced now to 3 to 5 a month. If the streamed content is as fresh as the DVDs, I would have completely dropped the DVD option. Similarly, while I watch fewer DVDs, they just sit idle at home (I no longer have to return them soon to get a new DVD since I can watch streamed video anytime). I understand Netflix has it’s costs and financial responsibility to shareholders. However, I think they should have tweaked their existing model differently. For example, limiting number of dvds per month, increasing the video selection for streaming and may be even have a cap on the streamed content for more expensive content. I mean, not all content available streaming is created equal. I am sure they must be getting a lot of content very cheap (old, documentary type, failed movies) and some very expensive. So, they could choose to impose a cap on the expensive streaming content.

Anyway, while I can certainly afford the 60% hike, here is what I think I will do. First, I will subscribe to Amazon Prime at $79 a year. In the past I hesitated on that since I don’t have any purchases that I want within two-days, I usually plan better. But I got a free Amazon Prime membership for about a year through some deal and it’s soon going to expire. Now that I got used to the free-2-day shipping I think $79 a year is worth it. This is no longer a dilemma now for two reasons. First, a few months back Amazon announced that they would provide free on-demand video for their Amazon Prime members. Mind you, the selection is far less than what Netflix has to offer. Second, the 60% hike by Netflix.

So, going forward, I plan to subscribe to Amazon Prime at $79/year and get the free instant streaming and then continue with Netflix but only
with the DVD only subscription. This way, I get both worlds (though not best, but good enough for me) and in a way that makes more financial sense to me the consumer, and not Netflix the company.

I simply can’t understand how Netflix can dare such 60% increase. I think someone in their upper management screwed it up big time. Time will tell what this move means to the company.

Update: After my free Amazon Prime membership expired, I did exactly what I said above. Going forward, my video streaming is from Amazon and DVDs are from Qwikster, err, Netflix.

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My Two Must Apps For iPad

I got iPad2 with only 16GB. So, I don’t want to put a lot of video files on it. Also, I don’t like the lot of time it takes to do the sync. I wanted a solution where I could stream my video files from a server to iPad. I found Air Video and I first tried their free version and immediately migrated to the paid version. It comes with a server component that I run on my iMac where I have control on which video folders to permit for streaming. Interestingly last few days I had trouble using the software with all kinds of connection timeouts, url resolving errors and what not. Many others reported similar issues in the forums and solutions offered but none worked for me. In the end it was a silly problem where somehow my iPad started connecting to a different wifi connection than the home wifi. After fixing that, everything is just fine.

The second app I very much need is because of the bad design of the “Photos” software that comes with iPad. The problem is that it’s so easy to delete photos with this app that we actually lost a few nice vidoes shot for our 2 yr old son. He deleted them, not once but multiple times. One of the reasons is that when we go to the “Select Photos” view, there are 3 buttons “Email”, “Copy”, “Print” and “Delete” and it defaults to “Delete”. So, it’s very easy to delete photos/videos. I wish there is an option to control the “Delete” option in the Parental Controls like they have for App installation and deletion. Because of all this, the option I have is to immediately download the photos and videos as soon as they are shot. But that’s a pain as I need to remove the wire from the dock and put it to the computer. So, I was hoping for a software that kind of did the reverse of the above software, allow downloading media from ipad to computer via browser! Yeah, and there is an app for that and it’s called “WiFi photo” and it’s free. Even though it’s called “Wifi photo”, it supports downloading both photos and video. The way it works is, when it’s started, it kind of starts a http server and gives the url to use to access it. You then have to go to a browser on another computer, enter the url and download the photos and video. Note that, while the download is happening, you shouldn’t switch to another app on the ipad.

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Sent From My iPad, Go Watch It Upside Down

We recently got the ipad 2. Few days back I sent a video taken on iPad to a few friends and they complained it was upside down. Then I imported it to iMovie, exported it and everything was fine. Today, I got a picture sent from that iPad to my Gmail. The preview in gmail was proper. But when I clicked on it to see the full picture, one was side-ways and the other up-side down.

I think this probably has to do with how the ipad is oriented when taking the picture. But why can’t the ipad software automatically store it correctly and then send it?

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