So, remember that long ass time ago, when I brought up the fact that Canada was getting its hands on Netflix? Well, they did, and it’s not altogether entirely bad. It helps their case that Canadian customers get a month free to play around with it–something I’ll be taking advantage of rather fully, if you ask me. I look at this from a typical user’s perspective, and a visually impaired person’s perspective. Fortunately, for the most part they come out–in my view, anyway–as a lot of the same thing, so I won’t bother separating the two.
My test movie, after some searching, was Lost in Space (1998). They didn’t have quite a few of the things I’d of prefered to test instead of that–a point against Netflix as a whole, from what I hear, as the American users tend to have the same problem according to sources. What I did notice however was right off the bat, the user interface–at least on the part of their website–is easy to navigate, visually impaired or not. The layout seems simplistic enough. Things are generally where I’d expect them, and you don’t typically have to click more than 3 times to get somewhere. The critical stuff’s two at most–a plus, for sure.
From an actual movie playing perspective, it gets even simpler. Sound quality comes off as TV quality at worst, DVD quality at best–I don’t have the world’s greatest ear for the finer details, plus my speaker system’s a little higher end–your milage may vary. Volume seemed to be acceptably set by default on Windows, though twitter reports from at least one Mac user that isn’t necessarily the case–again, your milage may vary. I do like that if you close the browser or otherwise get the royal boot, it picks up where you left off. Can’t argue with that particular feature much.
They use Microsoft’s silverlight player, which I’m told isn’t world’s greatest to use for sighted people, nevermind the visually impaired. But, even that having been said, it’s not completely useless to either. If you’re in a pinch, or the visual options just don’t do it for you, they have some pretty sensible keyboard shortcuts, which should work whether or not you can see the screen–they worked for me, anyway.
Added to that, as said you get a month free to play around with it, and the subscription’s only $7/month after that. It lets you stream movies/TV shows to any device that supports it, though you can’t rent the DVD’s like you can in the US. Considering I don’t exercise the most legal means of obtaining my local copies of certain media, I didn’t see that as weight either direction on the scale. The site, player and all, responds quickly enough for my taste, and if I had some other device with which to play, I might be inclined to see what I can make it do.
All told, for $7, I might consider sticking with it. If only because it’s another option for movies to watch when Jess and I are sitting around the living room and don’t feel like channel surfing. I might stick it out. What would make me lean more towards sticking it out is a bit more of a selection. Most of the searches I ran came up not available. For a monthly payment, even if it is just $7, I kind of expect a little better than that. Still, they just opened, so I’m willing to give them a chance. Getting more of the movies I’d want to see, though, wouldn’t hurt its case any. In the meantime, thanks for the free month, Netflix. I just might have too much fun.