Sunday, June 10, 2007


When people were struggling to keep up with innovative late fee schemes of other video renting stores, Netflix came up with a refreshingly cool idea. Become a subscriber, we will send you the movie by mail, keep it as long as you want, send it back in reply paid envelope when done. What can be more simpler. Especially for organized people this even saves from impulsive decisions which normally result in regret from having watched  stupid movies. Take your time, research movies, read reviews and then keep you queue of movies to be watched well stocked and Netflix keeps sending you the movies as you return the old ones.

I have been a subscriber of Netflix over 5 years now and can say only good things about it. Very prompt delivery. On 2-3 occasions, when movies got lost in the mail, they simply accommodated as part of doing businesses. Of course, they will take a note if too many movies start missing which should not be a concern to most.

Best thing about Netflix is their distribution logistics. They assign you the nearest distribution center so that you get the movies the day after in most of the cases if you mail in them today. This was missing from some other similar services I had tried. They would have one distribution center somewhere and all orders are fulfilled only from there.

Recently, Netflix has started 'Movies On Demand' service as well. They have started making some movies available online which you can watch right in your browser. It's very cool.18 hours per month of viewing time is included in the membership. That's a cool deal if you are ever without a movie.

Their web site is one of the most user friendly web sites I have come across. Simple but the best. For example,when you try to watch movies on line, they can tell you right away which movies from your queue are available for online viewing. Next example is their recommendations feature. If you diligently rate the movies you watch, the recommendation they come up with are amazing. Their intelligent systems start to know your tastes better and recommend good movies. It was due to this feature, I (many others too) got to see some excellent movies. I had not even heard of some such great movies.

For Indian movie buffs, over last 2-3 years, they have added an excellent collection movies in Hindi and other languages. New movies are added in 1-2 moths after release in most of the cases.

All in all a great service for movie lovers.

There was only one instance when I felt they had a shortcoming. I had accidentally mailed back one of the DVDs from my personal collection and they really could not help. When I contacted their customer service, right up front they apologized and said they just could not help in tracing and returning my personal DVD. I can understand that but it should have been one of the easiest services to implement. Just hold onto such DVDs and send it back. It's not that thousands and thousands of personal movies are returned to Netflix accidentally. It may a few per week. Is it that hard? Other than that, perfect service.

Funny trivia - if you think Internet has the highest bits/second of any transport medium. Think again, they ran a calculation and guess what USPS turned out have carried more bits in given time than Internet. Imagine how  many movies (each at least a 1 gig) USPS delivers to millions of customers. With that, is it any wonder USPS is mightier than Internet. At least in that sense.


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