So I got a netflix subscription...

Partly due to that little bit of guilt I felt about regularly bittorrenting a few TV shows, I recently became a Netflix subscriber. I've also added a list of my next ten DVD choices to the sidebar of the front page. It gave me an excuse to learn a little RSS, and the fine elementtree library for Python.

The full list, well, it's pushing 200 movies. Since I subscribed at the 2 slots level, and the bandwidth appears to be 1 DVD per week per slot, I'm looking at a few years to get through all those titles. I guess that's what I get for missing out on nearly 10 years of broadcast and cable TV (with the exception of the aforementioned torrented programs in the last few years), as well as not seeing many movies on the big screen either.

So that this entry isn't just "what I did today two weeks ago", I asked myself: Why is Netflix shipping around pieces of plastic instead of bits on the wire?

I did the math, and the bandwidth of my DSL beats Netflix by quite a bit—9GB/week (about a full double-layer DVD) is only 120 kbit/second, so each slot is 10% of the inbound bandwidth of my pipe. On the other hand, at 15GB/month, per-MB charges kick in, and I'd pay $9 for that 9GB transfer.

On the other hand, with better-than-MPEG2 compression, you get a lot of movies in 15GB. Maybe 15 of 'em. At least 8—the same number of movies that I get per month on the two-at-a-time plan.

I do have the suspicion that it's the law and the MPAA's lawyers that keep Netflix from offering movies over broadband, not the limitations of the current generation of net connections or video codecs.

Entry first conceived on 29 June 2005, 2:41 UTC, last modified on 15 January 2012, 3:46 UTC
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