So, yesterday, Wilhelm over at TAGN published a fantastic post full of bullet points on different topics in regards to streaming shows on services like Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, HBO, and so on. Check that post out! It’s great!
Then Bhagpuss made a post as well on the topic and used those bullet points to give their opinion on the same topic. Check their post out as well if you haven’t yet. Another great post!
Alas, that’s why I wanted to write about this topic and why I’m considering streaming shows via Netflix despite not liking subscription-models too much. Before I head into that… context:
I haven’t watched TV for about eight years now, really… I mean, I’ve watched shows via the internet and at times, I’d even just settle for YouTube videos, Anime or video games instead of watching a movie or a show on TV. There are a few reasons for that that I’ll get into later. Mostly since other media is more entertaining, anyway, in my opinion. For the most part, however, I’d opt-in for stuff that is available for free online instead of getting a Netflix subscription. I’m just hesitant about subscriptions because I usually don’t end up making full use of it… About five years ago, I got myself Spotify Premium to not have to download music onto my phone and ended up basically using it every day for hours upon hours. With Spotify, I’m making full use of my subscription since I listen to music all the time anyway. If I were to get into WoW, I probably wouldn’t be able to play it too much and would then regret the subscription. With Netflix, I wouldn’t watch enough shows to make it worth it. Alas, I ended up relying on watching shows on Netflix whenever I was at my parents’ since I can use my sister’s Netflix account to watch shows. Back to the post.
- Not having to deal with commercials is pretty nice.
Absolutely. The reason why I have Spotify Premium is mostly the fact that I can use it offline as well but also the fact that there are no ads every two songs or so. Some ads on Spotify would go on for three minutes, promoting a song that I don’t like at all, which was annoying. With TV it’s similar: I don’t watch TV because I hated the 7-minute-ad-breaks during movies, every twenty minutes or so. It’s annoying and I don’t really get why. Not having to deal with that is really nice… It’s incredibly nice to watch a show whenever you want to while still supporting the creators of it with the subscription.
- I still don’t like pay-per-view.
The only movies that I ever bought DVDs of were Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, 9, Corpse Bride, and two copies of (500) Days of Summer. Yes, I own that last movie twice, mostly since I wanted to watch that movie again but didn’t have the DVD at my place, so I just ordered it. You can rent it for three bucks or just buy it for ten. Buying it twice is twenty bucks. Watching it four times is already more worth it on the DVD I bought than when rented. And I have a spare at my parents’ place in case I wanna watch it over there and didn’t bring it from my flat. Pay-Per-View is a failed concept in my opinion as I still have that DVD available to me no matter what happens to that account of mine. I mean… would you rent a game for one play-session only to be charged again when you start it up again next time?
- There are too many streaming-services.
Yes. 100%. I’m thinking about getting Netflix so that I can watch some movies and shows I like on there… but not every show I wanna watch is on there as it’s somewhere else. Disney+ features a lot of Marvel stuff, for instance, so if a friend came over and wanted to watch that stuff, I’d have to have Disney+… and I don’t think I’ll get it anytime soon. In essence, it wouldn’t pay off for me personally as I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan and as I’m not the biggest Marvel fan either. I liked the Daredevil but I think that show is still on Netflix… and it got worse and worse after every season, so I stopped watching it eventually. There aren’t really any other Marvel shows that I’d watch apart from Agents of Shield… and even that one will probably never get watched.
I’d like it if there was a way for you to watch HBO shows on Netflix. I love Silicon Valley, for instance, but I’m not entirely sure if I’d like anything else on HBO really… Silicon Valley is a great show. If I was able to watch it on Netflix, I’d do that. Maybe Netflix would get a bit of money from HBO since they provided me with it and a lot of the money would go to HBO since they made the show. That kind of system or partnership between shows could work out quite well, I think. But then again, they are in competition, so they probably won’t do that.
And the problem with being on one service and “making full use of the subscription” is that you can’t really “make full use of it” when you also want to “make full use of” another subscription. I’m not sure if I’d ever subscribe to two different services at the same time, at least as a student.
- Finding things is hard.
Netflix has a lot of shows. My Steam library has a lot of games. That doesn’t mean that you’ll always find the right thing to watch or play right away. “Die Qual der Wahl” is a German phrase that summarises that quite well. Having too many options results in you having a hard time choosing what to watch, which is annoying. Steam gives you a suggestion at times with the “Steam Play Next” shelf in the library’s homepage, which I find quite cool, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Netflix has a suggestion feature as well based on the shows that you watch but generally, it can be really hard to find shows to watch since you don’t have an “either-or” choice but rather an “either-or-or-…-or-or-or” choice with way too many shows which makes the choice even harder. On Steam, it at least is limited to games you own while Netflix just presents everything to you. Hence, I can see why that’s an issue and I’m glad that people are recommending shows on my discord, so at least I can fish for some shows on there or recommend shows to other people.
- Weekly Releases vs. All-At-Once
Personally speaking, I’d rather have shows available All at Once! However, I can see how binging is quite unhealthy and how that shouldn’t be encouraged with cliffhangers in shows that make you want to go for “just another episode” or whatever. Having the next episode(s) available already means that there probably are spoilers out already but also that you won’t have to wait. When I watch Anime, I often watch shows that already are done. Alas, I can binge them. When I watch Airing Shows, I end up having to wait a week, which is a bit annoying… but I guess I can try and theory-craft with friends about the next episode, which is quite cool. There are, however, shows I really watch, so I binge watch and then it’s 8 am suddenly and my headspace is a mess and I just am tired but don’t want to ruin my sleep schedule which is kind of annoying.
- Biases towards movies vs. shows
Wilhelm talks in his post about how a show feels like it’s “too long” to watch after a movie even though he spends probably the same amount of time watching four episodes on Netflix that evening anyways. I feel like that bias is there for everyone. A show usually is shorter and you can stop at any given time. A movie, however, is made in a less episodic way, resulting in you not being able to stop at any time, I think. I mean, there are three-hour-movies out there that don’t make any sense afterwards when you watch it after a day… or two… or whenever you get to it again. Usually, I end up making more time for movies than with shows only to use up more time with the shows compared to the movie. You can kind of estimate when you’ll end by watching a movie while you sometimes just feel like watching another episode after you just watched three or four.
- Cut the Cord!
I really don’t watch TV. Wilhelm made a point about Sports but over here, at least, sports games often get broadcasted and streamed over the internet as well. Here in Germany, you still have to pay some fee for radio/tv/internet even when you don’t use any of those – “you have the opportunity to do it” after all, and you have to pay for that opportunity, I think… So, I don’t really have a reason to watch TV, especially with news, the weather, shows, movies and whatever else being available online already.
- Internet problems suck!
Oh, tell me! It’s bad enough when my ping is high in games or when I’m dropping frames while streaming… but when the internet fails while watching a Stream on Twitch or a video on YT or a show on Netflix then that sucks super bad since you are invested in the show and suddenly have to do something else instead. Luckily, the neighbourhood at my parents’ and the neighbourhood at my dorm will both get better internet in 2021, so I’m excited about potentially streaming in 720p again on Twitch and watching more shows again!
- Streaming at home > the cinema experience?
This one’s somewhat tricky. Watching a movie in the cinema/at the theatre is great a lot of the time… but as of late, I’ve been disliking it more and more whenever I thought back to all those bad experiences I’ve had with phones being used and being turned on super bright… or screaming babies… or chatty people… or people walking through the light, etc. Generally speaking, the experience can be so-so but I know that I want my kids to experience it for themselves for sure eventually when I have kids. I don’t want them to only know movies from TV/Netflix/DVDs… I mean, as a kid I loved the cinema. I can probably count the times I’ve been to the cinema on my fingertips, but I liked it most of the time during my childhood and not so much during recent years. Especially when you consider the price factor of it: Tickets and snacks are overpriced and you still don’t get a guaranteed “magical” experience depending on the people around you. Also, you still watch ads before the movie… Meanwhile, you get to have a great experience at home either way. It’s your own four walls, the people you love, you don’t have to wear pants, and you can stop any time to go to the toilet without missing anything… and as for snacks, you can have anything! I could have a can of Dr Pepper there… or a second one… or a third one… in the cinema, I wouldn’t be able to have Dr Pepper at all and if they did have it there it would cost way more than the store price.
- There are still things not available.
A lot of Tim Burton movies, for instance, aren’t available on Netflix, which is weird… because they are great. A lot of older movies also can’t be watched on a lot of these services… and I don’t get why exactly that’s not a thing. At the same time, they are available in other countries, so using a VPN often is advised when it comes to Netflix and the like, which is something I personally don’t like too much… Why not make all languages, all subs and all shows/movies available to everyone and anyone? I mean, sure, there are countries that don’t allow stuff but just disable those over there!
Anyways, this is my (way too long) post on this topic. I again really recommend checking out Wilhelm’s post as it was the originator of all of this… and Bhagpuss’ post is also great, so check that post out!
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you use Netflix, HBO, or whatever? Can you recommend one over the other or maybe give me some recommendations for shows? In that instance, name your favourite shows, if you want to. I’ll for one really liked Silicon Valley on HBO and I love American Vandal on Netflix! I can highly recommend both of those shows if you’re into comedy. I may actually grab Netflix for myself and try it out for a month or a few, depending on how I like it and how much I use it. I may even write a Stray Sheep or two about shows I watched and about shows that I’m watching. We’ll see!
Either way, happy holidays! Stay safe!