February 03, 2008

Three reasons Netflix works for me.

Renting movies from a video store has always had its frustrations. I nearly always felt I needed to rent more than one movie - since I was there, why not, right? But, most of the time we only watched one, and the others went unwatched because they were all due at the same time. Even though there was no "late fee" per se, I still had to make a special trip to the store, usually after a couple of automated voice mail messages warning me that I was about to become the proud owner of the movies in question. I dealt with these frustrations for years, just resigned to the fact that "that's the way it is."

Until a friend of mine recommended Netflix. After a little investigation, I tried it, and I will never look back. Here's why it works for me.

1. It's cheap. The Bob and I are on the "One at a Time - Two a Month" plan, for $4.99 a month. Membership plans start there and go up to "Eight at a Time, Unlimited" for $47.99. Two a month is just right for us, and at $2.50 a movie, that's cheaper than the store we used to go to. And, because we get them one at a time, I'm not renting three for 12 bucks and just watching one.

2. It's easy. Making your queue of films is a cinch, and if you take a little time to rate movies you like, Netflix automatically makes recommendations based on your preferences. Changing order in your queue is simple, too, so you can bump a movie up or down in your list. You can even save movies to your queue that haven't been released on DVD yet, so they're automatically added to your queue when they are available. When you log in, you can see how many movies you have left to use for the month, and report any problems you have. (I have never received a bad disk, by the way.) You can go online to manage your account - if you want to cancel it's effective immediately (no refund for partial months), or if you need to put your membership on hold (such as if you're going on vacation), you can do that.

The utmost in ease for me? To return the movie all you do is throw it in the mailbox. It can not get any simpler than that. (Of course another bonus for me is never having to set foot in a video store again! More time at home!)

3. It's fun. Now that we have joined Netflix, we look forward to movie night. Twice a month now we set aside a night to watch the latest movie... and since there's no rush when we get the disk, we can plan ahead and make it more special. We can even invite friends over to watch, and make an occasion out of it. Netflix also allows you to build your own little community, so you can see what your friends are watching, and leave them notes and reviews about films you recommend.

My experience with Netflix has been a great one. I know it's probably not for everyone, but for us, it works. Now, I have to go watch "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" again before I pop it in the mailbox tomorrow!

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