Netflix has launched!

Australians have been waiting a long time for Netflix, such that some people have Netflix US accounts. As Netflix launches in Australia and New Zealand today, I suspect there will be some disappointment. Global Netflix subscribers are used to having a vast library at their fingertips, and that just isn’t available yet in Australia. This morning on my way to work (I catch the train) I downloaded the Netflix app onto my phone and added things to my queue. I have a Netflix queue now, it’s great. Still, the library isn’t what it could be.

I’m happy to see that Netflix haven’t pulled their original series from the lineup, I’m excited to see both Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodline. I also added Vikings, Lost and Shameless to my queue. With the addition of Orange Is the New Black (for when the new season is released), that’s a grand total of six television shows. A lot of the things I would watch are things I already own. Also, there’s some crossover with Stan with Doctor Who, Spartacus, Freaks and Geeks and Luther, as well as a number of Australian programmes. Things that I know are available on Netflix US but aren’t currently available for streaming in Australia include:

  • Buffy and Angel
  • The X-Files
  • Shaun Ryan’s little known one-season-wonder, Terriers
  • Parks and Recreation
  • 30 Rock

This is an observation, not a complaint. I have no idea how streaming licensing works (Presto and Stan both have streaming rights to The Good Wife, so there’s crossover there as well), but I can understand it as a strategy. Why launch everything when you can parse it out? It also makes sense to give as much exposure as possible to their original series – even though Netflix don’t release their subscriber numbers, they want to brag about how many people are watching House of Cards as opposed to The Big Bang Theory. It’s a little frustrating, but I’m currently on a 30 day free trial, so it’s all good.

One thing that Netflix does have over Stan is its media player. I’ve had issues with Stan stopping to buffer in the middle of a programme, sometimes as frequently as every 30 seconds. I have issues with the wifi at my house (it doesn’t get along very well with my laptop), so I just reset the connection and hope I can get through the rest of my show. And sometimes I can, but other times I end up having to restart the computer. So I tested out the Netflix player (I watched the first episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I loved it!), and it let me know how the buffering was going – it was always ahead of where I was watching, and I never had to pause it to keep up with the buffering or reset my connection. So if there’s something that’s on both Netflix and Stan, I’m going to watch it on Netflix, no hesitation there.

I’m sure the library will keep building, so I’m not too worried. One thing I was really happy to see was the ‘Independent’ heading for films, so I’m finally going to get to see The Spectacular Now.

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