Back in November 2012, Netflix was finishing up its latest original series "House of Cards" starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. The political thriller promises greed, sex and corruption, all qualities we love in a dramatic series. Look for its debut February 1.
This is not the first original fare as the streaming movie service also created "Lilyhammer" last year with E Street Band rocker Steven Van Zandt portraying an ex-gangster.
Netflix has reached a settlement with the National Association for the Deaf so all of its movies and TV shows must have closed captioning by 2014. As of today only about 85% of their content has it. Last June, a federal judge found that online sources are also subject to the Americans with Disabilities act. So it is only logical that it would apply here as well. This means that Amazon, Hulu, iTunes and other online streaming services will also have to comply.
Netflix has updated its user interface for its Android app, hopefully making it a simpler user experience. Its new home screen look has search, browsing, recently viewed and recommendations, just like its big brother interface. A simple tap on a film brings up information while a double tap means play. The app works for any device with Android 2.3 or later and is free to subscribers.
TiVo has released its spring update meant to improve service.Netflix is now available with larger poster graphics, improved 1080p resolution and search, instant queue and personalized categories added. An updated YouTube app offers a directory, one-click links and continuous play. Finally, parental control can be used with Premier's HD menu that sets a 4 digit access code for those shows and movies not suitable for children.
Netflix has acquired a deal with HBO Go and users will soon have access to such programs as Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos. Netflix also formed a partnership with the BBC and more users will soon have access to such programs as "Torchwood" and "Fawlty Towers." Available early in 2012, content is already available to North and Latin America and will soon reach the UK and Latin America, no doubt assisting the company in its quest to regain some of those lost U.S. subscribers.
Roku has an inexpensive alternative for those who want a streaming player but don't have a lot of extra cash. The LT can play over 300 channels i.e. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant and Pandora. There is no SD card slot or Bluetooth support but you get HBO Go with over 1,400 titles. At a price of only $49.99, look for its release in November.
Netflix's rate hike has cost them about a million subscribers. Considering the fact that they still have about 14 million DVD only and 22 million streaming customers, perhaps they are moving towards the latter to concentrate on. With online streaming perhaps due to become the sole source of content, you can finally turn your outdated TV into a mini-coffee table.
Note: Told ya so. In a letter to its customers, CEO Reed Hastings apologized not for raising the rates but for not explaining that he is separating both services, changing the name of the mail service to Qwikster.
It seems that Netflix and Starz have come to a parting of the ways after the video provider wouldn't go along with the media company's demand. Apparently the millions were not enough for Starz as they wanted an additional fee tacked on for screenings. CEO Reed Hastings is keeping positive about the end of the negotiations and will invest in other companies. So those of you who stream those chick flicks and Disney films better get them in before the end of the February 28 contract expiration.
Netflix wants to make it easier to turn kids into Watch Instantly Zombies with a new Just For Kids feature. The company worked with Common Sense Media to select the films and TV shows for children aged 12 and under. In addition to clicking on a handy tab, tots can click on characters at the top and bottom of the page to pick selections based on their faves. So if your kid is a SpongeBob freak, expect hours of uninterrupted silliness to enter your life. The service will soon be accessible on the iPad, Wii and probably other gaming consoles that Netflix supports.
Roku 2 has arrived in a more diminutive form and we guess that the company is hoping to calm those Netflix subscribers who freaked at the latest price hike. The box now includes a redesigned remote, a free (!) TV version of Angry Birds and 250 channels including FoxNews and Epix movies. Add subtitles and access to Amazon VOD (for a fee) and kiss your cable or satellite goodbye.
Taking a cue from Hulu Plus, Netflix has added support for 25 more devices with an updated Android app that includes access to Thunderbolt and Atrix. It links to HTC Droid or EVO, Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy and other smartphones. The app is free from the Android Market, works on both wired 3G and WiFi systems, and includes search.
With all the fuss about Netflix's changing policy, many subscribers are complaining about that 60% rate increase. For those that received the dual mail/streaming rate must now decide if they want to pay the $15.98 to continue service for both, choose one or opt for another service.
The company itself doesn't seem too concerned although thousands have complained on its Facebook page and many have "de-subscribed," but the change will happen and we foresee some users dropping that second or third disc to adjust to the rate hike.
Netflix has nabbed an agreement with Miramax to stream hundreds of their movies in an attempt by the film studio to keep it afloat. Filmyard Holdings now holds the company that is hoping that the move will encourage other online companies, like Google, Apple and Facebook to offer such titles as
"Pulp Fiction" and
"Shakespeare in Love". This seems to be another step forward into the concept that eventually we will all live online.
Netflix continues its online domination by capturing Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men gang as they have made a deal with Lions Gate. The first four seasons will be posted to Watch Instantly July 27 and cost about $1 million per episode to procure.