Twenty years of changing the way we go to the movies!
(By: Bil. Alvernaz, "Netflixing" with Diana & our dogs since 2004)
Netflix came about in 1997 after Reed Hastings had to pay a $40 late fee for Returning "Apollo 13" six weeks late. The basic idea was quite simple … offer a flat rate for movies via "rental by mail." Then, on March 10, 1998, the first Netflix DVD (Beetlejuice) was shipped … the beginning of what ultimately would be billions (yes, with a "B") of DVDs zipping back and forth all around the world!!
A whole lot happened and unfolded in those early days of starting this "renting movies via mail" … but, despite the "ups and downs" of getting it all going, from the early to mid-2000s, Netflix was on its way to becoming a global phenomenon.
Wow! Movies delivered right to your door by the Postal Service and returned the same way, with no late fees ever! You don't even have to leave your house to get movies, TV shows, plays, interviews, documentaries, and a whole lot more … which includes an impressive array of original content (we'll come back to that topic in a bit here).
So here is where Diana and I come into the picture. I had been following the escapades of "some guy" trying to start this movie rental business which I thought, like so many others, would never in a million years survive. Especially with Blockbuster video rental stores (along with many other "wanna bes") on just about every corner.
But, sure enough, Reed Hastings worked out all the kinks in Netflix and, with the new Millennium, not only did the "mailing system" of renting videos (movies, TV shows, and much more) take off, by 2006, Netflix began streaming movies online.
And, now, fast-forwarding from then to today, Netflix has over a 100 million subscribers worldwide. Here is the true magic about Netflix … for the cost of just one "outing" to a movie theater (for a good or bad movie), you can subscribe to both options of Netflix - online movies as well as DVDs "coming and going" via the mail. If there is a movie you don't like with Netflix, no big deal … you just "move on" to the next DVD or whatever else is streaming online. So, if you saw a bad movie, you'd be out the cost for a complete waste of time … money that otherwise would have covered subscribing to Netflix.
For Diana and me, it completely eliminated the entire "movie theater going experience."
It is still pretty astounding, when you stand back and take an objective glimpse at just what Netflix is … movies delivered right to your door as well as movies online - all to watch whenever you want, wherever you want, and howsoever you want to watch them … on your computer (any computing device), smartphone, and/or, of course, your TV. Oh, and speaking of TVs, Netflix is so popular that just about all TV remotes have a button for Netflix. Even cable companies are now including Netflix as part of their bundled packages.
I am lucky enough to be part of the Netflix celebration for 20 years.
In February, I visited Netflix to film videos that basically turned out to be what I have been telling everyone about Netflix since 2004.
For you see, I have been "selling" Netflix to people since we first discovered the magic of Netflix. In fact, since 2004, here is what I have said to people, "Try Netflix for a month. If you don't like it, I'll personally give you your money back." And, I mean I have said this to dozens and dozens of people … NO ONE EVER ASKED FOR THEIR MONEY BACK! In fact, many of those "converts," just like me and so many others, started telling other people about how amazing Netflix is.
Oh, and then there is original content, too. But, before we talk about that, it is important to point out Netflix's customer service. Any questions or problems (of which there are few) that you might have, all you have to do is call 800-585-8018 (it's listed at the bottom of every page on their web site). That's where you'll get "tech support" that sets the standard for the way things ought to be done for assisting customers. The wait time is never longer than a minute or two. Netflix’s customer service team is friendly, helpful, courteous, very smart, savvy, and always, always, ALWAYS takes care of whatever needs to be done. With the "other guys," it's a whole different, sad story and, in many cases, quite limited or non-existent.
The brilliance of Netflix is that it is like reading a book. You can read a chapter or part of a chapter or, hey, "plow through" the entire book. Only here the "book" is a movie, TV series, or anything else you're watching on Netflix. Watch all of the episodes you want, with no waiting around for next week's episode. Watching episode after episode has come to be known as binge watching.
Binge watching really started catching on with Netflix's first original series, "House of Cards." Netflix released all of the series' episodes at once, so they were readily available and, thus, binge watching further evolved from just watching all of the episodes Netflix had of previously-aired TV shows. Diana and I went from one "House of Cards" episode to the other from its debut Friday on through Sunday. It was so cool and added yet one more "dimension of entertainment" to Netflix!
Netflix's original content has continued on with multiple seasons of other great shows like "Santa Clarita Diet," "Marco Polo," "Narcos," "The Crown," "Ozark," "Mindhunter," "Daredevil," "Jessica Jones" (along with other Marvel series), "Orange is the New Black," and "Stranger Things." There is much more "in the works," too, including the "just-inked" multi-faceted deal between Netflix and former President Barack Obama and his wife.
Though it wasn't a Netflix original, my personal Netflix favorite, out of everything else, is the British television drama, "Peaky Blinders" (all four seasons). And, that's the thing, there is so much in the way of "great viewing" that makes its way to Netflix. I don't want to be pushy here, but with "Peaky Blinders," just watch the first ten minutes and see if you can turn it off.
Here's an example of how cool it is to watch TV shows that come to Netflix. Diana and I never had watched the TV show "LOST" when first aired from 2004 to 2010. So, a few years after the series ended, we watched all 121 episodes over the course of three or four months. With no commercials, each episode is a little over 40 minutes long (thanks to no commercials).
Speaking of no commercials, Diana and I killed cable TV not long after we got Netflix. All we (you) need is the hi-speed Internet service for about fifty bucks a month. Since we got rid of cable TV, we've saved over $150 a month. We set aside that amount each month now for what we call our "Mad Money Fund." Saving all that money over several years of no cable TV (which we have never ever felt we even "miss it") paid for our 80-inch, monster TV and home theater system, along with so many other things.
We have saved $20,000 (and counting) since jettisoning cable TV.
We just don't (and you might not either) see the need for cable TV with Netflix, YouTube (for concerts, interviews, keeping up with late night TV, news, and so much more), Roku (if you don't have one, GET ONE), and switching to our antenna for "regular" TV (which we hardly ever do, because who wants to watch commercials?!?!).
We honestly can't imagine life without Netflix. On the days those red envelopes show up in the mail, I can hear "time for the movies" reverberating in my mind. And, you just smile, too. Movies coming right to your door … and "plopping 'em right back in the mail" to return them.
Oh, and one of the best parts in all of this is that we get to sit in our comfy spots on the couch when we're "Netflixing" … no driving to the movie theater where people don't know how to behave, or you get a not-so-good seat, or someone talks through the movie … and, worst of all, the "illuminated" and just enough noise to be annoying and distracting from the numerous rude, oblivious, and monosyllabic idiots texting, emailing, taking selfies, and even talking throughout the movie.
No thanks! We're a Netflix family.
Thanks to Netflix, you'll never look at TV or "going to the movies" the same way again!
Netflix changed "going to the movies" just as the Beatles changed music (and the world)!
The day of my video taping for Netflix, Vanessa "showed me around" the facility where DVDs are processed. It's amazing. Oh, and I got to meet some of the customer support staff, too. What a great bunch of people!
DVD.COM and Netflix just make things so much easier and, well, fun, too. The best word is effortless for Netflix!
Here are links to find out more about Netflix, the 20th anniversary celebration, and how to sign up:
You need to know (as required by the FTC) I am part of the DVD Nation Team that is promoting the 20th anniversary of Netflix and there are rewards from DVD.Netflix.com for those of us helping promote what Netflix does in providing thousands of viewing options to choose from, that you can get with a DVD subscription mail service as well as via Netflix streaming services (which has “tons” of original content you can’t find anywhere else).
It is important to note that I jumped at the chance to help the DVD Nation Team promote Netflix for the 20th anniversary celebration, because, simply put, right from the very beginning, Diana and I have been huge fans of Netflix. We have been "selling" Netflix since we first subscribed to Netflix in 2004. That was when we stopped going through the horrid experiences (and costs, and time, and annoyances) of enduring movie theaters. We killed cable TV shortly thereafter. We were part of the Netflix team testing and pioneering online viewing/streaming in 2006, too.