Posted on November 26, 2010


Before we joined Netflix, we belonged to Hollywood Video. Our local Hollywood Video was right by our local Safeway grocery store, which was very convenient, but it carried mainstream films, so its selection wasn’t very broad. At that time we lived in a very lower economic class part of town (great people, wonderful food, not much money), which meant that the neighborhood took longer to convert from VCR to DVD player. The Hollywood Video, therefore, carried mostly VHS tapes. We wanted to watch DVDs. Initially, of course, we bought DVDs, but I quickly tired of buying movies I only watched once, or movies with poor digital transfers, or movies with no meaningful extras – and that was before studios started releasing Director’s Cuts, Anniversary sets, Boxed sets, and so on.

So when Netflix came to my attention, I signed us up. We’ve loved it. Their customer service has been excellent. We sometimes shift our cue around to get recent releases sooner, but we have over 100 items in our queue all the time. I really like the service.

I hate Netflix recommendations.

  • They seem based on genre. Just because I like one “horror” movie doesn’t mean I’m going to like every horror movie.
  • They keep losing my ratings. I keep seeing movies that I’ve already rated appear in my recommendations list without my rating.

What I would prefer to see is recommendations based on the ratings of other members whose ratings most closely match my own. In order to do that, Netflix would have to remember my ratings, and the ratings of others.

Of course the drawback is, the more you rate, the less likely you are to match up with other members. If you have broad tastes in entertainment, it gets even harder to find people whose ratings agree with yours. Die-hard SciFi fans, for example, might despise musicals. If you like both, it’s going to be harder to find someone whose ratings match yours.

Despite their excellent customer service, I’m not sure Netflix cares. They’re working to shift business from DVD rental by mail to streaming (and I can’t blame them, it must be much lower overhead), so making their system more accurate is probably low on their priorities.

Well, I look forward to being able to stream directly to my TV in the near future. In the meantime, considering Netflix’s price hikes, I think I’ll reduce how many DVDs we get at a time.

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Posted in: Movies