Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Streaming a River of Old TV

Via Alyssa Rosenberg I read a Tim Carmody article about how Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming both are offering full seasons of old television series.  

Seriously: Blockbuster movies make for great one-off meals, but the back catalog is the video streamer’s comfort food. Viewers love snacking on old favorites when there’s nothing better on and binging on shows or seasons they missed during their first run.

It’s one of the few things that is an order of magnitude easier on a digital service like Netflix than actually popping in a DVD or managing a folder full of torrented movie files: The service perfectly maintains your place in the series, no matter what device you’re using, and you can just hit “play next episode” over and over again. Or you can easily scan for a rewatchable favorite. (Readers with kids know this is particularly useful.)

I concur.  In fact, I find myself almost unable to watch television on DVD anymore if it is available on streaming Netflix.  In June a friend of mine lent me the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise, because it was the one Star Trek series I had never seen.  Between July and the end of September I had watched about 1/2 of that first season.  Then I discovered it was also on streaming Netflix.  I’m now into the third season.  In just one month.

With a series on DVD I have to be in the room with the DVD player and every 40 minutes I need to switch to the next episode.  With streaming Netflix I can carry it around on my iPad and watch while I’m in the kitchen or doing laundry or cleaning a room that is not the room with the DVD in it.  And at the end of one episode I just press the button for the next.  Let’s face it – I’ve gotten lazy.   Streaming Netflix is just too easy.

The real downside with watching on my iPad is that I find myself doing that instead of reading at night.  My reading has fallen off the cliff.  Partly I just haven’t found any books that I’m dying to read but partly it’s that I’m really caught up in watching old television.