Back in Seattle, my cable TV/internet provider Millennium Digital Broadstripe had a pricing model that made it irrational to get anything other than a package with every premium service that they offered.
Here in Palo Alto, we have Comcast, and it didn’t quite work that way. After making sure we had the four essential channels – Fox Soccer, Speed, Turner Classic Movies and BBC – there were plenty of economical, premium-free packages. And they offer a fair number of video-on-demand options, both paid and free. But even so…. Yes, we belong to Netflix, but we’ve found ourselves ordering “worthy” movies on DVD and then being in the mood for something light.
Last week we visited some friends for dinner, and after we’d eaten a couple of us wound up in the den, watching bits of weird Troma movies, streamed from Netflix via their Xbox360. The penny dropped, and that evening I ordered a Roku box. A $99 set-top box that lets me stream video from Netflix and Amazon straight onto my HDTV. Finally I’m getting to enjoy the IT Crowd
(Oh, and a tip for Amazon: you need to investigate a subscription pricing model for video-on-demand. Yes, it’s more convenient that I can search the Amazon catalog through the Roku, rather than having to add movies to my “Instant queue” on my laptop before I can watch them. But every time I find something on Amazon, I go to check for it on Netflix, because I’ve already paid for all I can watch from them.)