The Magic Box
David Pogue’s latest column in the Times reminded me that I haven’t shared one of our Christmas gifts here yet. It showed up a little late, and was almost a Martin Luther King Day gift, but we now have one of the Roku boxes for Netflix video on demand. It’s what TV should be.
Where Netflix’s DVDs by mail were convenient, this is downright slothfulness. Where our cable company allows us to rent from about 130 titles (I just counted) on a pay-per-view basis of $3.99 per title per day, Netflix gives us access to about 12,000 titles as part of our monthly fee of $15. One cable to our router, another to our TV, and we were good to go.
I’m a big believer that the dominance of on-demand media is inevitable, and seeing the box in action finally convinced me the technology wasn’t just vaporware. I know it will be a while before all the rights get sorted out. Don’t get me wrong – I want the actors, writers, producers, et cetera, to be compensated for producing good entertainment, because I want to encourage (and enable) them to produce more good entertainment. I like reasonable copyright protections. I just also like simple.
I don’t want to be running back to Quicken to make a note everytime I push *play* on some movie, and I like being able to explore genres and themes without feeling like I’m flushing $3.99 if I turn a show off after five minutes. Netflix got it right for me. Flat fee, no deadlines, and good quality streaming video on the big flat screen in the living room. Santa was definitely good to us this year.