Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Netflix Is The Devil

Red Box Video Machine

I know this is a picture of a Red Box video vending machines, which has nothing to do with Netflix. I spied it at a local Circle K in town and always dismissed them as 'movies for poo folks'. But as I stopped and looked at the titles that were available on the machine I was surprised that I had heard of almost none of them. I mean, this machine was basically 'direct-to-video' heaven. Most of the titles had never made it into theatrical release.

This wouldn't have surprised me too much, except that some of the titles actually looked 'interesting'. They were period films or biographies that actually looked like they would be worth watching and actually had some impressive stars in them. This got me wondering.

For the past few years I have heard Slyde and Earl singing the praises of Netflix and how they had movies piled up in their Netflix 'cue' for the next three decades to watch. This didn't really interest me because I had an AppleTV unit that downloaded all my movies from iTunes. That is until the AppleTV went belly-up. A new one is going to cost me $280, which isn't really in the budget right now.

Then, a month ago, I read on-line that Netflix was going to start streaming video to the Nintendo Wii gaming console. Brucie loves his Wii, so I opted for the cheaper route ($280 = AppleTV vs $8.99/mo = Wii) and ordered the Netflix disk and set up my Netflix account.

So far I have been impressed. The streaming video is pretty damn quick and the resolution isn't half bad, even in HDTV. Plus, I get the fun little disks in the mail for the titles that they dont' stream, all for one flat rate. So I have been building up my Netflix cue as well, and that is when I noticed something pretty disturbing.

As many of you might know, I have extensive LaserDisc collection. Some guys collect shot glasses, others collect old Playboys, well LaserDiscs are my hobby of choice. While I am building my cue in Netflix, their software analyzes your video choices and recommends other titles that you might like. It has come to my attention that their programing in this regard has approached mind reading.

While I have selected about 12 films in my DVD / Streaming cue, Netflix has recommended about 30 other movies they think I might like......and all but about 6 of them are in my LaserDisc collection. So basically, Netflix is reading my mind. It already knows from the very few films I have selected to watch that I might like films as diverse as "The Bicycle Thief" and "Jean de Florette", both of which I already own on LaserDisc.

Maybe I am just paranoid, but I think I am going to start covering up the Wii at night when I am not using it......I think it might be watching me.