Netflix started out as an online DVD rental service, where physical DVDs are shipped to subscribers without needing to visit a traditional video rental store. It is now also one of the largest video streaming services online.
Netflix is well known for offering a vast library of movies with a modest number of TV shows. However, it doesn’t have everything. Of course, this has to do with the type of licensing and rights Netflix has with the studios and distributors of said shows. For example, you can stream The Avengers on Netfix, but all three Iron Man films are only available as physical DVD rentals. Newer movies will also take some time before appearing on Netflix, and is normally tied to the DVD release date. The Lego Movie for example is unavailable to stream or DVD renting.
As the popularity of streaming services rise, Netflix has in recent years also tried to compete with traditional cable channels such as HBO. They’ve begun to produce original content or carry exclusive licenses for shows that only appear in Netflix. Among the competition, it has the most exclusive shows, including highly acclaimed and award winning ones such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. If you’re looking for cutting edge drama, Netflix is your best bet. Netflix is also investing in 4K content. The latest season of House of Cards will be shot in 4K, plus the entire Breaking Bad series.
Netflix offers three subscription tiers: US$7.99/month for single screen and standard definition viewing, US$8.99/ month for up to two screens in high definition and US$11.99/ month for up to four screens at high definition. As a long time player in the streaming service, its desktop interface supports creating different user profiles and customizations, which affect suggested shows and top picks based on viewing preferences. Searching for content is easily done through a search bar and viewing content is pretty intuitive. If you’re watching a movie, it will offer suggestions on what to watch next. If you’re watching a drama serial, if will automatically play the next episode. Netflix will also track and remember your movies and will continue playing your last show where you left off. You can also rate and comment on shows.
Besides its desktop version, Netflix also includes iOS and Android apps. Unfortunately, the Android app only seems to stream in 480p. Similarly, devices running iOS 6 and below only stream in 480p, though devices running iOS 7 can stream in full HD (1080p).
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