Posted at 5:52 PM on February 7, 2006
by Euan Kerr
The teenagers are agitating to get a Netflix account. I can see the sense despite my loyalty to the local independent video boutique. There are clearly movies available through the mail which the folks up the street don't have, and I'd like to take advantage of that.
The question is though, with four people in the household, what's the best way to manage the flow?
I began the year with a resolution to see certain classic films which I have somehow missed in the past. I even began creating a list for whenever I get around to signing up. You know the kind of thing: all the Kurosawa I've not seen, the odd Kazan, and a host of other stuff.
The last night Malcolm the 15 year old announced he thought it made sense to get a Netflix account. I didn't even have to wait to learn where his interests lie.
"Have you ever seen "Death Race 2000?" he asked us across the dinner table. "It's the coolest movie ever." He was just about licking his lips about the prospect of bringing more Roger Corman and Paul Bartel into our lives.
Sarah the 17 year old and Jane the (only) adult also have their own cinematic needs and desires, so we clearly have to find a way of choosing. It's hard enough getting a consensus when we are all at the store, so how will we manage a list of dozens of films? Of course I am leaning towards totalitarian control, but I know that stands little chance of success because they'll gang up on me.
The Maven tells me they have a strict rule in her household about who gets to choose what. (Basically she makes the bulk of the choices.) But what about everyone else?
Anyone with a number of people in a household care to share how they work this conundrum? What works? And what doesn't?
I heart Netflix.
Okay. With that out of the way, I guess it depends on exactly how many people you are choosing movies for an exactly what netflix rental plan you want (5 at a time? 3 at a time? 8?). The more movies at a time you plan on doing the easier your choice becomes.
Netflix has an option for multiple queues. You can set it up so that you have a queue, your two kids each get one, and your wife gets one.
5 at a time says that you get 2, your kids each 1, and your wife 1. Everyone gets something. Split it again and you get 2, your wife gets 2, your kids get 1 total and need to alternate.
You could have (still working with 5 as the model) 3 for you and your wife, and 2 for your kids and only have two queues.
Or, there is always totalitarian control.
Multiple queues are probably the easiest, though you don't have automatic control over the queues (except that you can always consolidate and go back to 1 queue). Otherwise, you'd have to either divvy out space on your queue or lose the battle for totalitarian control
Joe said it really well. Sounds like queues are the way to go with Netflix and your family.
I'm sure you'll still be renting some from the local place too, though. Netflix has a couple of problems as a video service. One is that they don't carry movies that are too risque. I'm not a connoiseure of that sort of thing, but sometimes there's an artsy or interesting film that's rated nc-17 that I want to see and Netflix usually doesn't have it. It's a policy.
The other and more serious shortcoming is that they are DVD only. Many of the really great classic or just interesting old films are not on DVD. African Queen, for instance. So a video store with a quirky selection of vhs can still be pretty valuable.
But still, Netflix has opened up whole worlds of possible videos for me that I never would have been able to see before. And browsing titles and reviews online is _much_ more pleasant that walking those flickering aisles at the video store. ;)
Thanks for all your advice Joe and Gary. I think I have what I need!