Three features I wish Netflix offered

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I like to joke that I’m behind the times when it comes to technology. Netflix is one of the few things I was an early adopter of, having signed up way back when it was primarily a DVD by mail rental service. I’ve been with Netflix so long that I seem to have been super mega grandfathered in when they decide to raise their prices.

So basically, it should come as no surprise that I’m one of those weirdos who still uses Netflix to rent DVDs and Blu Rays. I use Netflix streaming like everyone else, but use the DVD service to supplement my viewing.

As someone who has used Netflix for DVDs for a number of years now, I keep coming back to the fact that there are features I wish were available to those of use who still rent DVDs. I fully acknowledge that most of the people who have Netflix only have streaming. I’m sure Netflix probably isn’t all that concerned with adding features to their DVD service. If anything, I expect them to scale back their DVD service more and more.

Still, I find myself dreaming of the things I wish were available to Netflix DVD customers. Particularly, I’d love to see the following features available on the Netflix DVD website:

  1. The ability to lock in your DVD queue order. Right now, Netflix assumes that customers want discs to arrive as quickly as possible. So if the first disc in your queue has a wait on it, Netflix will skip over that disc and send you the next available disc in your queue. And that’s usually fine. I’m sure many DVD customers prefer it that way. But what if you want to watch your queue in a very specific order? As examples: what if you want to watch the original before the remake? What if I want to watch every film your favorite director has ever made in the order in which they were released? What if you want to watch all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the order of release (like I recently did)? What if you’re willing to wait a bit longer to ensure that you can watch things in the order of your choice? To be fair, I’ve occasionally had Netflix skip over a disc with a wait on it only to send me said disc when it became available – thus giving me a “bonus” disc out. But to be honest – and maybe I’m weird in saying this – that practice doesn’t really help me if I’m wanting to watch something in a particular order. It means the disc they send me is going to sit around my house while I wait for the disc with the wait on it to arrive and I watch it. It means there’s a greater chance of my misplacing that disc or something happening to it while it sits around my house. It means the other Netflix customers who want that disc are going to have to wait longer for it.

    I’m not suggesting Netflix completely do away with the ship discs based on what’s available model. What I propose is giving customers a choice – would you rather skip over something in your queue with a wait on it in order to get discs faster, or would you rather wait and receive discs in the order in which they appear in your queue? It could be as easy as checking a box on the website.

  2. “I’d prefer to receive [format], but [other format] is fine if it becomes available first.” I’m paying a bit extra each month in order to receive Blu Rays from Netflix where available. I generally prefer receiving Blu Ray discs. However, like every Blu Ray player I’ve ever heard of, my Blu Ray player is backwards compatible and plays DVDs. There’s no reason I couldn’t watch a DVD if I wanted to. One of the things I’ve noticed is that for some titles, there is a “very long wait” for the Blu Ray version but no wait at all for the DVD version. The difference in wait time is not something you’d even realize unless you switch back and forth between formats in your queue. And that’s not something I always remember to do. What I would love would be for there to be an option to check a box saying something to the effect of “Blu Ray is preferred, but DVD is fine if that version of the title becomes available first.” Barring that, it’d be nice to at least get a notice when I add the title to my queue that one format has a wait, but the other doesn’t (I realize there are already alerts to tell you there’s a wait on a title, but it doesn’t let you know if the other format also has a wait).
  3. Different login information for different members of the same household who share the account. Like I’m sure many other Netflix users, I share my account with other members of my household. I remember at one point, it was possible for each Netflix profile to have its own login information, but Netflix seems to have dropped that option. It’s not like I don’t trust the people I share my account with. But I also understand that sometimes mistakes happen – especially when some people are less technologically proficient than others. Letting each profile holder have their own login can be helpful for both streaming and DVD subscribers. I mean – what if you’re a parent and want to control what your kid is able to watch? If there’s one login for all members of the household, a savvy enough kid could find a way to watch things you don’t feel is appropriate for them.

So that’s it. That’s what I’d like to see instituted on Netflix, though I doubt it will. What do you think? Do you get DVDs from Netflix? What types of things would you like to see available on Netflix?

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