While Netflix is certainly an amazing streaming service for many people, it may not be right for you. Just as there are pitfalls to cutting the cord, there are downsides to subscribing to Netflix.
So, before you hop aboard the Netflix hype train, take a moment to consider the problems with the streaming service. Is Netflix worth it? In this article we examine the disadvantages of Netflix.
1. Limited Regional Selections
Of all the drawbacks to Netflix, one is undeniably bad for viewers: The number and quality of movies and TV shows you have access to will depend on where you live.
For example, if you live in the United States, there will inevitably be times when you want to watch something that’s only available on Netflix Canada or Netflix UK. This happens very rarely, but when it does, it’s annoying. We can’t imagine how frustrating it is for people outside of the US wanting to watch Netflix content available exclusively in the United States.
There are, of course, ways to watch everything on Netflix no matter where you live, the most common method being the use of a VPN. Many paid services still work even though Netflix theoretically cracked down on their usage. We recommend CyberGhost or ExpressVPN for VPNs that work with Netflix.
2. An Outdated Library
The other big complaint about Netflix—which has been one of its sore spots ever since the streaming service went live—is that its library is really be up-to-date. These days, only Netflix originals can really be considered timely and trendy.
Due to licensing agreements with TV networks, it doesn’t make sense to let Netflix stream episodes as they’re released on a network (like ABC or CBS) because that would kill any incentive for people to watch the networks themselves.
Netflix’s strength is in binge-watching, which means it’s really good for catching up on TV shows just before the next season begins airing. That’s why a lot of Netflix’s library is about one year in the past. Networks aren’t willing to let Netflix load up its library with recent content.
Why one year, though? Because that’s when full-season DVD sales are still profitable, and that’s also one reason why films are so late to join Netflix’s library. Publishers only start licensing with Netflix when sales of a season, show, or movie have run their course.
3. Internet Requirements
The thing about Netflix (along with any other streaming app) is that the entire service is contingent upon your internet connection quality. Whether you’re watching YouTube, Twitch, or Netflix, your ISP could be the difference between watching in 240p, 720p, or 4K video.
If your internet goes down then there’s no Netflix. If people on your network are watching YouTube or playing games, and consequently hogging up your bandwidth, Netflix will stutter. And if your internet speed is bad, video quality will suffer. Remember, Netflix automatically decides stream quality based on the health of your connection.
Compare that to Blu-ray or DVD: you just pop the disc into the right player and you get the exact same quality all the time, and you can keep watching even if your internet connection goes out. The value of this reliability cannot be overstated.
4. Data Cap Consumption
While we’re on the topic of internet connections, let’s not forget that data caps are a very real nuisance to consider when streaming media—especially for videos, which can eat up more than 1GB/hour depending on how much quality you demand when watching movies and TV shows.
Indeed, data caps are a serious threat to services like Netflix. If you have trouble visualizing just how bad the problem is, consider this example:
- 1,000 hours at Low quality.
- 425 hours at Standard quality.
- 100 hours at High quality.
- 40 hours at Ultra HD quality.
(NB: These estimates are based on Netflix data usage details.)
And these figures assume that you do nothing else besides Netflix. With Ultra HD becoming the norm in home entertainment, these figures are simply unacceptable. If you have a capped internet connection, then beware: Netflix will consume your data faster than you think.
5. No Ownership of Media
Of all the reasons not to sell your CDs and DVDs, this one is the most relevant: even though you pay for Netflix, you don’t own anything on it. If you buy a DVD, it’s yours. With Netflix, your payments disappear into thin air.
This means that after one year you will have paid anywhere from $108 to $192 depending on which Netflix plan you choose. However, you’ll have nothing to show for it except the memories of whatever TV shows and films you watched during that time.
This is one of the big tragedies of joining the streaming generation. We’re seeing a decline in the ownership of entertainment media, and that puts you at the mercy of content publishers and streamers.
The worst example of this is that shows and films can be pulled from Netflix’s library at any time. Nothing is more irritating than binge-watching a show like Breaking Bad only to find that it has disappeared when you’re only halfway through.
6. Subscription Value
Netflix encourages binge-watching. In fact, it’s such an integral aspect of the service that the word “Netflix” is pretty much synonymous with “binge-watching” these days. Once you start a show, it’s really hard to stop.
Television is also addictive, but it’s much easier to walk away when a show ends because you can’t control when a show can be marathoned or not.
And it’s not just because Netflix makes it really easy to move from one episode to the next, although that does play a big part. It’s because Netflix is a subscription service. You pay the same no matter how much you watch, so watching more in a month means wringing more value out of your subscription.
On the other hand, if you don’t watch much at all, then Netflix may not be worth the price tag. If you go a month without watching anything, then you’ve basically thrown away your money.
7. Loss of Channel Surfing
This last point is minor in the bigger picture, but still worth considering if you haven’t cut the cord yet: you can’t surf channels and just watch whatever’s playing. You always have to pick something, and sometimes this isn’t that easy.
Some workarounds to simulate channel surfing based on certain genres exist, but even those tend to be riddled with bugs and/or veer too far from the real thing. There’s a charm to knowing that a show is playing live, and Netflix doesn’t have that.
If you’re really stuck on what to watch, you can now see what’s popular on Netflix in your region.
So, Is Netflix Worth It?
Again, let us reiterate that we are huge fans of Netflix. Indeed, our appreciation of it far outweighs any gripes we might have. It has saved a lot of people a lot of money and has reimagined what it means to watch TV in the 21st century.
So, is Netflix worth the money? Well, if you’d like to hear some counterarguments, check out our other article explaining why you should be happy to pay more for Netflix.
Read the full article: 7 Reasons to Avoid Subscribing to Netflix