Jan 10

Netflix Ireland Might Be A Bit Overhyped

by in Cinema, tv

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Netflix went live in Ireland on Sunday night and, naturally enough, I signed up for the free month trial. After playing around with the service for a couple of hours I've got very mixed feelings about it. The technology is fantastic, though not perfect, but the range of content available isn't exactly stellar.

Signing up only took a couple of minutes, though quite a few people seemed to have issues, as Netflix were offering two signup options; a normal one and "signup via Facebook".

Once I'd signed up I answered a few questions about my personal taste in movies and tv shows and then linked it to my Apple TV (2nd generation). You can also link your Netflix account to Facebook and share your activity. If you're watching something on a computer you can easily choose not to share what you're viewing with Facebook, but on the Apple TV sharing is on by default. Of course you can disable the social sharing completely, but I haven't so far.

So now that I was all "setup" it was simply a question of choosing something to watch. This, unfortunately, is where the service left me a little disappointed.

Netflix Ireland's range of "new releases" is anything but "new". You might find a film that was released on iTunes a few months ago, but you're more likely to stumble across some "straight to DVD" or weird Asian title. The back catalogue of movies is pretty good, but a little patchy. Interestingly enough there are titles and categories of titles on Netflix that the more conservative iTunes would never carry. While iTunes has plenty of "over 18" / "R rated" films, they're usually of the more violent type, while Netflix has a "Lesbian and Gay" category, as well as some more "risque" titles in the foreign films category.

Getting access to TV shows is something new in Ireland. At the moment iTunes Ireland does not offer access to TV shows, so the only way to get them is to get a US iTunes account, which is a "grey area". Netflix does offer a reasonable selection of TV shows, but the choice of episodes isn't comprehensive. Checking a couple of series last night I found that Dexter had only the first two seasons and while watching Scrubs season 1 episode 1 it cut me off before the end of the episode!

I've been using iTunes on my Apple TV for the last few months and I also subscribe to Sky Movies, as well as buying quite a few blu-ray and DVD as they are released (on either side of the Atlantic). So it's only natural that I'd compare Netflix with iTunes and Sky Movies. However, having said that, if you take the cost element into consideration Netflix is incredibly cheap at a mere €6.99 a month. The problem for somebody like me, however, is that the cost is only one factor. I'd happily pay more if I thought the content was worth getting, but it's probably not, so I doubt if I'll renew my subscription after the first month's free trial.

Of course the entry into the Irish (and UK) market of Netflix could have a much bigger impact on the market as a whole. Ryanair's rockbottom pricing shook up the airline industry and Netflix has done pretty much the same in the US. Will it have the same kind of impact on Sky in Ireland?

What about the ISPs? Will the increase in people streaming TV shows and films mean that ISPs in Ireland will tighten up on bandwidth caps? It will be interesting to see how many people signup for the service and how many dump Sky as a result.

 

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45 Responses to “Netflix Ireland Might Be A Bit Overhyped”

  1. From Blacknight Solutions (@blacknight):

    Our own @mneylon posted about his 1st impressions of Netflix as well http://t.co/lqgJyTqz

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 11:44 am #
  2. From markofu (@markofu):

    RT @mneylon: Initial impressions of Netflix Ireland http://t.co/I6kyjp1Y -> nice summary

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm #
  3. From Sean:

    I agree with your thoughts Michele, as someone who doesn’t have Sky etc. I was pleased with the amount of movies on it I did expect it to be only movies that had went to DVD and I wasn’t wrong. I think they have a really nice collection of TV but as you were saying latest seasons of things don’t seem to be there. Doctor Who, South Park.. I assume this is to do with licensing?

    My only thing against it is I am with an ISP at the moment that has a bandwidth cap, terrible I know but its my only option.. I can see netflix ruining my download limit as everything streams in a very high quality. I think they should offer different resolutions as a setting. 480p, 720p etc. Other than that I really like the service.

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm #
  4. From Michele:

    Sean
    I thought they were offering a couple of options for the video quality?
    From what I see most of the titles are in standard definition and you have to choose a HD version.
    Of course if you’re on a cap it could be a disaster either way :(

    Michele

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm #
  5. From Sean:

    mmm.. interesting your using Apple TV? The device I’m using doesn’t offer quality settings, I guess they’ll add them later. I guess I could just hook the computer up and have quality settings that way. But yeah broadband caps are so annoying! :| Whats even worse is when you go above them and feel like your back in the 90s on dialup!

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm #
  6. From Jonathan Brazil:

    Thanks for sharing Michele. Interesting to hear about the content line-up. That was my biggest question as I have started to avoid just signing up for things on a whim these days and it’s difficult to tell from netflix.com exactly what the collection contains (at least I assume and hope that the titles listed without logging in are not the entire catalogue).

    It will be interesting to see what will happen with respect to disrupting the TV providers cushy nest here. I see that Sky have started fighting back against UPC due to losing loads of customers who would happily endure UPC TV in return for UPC broadband (myself included from mid last year) and now Sky have managed to somehow provide their TV with a UPC broadband deal. Not sure of the details yet but somebody (official) called to the door the other day trying to sell it to me.

    It would be great to see a shake-up in the Irish market; the guts of 1K per year for TV and movies is a little crazy at the moment and as much as I love my 25Mb connection, the UPC set-top software wrecks my head with bugs and the occasional snooze of death.

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm #
  7. From Michele:

    Sean

    I’ve got both a 1st and 2nd generation Apple TV, though I’m using the 2nd generation one more at the moment. I’ve no idea which device you’re using, so I can’t advise on quality settings, but I think there is an option in your account section to tweak.
    As for broadband – I’m on a business line at home, so I haven’t been capped ever :)

    Michele

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm #
  8. From Michele:

    @Jonathan

    A lot depends on the kind of things you like to watch. If it’s TV shows, for example, then there is a relatively good choice on Netflix, but the series are out of date or incomplete!

    How much are you paying with UPC?

    Michele

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm #
  9. From Jonathan Brazil:

    My OCD would go crazy at the thought of incomplete shows! :)

    With UPC at the moment it’s basic Digtal+ TV (no movies or sports), home phone (with free off peak calls worldwide – or at least almost worldwide) and 25Mb (which I’m actually getting on average 24.5Mb of) for €60 per month. Have to say I’m very happy overall despite the occasional bug surfacing in the set-top box.

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm #
  10. From Michele:

    @Jonathan
    What about Saor View or whatever it’s called?
    I’m probably paying around the same amount per month for Sky with all the movie channels and HD :(

    Michele

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm #
  11. From Jonathan Brazil:

    @Michele
    My last Sky bill was about 62.50 for Movies and World package (or whatever it’s called these days) but no sports, nor HD just standard plus. I have a Freesat HD box too, tried it for a while but missing RTE (prior to Saorview and still will until they eventually jump to sat broadcast – only terrestrial at the moment AFAIK) but the Grundig software was awful and a few other issues too.

    I could see my UPC bill jumping if I opted for movies plus I’d have no flexibility like when with Sky (I could add to and remove from the package on a monthly basis). However, between DVDs and other such I keep myself informed (loose use of the word!). The broadband is the winner the the package though. I suffered for years on an elastic Vodafone DSL that supposedly gave 8Mb, mostly gave <1Mb and frequently gave up the ghost!

    Posted on January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm #
  12. From roryl (@roryl2011):

    They also don’t accept paypal/laser-not much research into local mkt ‘Netflix in Ireland might be overhyped’ http://t.co/oZutL6r5 via…

    Posted on January 11, 2012 at 2:00 am #
  13. From Rory:

    Netflix don’t accept paypal which is strange for a cloud service :) and they don’t accept laser – which strikes me as showing themselves to be a little arrogant toward the payment option irish people currently enjoy – a small thing perhaps but many people wouldn’t want to pay for this by credit card payment …. what do you think?

    Posted on January 11, 2012 at 2:04 am #
  14. From Michele:

    Rory
    Not accepting Paypal doesn’t surprise me. The Paypal fees are a lot higher than credit card ones on lower value transactions and there’s no way to restrict payments by account holder address, which Netflix have to do.
    As for Laser – I hadn’t noticed that, but it’s a very valid point.

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on January 11, 2012 at 8:41 am #
  15. From Patrick:

    Well, I signed up using Paypal, so am guessing they sorted that avenue.

    As for the service, (and thanks Michael for a very decent review, many of your experiences are similar to my own) I am trying the month’s free trial but I will not continue using the service after that. The reason isn’t merely to do with content, I am happy enough in that department, but my slow BB speed means anything I watch has to keep buffering which generally means I have to allow double the time to watch something.

    Posted on January 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm #
  16. From Michele:

    @Patrick

    What kind of speed connection do you have?

    One of the downsides to Netflix is that you can’t download and watch when you’ve got it fully downloaded, which is what I do quite a bit using Apple TV (buffering errors etc., really make a mess of viewing!)

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 1:46 am #
  17. From Patrick:

    Hi Michele

    I have what can only be loosely described as broadband; I am supposed to be getting 1 meg (apparently our telephone lines can’t handle anything faster) but the reality is I get less than a quarter of that, about 0.23/4.

    If Apple TV was available in Ireland I’d definitely try it out.

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm #
  18. From Michele:

    Patrick

    Apple TVs are available in Ireland :)
    You can order them via the Apple site – usually cheaper new than the ones on eBay oddly enough

    Michele

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm #
  19. From Patrick:

    Thanks for that, Michele. That is excellent news.

    Am I right in thinking that with Apple TV I can still use Netflix and have the added bonus of allowing full buffering (like you can with a Youtube video) so I can watch a film/TV series, etc without it breaking up on me?

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm #
  20. From Michele:

    Sean

    It works with Apple TV – I’m not sure if it works any better if your BB is slow

    M

    Posted on January 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm #
  21. From martin fennell:

    “weird asian title”
    Well as a big fan of asian movies, that would be an incentive to me. Although I didn’t see many if any asian titles, when i looked before. The biggest problem for me is that I don’t have a credit card. I use a 3v card to pay for stuff online.
    unfortunately the lowest amount you can buy is 3o euros.
    I’m not sure if i can get a debit card. I’m unemployed.
    Thanks for letting us know your feelings.

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 2:59 am #
  22. From Michele:

    @Martin

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve nothing against Asian films, but there seemed to be a lot more of them than anything else in the Irish site. And by “weird” I mean titles that look like they were “straight to DVD” outside their original country.. I don’t mean ones that would be anything close to mainstream

    With regards to payment.. I’ve no idea what criteria the banks have these days for giving people Laser (or whatever they’re replacing it with), but they’re all trying to get us away from cash.

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 8:49 am #
  23. From Don:

    So far my only grip is the content. I think it’s an awesome option to have finally; but lets be honest: if it doesn’t have the content, what’s it worth?

    This last weekend I setup parental controls and dropped the tablet with the kids. “Find something to watch” I said.
    “Cool, Pirates of the Carribean Three, nuff said! Oh, not there. Two then? No. Ooo the Mask.. no. Dumb and Dumber? No.. any Jim Carey?? No. Paul, I wanna watch that! No… Diary of a Wimpy Kid one or two? Chipmonks? Anything they -want- to see? No, no, and NO”.

    Until they fix this, it’s a dud for me.

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm #
  24. From Michele:

    @Don

    How old are the kids?
    A couple of my friends with young kids love the service as there’s plenty of cartoons and shows to keep them quiet.

    Michele

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm #
  25. From Trey:

    Good comments Michele, and all. I’ve been using Netflix here for about 2 years through Apple TV and Wii (plus VPN). Netflix selection in the States, where they have had longer to deal with licensing arrangements, is still poor for truly “new” releases, and any movies still selling DVDs are kept out of Netflix by distributors. Bottomline, I think Netflix is a “get what you pay for” service that fills a nice niche in the marketplace until such time as the cable providers move (inevitably) to on-demand across the board.

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm #
  26. From Michele:

    @Trey

    Why does this not surprise me :)

    In the US does Netflix offer the newer releases with their physical DVDs? (Which you obviously can’t get via a VPN :) ) From browsing Rotten Tomatoes it looks like they do, but I wasn’t sure.

    Of course you’re right – the price point is a winner, though they’d need to get more content to the Irish and UK users soon :)

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on January 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm #
  27. From Jean:

    Hi Michele,

    I’m thinking strongly of getting this service, I have sky plus with movies and one extra connection costing me 72e/month. Not really up on download amounts I’m worried I’ll surpass my quota, I have a 15GB allowance from 3 network on mi fi. Would this be sufficient for average viewing of netflix?? Very confused…

    Posted on January 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm #
  28. From Michele:

    @Jean

    If you avoid high definition titles then you *should* be ok, though I’m not 100% sure how “big” a standard definition film is on Netflix. I suspect it’s below 1 gigabyte, but I could be completely wrong.

    A lot will depend on how strictly your ISP enforces any cap.

    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

    Posted on January 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm #
  29. From Damien A.:

    I am using an apple TV 2, and am with Eircom. The package I am on allows me 250gb a month usage (called unlimited, a laugh).

    Both my Netflix account and Apple TV are set for standard definition.

    This way an average movie uses about 300mb. This gives me (in theory) 833 hours before I reach the 250 gb allowance. Since there are 744 hours in a 31 days month, no worries.

    By the way, I only have a 1.8 mb speed broadband and it works perfectly in standard definition.

    Hope this will help.

    By the way, my kids love Netflix… And so do I, no more scratched DVDs!!!

    Posted on February 8, 2012 at 1:18 am #
  30. From Flo MacTire:

    I have to say that I was quite disappointed with the range of films and TV programmes offered by Netflix. It struck me that most of what’s on offer is B rated.
    Does anyone know if the choice on offer improves after the free one month trial ends?

    Flo

    Posted on February 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm #
  31. From Michele:

    @Flo
    The choice doesn’t change whether you’re on the free trial or not.
    One would hope that the choice and range of content will improve over time as Netflix gets more licensing agreements worked out.

    Michele

    Posted on February 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm #
  32. From Rory:

    hi folks,

    I signed up in the first few days … i commented above but here are more detailed observations – would love to hear what you think …

    1. I found the phone number they had for customer service wasnt 24 7 though it was advertised as such and I was put through to a switch in the wrong department rather than the right person so invariably spent some time telling the netflix employee that Netflix was in Ireland and the Ireland was not part of the UK :) This has now been fixed and I have to say the customer service people I spoke to were really excellent – even when they couldn’t help you – they were very nice about it :)

    2. they are offering paypal on a trial basis to some subscibers – I’m not in the group unfortunately and as i use a prepaid credit card want to avoid using a card ….. I’ve told them my predicament and I’m waiting for paypal to be on general offer … in the meantime I was advised to open up av different trial period using different details :)

    3. the choice of movies and tv programmes is quite poor – I think what Ireland and the UK have is 10% of the offering in the US … also there are no irish movies/tv programmes and what they have is hit and miss – some great content but alot of movies with an imdb rating of under 4 – i tend to look for at least 7 :) Also whilst its possible to indicate your tastes etc – there seems to be no way to exclude films from certain countries – i never watch asian movies for example – just my taste – yet many of the movies are from that genre …

    4. i was told the content would be updated on the 1st and 15th of every month – this hasn’t happened – indeed it used to be possible to scroll down on the home page to see the section ‘latest’ or ‘recently added’ – this section is gone now – maybe because they haven’t added any more content …

    5. its still a very cheap offering and if i didnt only like action/thriller/adventure I am sure i would be happy to the the romantic / comedy / other offerings …

    thanks for your time folks!

    Rory

    Posted on February 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm #
  33. From chris hasson:

    licensing, licensing, licensing that’s always the word you get when you contact company’s like sky, Onfilm or other movie streaming sites. about why they don’t stream here.
    is it really so hard to get licensing in Ireland. Or do company’s really not care about us.

    Posted on March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm #
  34. From Michele:

    @Rory – the Paypal option would be quite handy for a lot of people I suspect. I can’t see any option to use it on my account though :(

    @Chris – which companies though? The ones with the content or the ones who want to stream the content? :)

    Posted on March 29, 2012 at 12:19 am #
  35. From chris hasson:

    The likes of Sky or Onfilm seem to have a problem getting the licensing from the ones with the content. ( movie studios / TV Networks )

    Sky anytime + is now available to ALL sky subscribers with any broadband to watch on there TVs. But not available in ROI But we can get it on the PC iphone ipad. BUT NOT through the TV like the rest of sky subscribers.

    …. licensing

    Posted on March 29, 2012 at 12:47 am #
  36. From Don:

    @Michelle
    Kids are 8, 9, and 14.
    Well, ok, so there are plenty of cartoons, I will grant you that – however I have this anyway on my Sky package, and more updated ones to boot. Not to mention the dozens of other kids channels that are on standard telly anyhow.

    If it can’t offer what I can get already (free in some cases) then what purpose does it serve for me?

    Posted on March 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm #
  37. From Don:

    @Rory

    Oh there is new content. Dirty dancing. Blue Streak. Fry and Laurie. Godfather. Pulp Fiction. You know, the “hits” from the 80′s.

    Stuff that, if you haven’t seen it you’re unlikely to want to see more than the once or twice a year that they’re on public access telly.

    They need to get this fixed up and fast. Otherwise why bother.

    Posted on March 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm #
  38. From Don:

    @Michele
    The kids are 10 and 13; the elder is a boy. There’s a lot of cartoons, I’ll give you that but nothing to write home about. If they want to watch cartoons they go to Sky in anycase since the cartoons there tend to be new (Netflix has ooooold cartoons).
    There’s still pretty much nothing in the movies section that they want to watch between them at this stage – either something they’ve watch a dozen times or asian stuff they’re simply not interested in.

    Here’s the scary thing, right. We pay for Netflix because we want to be legal, we want to do the right thing, we want to reward the creators. While the content creators call us thieves and worse. The popularity of Netflix in the US and other regions proves that people will pay for streamed services. But there are options, aren’t there. So lets see how it goes.

    Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:54 am #
  39. From Evelyn:

    I used to live in the US and was a daily Netflix user there. The selection was great. Never brand new releases but still pretty amazing. And a fantastic selection of Nat Geo documentaries and TV shows such as Mad Men etc. Recently moved back to IRL and was delighted to see Netflix has arrived. Just signed up here and really disappointed with the range of movies but willing to give it a chance in the hope it will improve. One thing I don’t miss with the US service is the DVD posting. Kind of cumbersome. Much better to have it all streamed online!

    Posted on April 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm #
  40. From Ben Harrington:

    If you are using Netflix Ireland on Xbox 360 or PS3, you can get the US content pretty simply. Just change your DNS to: Primary:173.199.144.68
    Secondary:206.214.214.28
    If you do this you will have much, much more content on your Netflix.

    Posted on August 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm #
  41. From Paul:

    The content on Netflix Ireland is rather limited at this time. But it is fine for a single months subscription. The addition of new film titles are an infrequent event. Though there is a small selection of films that are worth watching.

    Netflix USA on the other hand provides a more extensive range of films, documentaries and TV series. Some of their new film titles are available to stream before they are aired on Sky Premier.

    Netflix USA is easy to access through a VPN. I would recommend HMA! Pro VPN.
    Use the ISP New York, Albany. It has the least traffic of all the ISP providers that available in the US through the use of HMA! Pro VPN, which will enable You to stream the content without interruption.

    Posted on September 2, 2012 at 11:26 am #
  42. From jennifer:

    so i assumeicant sign up using a laser card??

    Posted on March 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm #
  43. From jennifer:

    in ireland tat is

    Posted on March 30, 2013 at 7:11 pm #
  44. From Michele:

    Jennifer

    I don’t think they accept Laser.

    Michele

    Posted on March 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

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