Netflix: My name is Hiro Nakamura, I come from the future.

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Apparently I can’t get enough of trying new ways to get my digital entertainment. This time around Netflix’s “Watch Now” is going to get the spotlight. I’ve used it before, but this time there was something new. Want a hint? It’s the content.

For those not familiar with Watch Now, I’ll fill you in. Watch Now is included free with every Netflix membership. Every member gets one hour per dollar of their membership every month to watch instant streamed video. With a decent internet connection the video quality is nearly as good as a DVD; but maybe more importantly, it’s better than CinemaNow or Vongo. It runs inside your browser (only Internet Explorer still…..) as a plug-in, and I have never run into any sort of DRM issues like I have at other online video sites. That said, as all of the video is streamed, you have to have an active internet connection to watch; you can’t download anything to keep.

With my school schedule this past year I have been on the lowest tier Netflix plan: $5/month. That gets me two discs per month one-at-a-time plus five hours of online viewing. Until recently, five hours of online viewing was more than I did in any month, but then I discovered Heroes. Which if you haven’t seen yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It may be better than 24 for me.

I actually watched the first episode on my Xbox 360 because of a promotion where I could download the first episode of the first season for free. Then I found out that Netflix had the whole first season AND every episode that had aired in the second season so far. Typically the video available online on Netflix is content that came from a DVD (often slightly older films). Heroes episodes come out on Wednesdays mornings, a little more than 24 hours after they air on NBC.

Initially (first day or two) my wife and I just watched our five hours that comes in our monthly plan; we got hooked though. When we started watching Heroes there had been 28 episodes, and now we wanted to watch them all. At Apple’s iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox, each episode would have cost us $2, or $56 total to own lease the video. With episodes only being 43 minutes though, it only costs $0.72/episode on Netflix. So we just upgraded our plan by $12, and got caught up to the current episode in about a week (yeah, we didn’t do much else that week).

In addition to getting all those episodes, I am also in the three discs at a time unlimited plan for this month as well; I have gotten nine DVD rentals. This is what is great about Netflix, you can change your plan at any time with no contract of any sort. If you increase your plan you can choose to pro-rate it for the remainder of your cycle or you can have it start at the beginning of the next cycle. Downgrades go into effect at the beginning of the next cycle. So I upgraded, and then downgraded my account just for this one month.

So this is just another way that Netflix is delivering the most entertainment for the dollar out there. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it.

Out of interest for full disclosure, we do occasionally run an ad for Netflix, but it is a service that we all believe in here. Actually, quite a few of us here are Netflix and Mozy (another TechConsumer sponsor) customers, myself included.

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