I’m a fan of Netflix and have been for several years. I’ve mentioned in previous articles that my husband and I have been cable free for two years, relying solely on DVDs and Netflix for our entertainment. When Netflix recently released their new streaming-only option, we opted in right away, preferring to stream the offerings of the Netflix Instant Queue through our Xbox 360.
Recently, we noticed some changes in our queue. It started subtly: a line of seasons of one of the TV shows I’d added was missing, or where there had previously been five or six icons for one show, only one remained.
The changes started in February and recently gained ground. About 90% of our queue’s television series have been consolidated into one accessible streaming file. The regular Netflix blog fails to give any details about these changes, but another blog, HackingNetflix.com, has discussed the changes and allowed readers to comment on their posts.
While there still doesn’t seem to be a specific reason that Netflix made this change, speculation has suggested it’s to mainstream their selection and make room for more options available for Instant View.
Even if their intentions were good, not all of their customers are happy.
According to customer comments, many people have been finding the changes annoying. The consolidation process often removes the series from the queue completely, forcing the customer to go back, find it, and re-add the new consolidated version. Customers also no longer have the option to rate individual seasons. The rating options are now for the series as a whole.
Some of the issues we’ve had with the new system include missing episodes and episodes out of order. We’re also unsure how this system is going to work when a new season of a previously watched show comes available. For instance, we’ve already watched all the available seasons of “Bones.” Will we be notified if and when the next season comes available, or will we have to remember to keep checking back? Also, while the rating issue isn’t as big a deal to us, it could lead to less accurate Netflix recommendations.
In spite of the naysayers, many people like the new format. They find the streamline way of watching preferable and they enjoy the space now being saved in their previously extensive Netflix queue. It’s unclear whether the consolidation is connected to the new shows finding their way to the Instant View option, but streaming viewers have likely seen a surge in new TV shows recently, including several popular CBS shows, like “Medium,” “Ghost Whisperer,” and “Cheers.” While a Netflix blog post did talk about the deal that was struck with CBS, it seems like coincidentally good timing in reference to the consolidation project.
My overall opinion of the changes? I like them. For someone who has a tendency to go a little crazy when adding new stuff to the Netflix queue, I like knowing I can add a series without taking up valuable room for other series and movies.
Only time — and continual customer feedback — will tell if this consolidation project was one of Netflix’s better ideas.