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Netflix flops and cable crushes

By Noah Satern
On November 21, 2013


In recent years the way people watch TV has changed dramatically.

The changes began when Netflix first offered streaming TV shows and movies for computers, tablets and televisions.

As a result, many people have cancelled their cable subscriptions and simply use Netflix to fill their entertainment needs. The choice between Netflix and traditional cable comes down to a choice between affordability and variety.

In a simple choice of pricing, Netflix is the clear winner. Unlimited Netflix streaming costs $7.99 per month. In contrast, a basic family cable package costs approximately $80 for a month. This astronomical price difference does not even include options like a DVR or premium channels such as HBO, Starz or Showtime.

Content is another area where the two compete. Netflix currently carries approximately 20,000 TV episodes and 3,000 movies. However, their content is regularly changing based on streaming rights and availability. The resulting variety in quality can be downright bewildering.Movies such as "Pulp Fiction" and "Lost in Translation" can be found next to "Robsessed" and "Gigli".

Their TV show offerings also vary from critical darlings , such as "30 Rock" and "Mad Men" to "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding."

There is variety but some of the content is downright unwatchable. It also lacks some critical shows and channels, such as "ER", the most Emmy award winning show, and content from HBO.

Cable, on the other hand, offers hundreds of channels and is the source of the constantly rotating content that later finds itself on Netflix. There are always new options and On Demand and DVR allow the flexible viewing of Netflix.

They also have their share of irritations. While cable TV shows have seemingly endless commercials, Netflix has an annoying survey that asks for reviews of recently watched shows. Commercials can be muted or fast-forwarded through but Netflix can overwhelm with constant recommendations and surveys.

Finally, one of the biggest issues with Netflix is one of its seeming perks: It is easy to watch episode after episode of a show over a single weekend but TV was meant to be spread out. It is timed to have cliffhangers and suspenseful moments to leave audiences thinking and talking instead of immediately hitting 'play' for the next episode. TV teaches audiences patience; Netflix feeds instant gratification.

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