Is Netflix gift-worthy?
October 28, 2011 4:56 AM   Subscribe

I want to buy someone a Blu-Ray player that streams Netflix. Should I bother?

That is, with all the problems Netflix has been having, is it likely to be around for at least the next year or two? While I'm at it, is there a competing service I should consider (streaming movies to a TV)?
posted by Buffaload to Computers & Internet (29 answers total)
Do you need a blu-ray player? - If not, get a roku box, its cheaper, streams netflix/amazon VOD (free if you have Amazon Prime)/hulu plus, and many others. Lots of free content too.

I decided against a blue ray as i can stream HD, and have no need to purchase blu-ray dvd's.
posted by fozzie33 at 4:58 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

and regardless of netflix's troubles, they'll be around for a while... they are trying to get rid of their DVD business, as the future is in streaming... yes, some PR blunders, but they are the best at the moment in the business...
posted by fozzie33 at 5:00 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

Netflix will be just fine and while there's lots of streaming HD options out there, Blu-Ray offers a higher-quality picture overall. I've compared my Star Trek blu-rays to the streaming option on Netflix and I'll pick the discs every time.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:01 AM on October 28, 2011

I do think I want a Blu-Ray. This is a gift for my sister whose DVD player broke and she's now borrowing an even crappier one (she has toddlers -- DVD player is important survival gear). She and her husband have been considering a Netflix subscription anyway. Otherwise Roku box is a good idea. I wonder if there's a Blu Ray player that has Netflix and Amazon VOD or perhaps another service I don't know about (Blockbuster?).
posted by Buffaload at 5:06 AM on October 28, 2011

These Internet-enabled Blu-Ray players don't just stream Netflix, they run media apps. When The Next Big Thing in home media comes around, it will be released as an app for Internet-enabled Blu-Rays and TVs. Whether or not the Blu-Ray player you buy today will have that is a completely unanswerable question, so go ahead and buy it.
posted by coryinabox at 5:12 AM on October 28, 2011

Reasonable price, includes all the major streamers... if you are in the spending mood, include a 1 year subscription to netflix streaming, or amazon prime membership
posted by fozzie33 at 5:14 AM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I bought a Blu-Ray with NF streaming last year. It's great--and I would hasten to add that I stream Netflix and watch video files off of thumb drives much, much more than watching Blu-Rays. Like, I've watched maybe 2 BR movies in the past year and 300+ hours of NF and AVIs.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:20 AM on October 28, 2011

Blu-Ray will become an obsolete format before Netflix goes away.
posted by dgeiser13 at 5:25 AM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

I bought a Blu-Ray player really cheap and it streams Netflix as well as has a USB port for other applications.
posted by xingcat at 5:32 AM on October 28, 2011

I'm a huge supporter of using a PS3 to play Blu-Rays and to stream just about any damn thing I can think of.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:35 AM on October 28, 2011

Oh, and Hulu Plus is a great service, as far as NetFlix-type streaming services go.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:36 AM on October 28, 2011

i have not checked the selection myself, but i have been told that netflix's streaming selection for children's programming is fantastic. if it is good enough there may be no need to play physical media.
posted by phil at 6:29 AM on October 28, 2011

We got my parents and my sister/brother-in-law the older version of this LG model last year. They were very pleased with it. Also serves as a youtube/hulu (and bunch of other services)/media server viewer:
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:34 AM on October 28, 2011

I'm seconding the PS3; it can do Netflix and Hulu (unfortunately, not Amazon yet) and basic video file streaming off a computer or flash drive. Contrary to what a lot of people say, the difference between Blu-Ray and DVD on a good television is clear as day.
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on October 28, 2011

(er, Hulu Plus, not Hulu.)
posted by griphus at 6:35 AM on October 28, 2011

Thirding the notion that a PS3 would be a terrific gift, assuming a) it's in your budget and b) your target has any interest in videogames. (There are a lot of inexpensive casual games available for download through the PlayStation Network that are really fun, especially in groups of four people.) It's an excellent Blu-ray player, has Netflix on board, does a great job with DVDs, can be used as a streaming appliance, etc etc etc.
posted by Joey Bagels at 6:59 AM on October 28, 2011

(she has toddlers -- DVD player is important survival gear)

I would totally go with Roku/Netflix over DVDs for kids. My son has been able to navigate the Roku himself since he was three. Tons of options, and you don't have to deal with the disks (paying for them, having them get ruined).
posted by anastasiav at 7:00 AM on October 28, 2011

Another vote for Blu-Ray. Does Netflix, Hulu, and if you pony up a few extra bucks for Play-On it does just about everything you could ever want.
posted by jbickers at 7:03 AM on October 28, 2011

doh. meant PS3, not Blu-Ray.
posted by jbickers at 7:04 AM on October 28, 2011

I have a Blu-Ray player that I use primarily for Netflix streaming. Sadly it does not have Hulu integration; if I were going to buy one today I would get one that does Hulu too. I think Netflix is 1) still totally worth it and 2) going to be around in the long term - their recent problems seem to me like they're mostly because they're looking ahead faster than a lot of their customers are, and I guess being more obvious than people would like about their intention to get out of the DVD-mailing game.
posted by mskyle at 8:23 AM on October 28, 2011

I'm about to do the same and have been obsessively reading reviews. The Panasonic seems to be tops if you don't require features like "3D".
posted by The Bellman at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2011

Uh, strike that, this version seems to have 3D as well.
posted by The Bellman at 8:53 AM on October 28, 2011

I have a Samsung Blu-Ray player, not sure of the model, and use it all the time for Netflix. It also provides easy access to YouTube, Pandora, and Blockbuster (use the first two all the time as well, but never Blockbuster). Love it!
posted by tr33hggr at 10:55 AM on October 28, 2011

I have a hard time imagining anybody getting a significant advantage on Netflix on the streaming front, and that's where the real business is going to be over the next five years. I've been a streaming-only customer from the moment they introduced the option, and I have no shortage of great things to watch. The whole PR kerfuffle pretty much came from Netflix misjudging the American consumer's attachment to physical media, and once TV-streaming becomes more popular this whole mess will be forgotten.

If you're looking for hardware recommendations, I got a wifi-capable Sony BDP-S570 Blu-Ray player for Christmas last year, and it's served me quite well. I think Sony's actually lowered the price on it in preparation for this year's models.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:11 AM on October 28, 2011

I'm not as sanguine about Netflix's long-term future as they seem intent on killing the one advantage they really have over any potential competitors -- their crack DVD distribution network -- in favor of a commodity item -- content streaming. They only have a half-hearted first-to-market advantage here and they are already finding it's expensive to buy exclusivity and cheap for their partners to switch or go independent. We'll see how that goes, but they are likely to be around in one form or another.

The main thing you want is a flexible player that lets you access multiple streaming providers. I can get Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix as well as a handful of never-heard-of-'ems via my low-end Sony box, and that's likely going to cover pretty much anything I'd really want to get. But if something new comes along, I have to wait for them to partner with Sony before I get access.

Personally, I can't wait until we get something iPad/Android like as a TV-device operating system, but right now the manufacturers have significant control and lock-in.
posted by dhartung at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2011

Cowboom (Best Buy) has refurbished Insignia players with wifi and Netflix for less than $50.
posted by poopdbq at 2:27 PM on October 28, 2011

Note: Sony has a poor track record of updating their players; that is, don't expect a firmware update to grant you access to new digital media sources, even if their newer players have those new sources.
posted by davejay at 3:23 PM on October 28, 2011

We have a Panasonic bluray player, a Tivo and a Wii.

Streaming Netflix on the bluray player is VERY painful of the three. It also seems to stream in a lower quality mode than our Tivo.
posted by cowmix at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2011

I have an LG BD-670 Blu-Ray player. It is brilliant. Wireless and wired internet streaming from all the major providers (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu+, Vudu, Pandora, Napster etc.). It is a painless and fast way to view streamed movies and TV - I watch way less cable than I used to. The blu-ray player is really good - it's rated as 3D, but I chose this one as it supports media streaming from a PC using DLNA - so you can steam media from your PC to the TV via the Blu-Ray player (with the software supplied with the player). The software gets updated frequently, so LG are really supporting the player. It even has a USB connector on the front, so you can watch videos from a flash drive or hard drive. It plays just about anything - AVI. MOV, MKV, etc. I have had this player for nine months now and I have nothing bad to say about it. I love it!
posted by Susurration at 7:35 PM on October 28, 2011

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