A lot of readers appreciated the recent Netflix column on strategies for finding content on the site.
But they still had questions and comments and wrote in with their own suggestions about what to watch. Keep it coming.
Question: I've been following your articles about cord-cutting, as I'm getting close to doing that myself.
You mentioned the "instant queue" in your Netflix article - which sounded great to me, because I hate the Netflix interface. However, you set me up, Barry. There is no instant queue in Canada!
Once again, the Canadian version of Netflix is a poor stepchild to the U.S. version.
-Keith, via email
Answer: Keith and I exchanged a couple of emails on this topic. The instant queue is the ability through Netflix to create and save a list of titles for later viewing.
Keith pointed out he could not enable the queue on his Xbox 360, Windows PC, or iPad mini. He also could not find it on a Roku he set up for a friend. I also don't have it on my Xbox, but do have it on Windows 8, the PlayStation 3, the most recent version of Android and Windows Phone. I've read of similar confusion online for other users, but I couldn't tell you why the queue works for some and not for others. You might have to write down what you want to watch the old fashioned way.
Question: I am curious how a streaming video system would work on my laptop equipped with wifi. There are some issues with delayed sound on some movies, so I tried it directly on my wired computer. No problem there. I have a 15MB connection with Telus but I was notified that the download limit will be 150 GB per month, starting this month.
I have watched two movies so far which I recommend: 1) Water for Elephants; 2) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - both very watchable movies.
What I don't like with Netflix is their policy of not making some movies available here in Canada, which are showing in the U.S. And when I used their online chat support feature, I was connected to someone in Nevada. Instead of here, locally or at least in Canada.
-Mike, via email
Answer: Your letter nicely raises a couple of issues to be aware of. First, a direct wired connection always works better than a wireless signal, especially for video streaming services like Netflix. A direct connection is faster and more reliable compared to wireless, which is subject to interference from all the other radio signals, including microwaves, cordless phones and baby monitors, that are a part of modern life. If you live in an apartment building, the wifi signals of your neighbours could also affect yours.
Second, video streaming is one of the most data intensive activities you can do online. Netflix estimates one hour of its "best quality" streaming eats up one GB of data per hour and more than twice that for its top high definition stream. Watching a two-hour movie can eat up two to five GB of data, so you should be mindful of how much you watch, especially with multiple family members who might be heavy screentime users. Fortunately, Netflix allows you to set the quality of streaming to limit data usage, and Telus can tell you how much of your monthly plan you've used before you go over.
As far as Netflix "withholding" movies from Canadians, as I noted in a recent column it's not a policy. Netflix simply has not purchased the rights to stream that content to Canadians. That costs money and such rights are not always available. And yes, Netflix is an American company, although it is now available in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the U.K., and Scandinavia.
Question: I have had Netflix for over a year, and have been frustrated by not knowing what is good to watch, and I wonder how many more of your readers have the same problem. Your suggestions were of interest, and I will now be watching What's new on Netflix Canada regularly.
Good ones (oldies) that I can recommend are: True Grit, Crazy Heart, A Serious Man, Mona Lisa Smile, Winter's Bone, The Notebook, Fargo, Sleeping With the Enemy, Top Gear, and Original Sin.
- Gary, via email
Answer: Those are excellent suggestions and I have one to add to close this column: House of Cards. An original TV series commissioned by Netflix and available nowhere else, it's a highly enjoyable tale of revenge, power and sin among the political elite in Washington D.C. It's the most popular title on Netflix right now.
Barry Link is editor of the Vancouver Courier newspaper and a geek enthusiast. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @ trueblinkit.