Normally I would be writing to tell you that I love your service. The fact that I can get a DVD in two days, right into my mailbox, has revolutionized the way I watch movies. Speedy service, a good selection and a reasonable and multi-leveled pricing structure has made you extremely popular. Why then Netflix, do you insist on sending me complete crap, bullshit, ad-filled DVDs?!?! Don’t try and weasel out of it either and say that you just provide what you get from the movie studios, because we both know that’s a cop-out. You purchase the DVDs that you rent. You have a choice as to the DVDs you provide your customers. You chose to, instead of buying normal retail DVDs, with features, languages, commentary tracks, etc, you bought “rental” DVDs, with gray disks, unskippable ads, no menus and only the movie on the disk, in pre-determined languages and aspect ratios.
Netflix, I am truly disappointed in you. I’m also truly disappointed in the movie studios for even peddling such absolute crap. I rented “The Informant” and “Where the Wild Things Are” this past weekend. Both movies automatically started playing when I put them in my DVD played. Both movies had 10-15 minutes of ads and previews that I couldn’t skip, built into the disk. Then the feature started and I had no controls. I had to stop The Informant half way through and shut off the DVD player to do something else, and when I came back to it later and tried to select the scene where I left off from the menu except there wasn’t any menu. I had to hit play, watch the fucking ads all over again, and then fast forward to where I was. DVDs ARE NOT FUCKING VHS TAPES!
I know why you did it Netflix, you’re trying to save a buck. Aren’t we all? I’m trying to save money by going to the movie theater less, and renting more. Apparently, my choice to not see 30 minutes of ads before a theater movie means that I get to see all those awesome ads at home instead. How about this for a change. I don’t want to see them. At all. Ever. Fuck you.
Also, since you’re only partially to blame, I’d like to include a nice “Fuck you too!” to Warner Brothers and Sony Entertainment. If I find out that you’re distributing a movie, I won’t rent it. If it’s something I really want to see, I’ll bootleg it. There, I said it. Let’s put all our cards on the table. I would rather download a movie, or rip it myself, than watch 15 minutes of your ads. That’s where we’ve come to in our relationship.
I don’t mind if Warner and Sony include ads or previews on the disk, that’s fine, that’s their choice. That’s not my complaint. They’re trying to cross market with other things. I get that. Unfortunately, by making them unskippable, you’ve gone too far. Never, ever, lock out a feature of my DVD player again. If you continue to do this, I’ll actually take the time to rip just the movie alone off the disk and reburn it myself.
So, Netflix, since you don’t have an email option on your website for your customer service department, and because sitting on hold for a representative is actually taking longer than it has to write this, I’m going to publish this on my website. I hope other people see it and also tell you that using these DVDs is unacceptable. If I get gray colored DVDs with the word “rental” stamped on them again, I’m going to return them and tell you that there was a problem with the disk, that it didn’t play correctly, that it’s BROKEN, because it is.
I think it’s because they’re special rental discs that are available to video rental stores before the mass market purchasable discs. Or at least, that’s the way it used to work with video stores, and I imagine Netflix works the same way. So they buy the rental discs in bulk in order to get them early, and have no reason to replace them with the fewer-ad consumer discs later.
Making the ads un-skippable is up to the DVD publisher, and is a really really really horrible thing to do. It just makes me more likely to rip the disc so I can skip that crap. Cue the infographic: http://i.imgur.com/GxzeV.jpg
And from what I’ve heard, BluRay is even worse.