Reasons Why I Renewed my Netflix (PH) Subscription
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Showbox, a rogue app primarily for Android devices that collects links to most user-uploaded, US and some British movies and TV series, allowing access to thousands of media content for the low, low, price of NOTHING. While the linked sources are probably of questionable origins, the app itself is legit, albeit not currently being offered on the Google Play Store (thus the “rogue” categorization). To quote a friend from the US who would not touch the app with a ten-foot pole, “It is possible to have a legal app with illegal content”, and although I’m not going to be checking nor referencing the Philippine Constitution anytime soon, I decided to give legitimate sources the good old college try. Let’s just say that I did it for good karma, to give a little something back.
Also, I wanted to catch the series revival of one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was a Netflix Thanksgiving feature, and four episodes and six non-stop hours of the fast-talking mother-daughter pair was too much to resist. I decided to sign up for the on-demand streaming media service’s one-month trial.
In the Philippines, Netflix has three types of subscription plans, as follows:
- The Basic plan, which allows subscribers to have Netflix accounts streaming in one device at a time. This option does not offer either HD or Ultra HD content, although it does have the same listings as other higher-type plans. The Basic Plan comes with the price tag of P370.00 a month, which is actually a bit higher that what I used to pay for my HD cable service with Cignal.
- The Standard plan, which has the option to stream HD movies, and allows users to run the same Netflix account in two devices concurrently. Just like the Basic plan, Standard lets users access all available content anytime. For the extra device and HD capability, this plans goes for an additional P90 per month, at P460.00.
- The Premium package has all the goodies Netflix PH has to offer, again for an additional P90-top-up to the Standard plan, at P550.00 a month. For this, subscribers have the option to stream in Ultra HD and HD, as well as use the same account in 4 different devices at the same time.
There is no lock-in period for any of these plans, which means that users can cancel their subscription at any time. For the Standard and Premium plans, there is a disclaimer that HD and Ultra HD is not available for all content, and accessibility may depend on the users’ internet service and device capabilities, which is understandable.
So on November 24, a day before A Year in the Life was released, I signed up for the Standard plan, with its first-month-free trial promo. It was the logical choice for me, just because I have two TVs at home, both set up with Chromecast devices. I usually watch TV in my bedroom, and the nanny uses the one in the living room. If she feels like firing up a rom-com, or one of my daughter’s kiddie shows in the living room, I can still get connected hassle-free. I also like the HD option, since HD movies looks amazing in my TV. I really don’t mind paying the extra P90 for the extra portability and quality.
One month later, and I am fully hooked (that month-long trial is a brilliant idea). In this article, I list the reasons why I have decided to eat the words in my old post, and subscribe to streaming giant Netflix (PH version).
- The Netflix Original Series are absolutely spectacular. I don’t think I need to explain more, but if I did, I would go beyond the obvious choices such as Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black and Jessica Jones. I would talk about not too-well known listings, such as Better Call Saul, the phenomenal spin-off and prequel to Breaking Bad, which tells the story of Saul Goodman, private attorney and sociopath extraordinaire, or Narcos, the fast-based, controversial series based on the life of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. I also particularly enjoy that strange new show The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a dark-ish situational comedy about the life of Kimmy, a woman who was kidnapped in her teens and held in a dungeon for 15 years, coming out into the world again in her thirties, and living in New York on her own for the first time. There’s nothing like the fresh eyes of someone who literally lived under a rock for more than a decade to showcase the current generations’ absurdities. Ellie Kemper, who plays Kimmy in the series, is simply brilliant in the role, and so is the rest of the quirky ensemble of social misfits. Check out this funny “music video” created by one of the main characters:
Some of my other favorites are not even American shows. Glitch, an Australian-produced paranormal series about the dead suddenly returning to life in full non-zombie form for some unknown reason, takes creepy to the next level, and 3%, a Brazilian thriller about futuristic, dystopian Earth, is very reminiscent of Elysium, only slightly more morbid. Of course, there’s also Black Mirror, a British sci-fi anthology I wrote about last week. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon among the original listings, and although I have not checked out an episode, reviews look to be promising, so that is definitely next on my list.
There is no shortage of new original series, even in the very abridged local version of Netflix, but there is also a good selection of syndicated shows, which is my next reason.
- As far as vintage shows are concerned, Netflix PH also has quite a few of my old favorites. Of course the complete seasons of Gilmore Girls are on-demand, and so are all five seasons of Breaking Bad, completed Dexter, House, Sons of Anarchy, That ‘70s Show, and even the ultimate feel-good 90s series Friends. There are also new shows with the latest completed seasons. I’m currently going through episodes in the second season of Jane the Virgin, the funny story of a single mother who got impregnated through artificial insemination while she was still a virgin, told in a telenovela-like format, complete with a quirky narrator with a Spanish accent. I also watch 12 Monkeys, a sci-fi series based on the 90s Brad Pitt movie, Elementary, a millennial take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s super-sleuth Sherlock Holmes books, and Rosemary’s Baby based on the classic 1968 film.
- The user profile options are very convenient. A single account can have multiple user profiles, each one programmed to showcase or “suggest” shows based on previously-set preferences. My profile has my favorite shows on my list, while my daughter’s has her own kiddie shows. Speaking of kiddie shows, the Netflix selection for kids of all ages is quite extensive. My 1-year-old loves her Peppa Pig installments, as well as this show about baby animals in diapers called Word Party. Strangely enough, her favorite one is called The Wiggles, an Australian musical for kids where the performers are three middle-aged men and a lady in a red wig.
- Finally, one of the biggest reasons I renewed my subscription goes beyond content. The app integrates perfectly with my Chromecast tools. It is one of the apps fully-supported by Google Home across iOS, Android, and even Windows platforms. This means that I don’t have to mirror my entire phone’s contents to cast Netflix to my TVs. A simple click of the Chromecast button on the app allows me to play shows outside of my devices and into the TVs, which means I can use my phone or tablet’s other functions while my shows are playing. This also means that when I finally purchase a Google Home speaker, I can program commands such as “Ok, Google, laungh Netflix and play Designated Survivor now”. Very cool.
While Netflix PH still lags behind its US counterpart in terms of its library of content, there is enough there right now to keep me entertained while I wait for it to catch up. Otherwise, I can use various VPN services to access the full American listings. Meanwhile, I have already paid for the second month of service, and look forward to enjoying TV series and movies on demand.
The full list of Netflix Philippines shows can be found here.
Do you use Netflix? What are your favorite shows? Tell me about your experience in the Comments section below.