Netflix announced today that they are going to be offering a $99 set top box that will allow subscribers to stream movies to their TVs. This seems like the classic, bad implementation of a good idea.
First, the streaming movie selection is very poor. Almost all the movies are at least 5 years old.
Second, there’s no hard drive, which means that the stream can get interrupted, downloads can be slow, and buffering can be problematic.
Third, it’s a uni-tasker; all it is capable of is streaming Netflix videos. Compare that to the Apple TV box or even TiVo which do a multitude of functions and suddenly the Netflix box doesn’t look so good.
One of the other things Netflixed rushed and was unable to really fully develop is their recommender system. It was (is) so bad that I rarely find it useful. The failure of recommender systems in general has not dissuaded almost every company from implementing one. Would you be surprised if I told you that libraries are lining up to implement them too? That article reads like something from 6 years ago, to be frank. Maybe one day we’ll see a recommender system that really works, but I don’t think that going back in time 6 years is the right way.
Maybe one day the kids of the future will read recommended titles on their e-book computer that they bought for $75. I actually do like this device. It has a touch screen that can be converted from laptop format to book format. I like it.
Anyway, baby is crying. I have to run, more tomorrow.