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the take

New Netflix Set-Top Device Makes Us Wish for Monopolies

netflix player

Courtesy of Netflix


We guess we're excited about the announcement that Netflix is offering a $99 set-top device that will allow customers to watch streaming movies on their TVs. The Netflix Player supposedly works really well and is simple to use, and we do already have a Netflix account. All the same, though, the notion of yet another component attached to our TV just makes us depressed. First of all, are there any input jacks left on our TV, after plugging in a DVR and a video-game system and the DVD player and the VCR we still occasionally use? Second of all, another remote control? Kill us now.

It all leads us to ask: Why do people hate monopolies, again? We wish a monopoly would take over the video-on-demand business right now.

Think about it! If Time Warner, or Sony, or the federal government, just took over video on demand, we wouldn't have to decide between buying a Netflix Player or buying an Apple TV or using Time Warner's VOD system or waiting (for probably a week) for Sony to announce a way to stream movies through a PlayStation. We wouldn't have to deal with the fact that each one of these services offers different movies and shows, and that none of them offers all the movies and shows we actually want to see. If one company controlled the market, we could just buy an effing TV, plug it into the wall, and watch whatever the hell we want.

Sure, we understand that monopolies are bad when it's, whatever, the railroad system. But where, oh where, is the benevolent monopoly that could solve our TV-watching problems forever?

Netflix to Sell a Device for Instantly Watching Movies on TV Sets [NYT]
The Netflix Player [Official site]

Previously in monopolies: XM and Sirius: Hooray for Monopolies!