Monday, January 4, 2010

Netflix is the bane of my existence

Random fact of the day: If I hadn't majored in English, I think I would have gone for psychology. Or sociology. I'm watching Mad Men right now and it's just fascinating from an anthropological standpoint.

Hearing Aids: I'm trying to write Netflix a letter. The Mad Men amazingness aside, Netflix fails to deliver when it comes to their instant watch content (meaning you can opt to watch shows/movies from Netflix on your TV or PC). I tried to watch an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8, but alas, no subtitles. I thought that was weird, so I checked their FAQ page. This is all they have to offer:

"The technologies we use for streaming do not yet adequately support closed captions, and most viewers object to permanently visible open captions, which they cannot turn off, burned into the video stream for English-language content. We are working on delivering closed captions or optional subtitles in a future technology update, probably first for PCs and Macs, probably sometime in 2010..."

I have so many points to make. Let's delve right in.

1) I will begrudgingly give points for maybe, probably, adding subtitles, maybe, probably in 2010. They have 12 months to redeem themselves.

2) That aside, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

2a) While I'm the first to admit I know nothing about video and streaming and technology, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the notion that their streaming technology (which, from the 8 seconds I saw, seemed to be superior to other sites like Hulu or individual networks' sites) doesn't support subtitles. I mean, really? In this day and age of technological advancement, you can't find SOME way to make it work? Highly suspect. HIGHLY.

2b) "Most viewers object to permanently visible open captions..." How do they know? Did they run a poll? I'd like to see numbers because I can't believe that the number of: young D/deaf and hard of hearing adults, older adults who are slowly losing their hearing, people who are trying to learn English, people who are visual learners or people who just plain like subtitles because they find they pick up more with them than without really rival the number of people who steadfastly REFUSE to watch something with subtitles on them. REALLY?

2c) "Most viewers object to permanently visible open captions..." That's what they said. This is what I read: "'Most' of our viewers are far more important to us than 'all' of our viewers. We don't care about you, but we're more than happy to provide subtitles for our foreign language films so that our hearing customers can understand them. We're freakishly xenophobic and don't want our hard of hearing customers to enjoy domestic films. Also, we're scared of hearing aids."

2d) And finally, even if having subtitles "permanently" burned onto the show/movie does change the viewing experience for hearing customers... well, how can I put this politely? Buck up. :) I put up with so much day in and day out, missing information left and right, wondering if I'll ever go anywhere else in my job because I can't always hear what's going on around me, watching my social circle shrink because I (and others) find it difficult to communicate, choosing to not ask "What" all the time so that I don't bother YOU... all the while struggling to rise above it gracefully (and usually failing). I mean, the least you could give me is subtitles when I would just like to escape into an episode of Lost for an hour to get away from the exhausting realities of my world. Because with subtitles, you don't lose anything and you actually gain something. Without them, I lose everything.

Oddly enough, I can't find an email address for Netflix and I hate using the phone (plus I think I might end up yelling on the phone - or I'd chicken out and be too nice and say things like I'm sure you're doing the best you can and you're awesome and thanks for even taking my call - and that would not be in anyone's best interests). So I think I might send them a letter via certified mail. I was thinking that might be better because maybe then I could get other people's signatures on the letter so the Netflix powers that be would know that I'm not the only one who's not happy with their unfair practices.

I also need to send ABC an email because I often can't watch Scrubs because the captioning is messed up (and I've checked it out enough to know that it's an ABC problem and not something wrong with my TV). Only thing I don't know is if it's an ABC thing, my local affiliate thing or a Scrubs thing. I'd like to find out soon, though, because my beloved Lost comes back for its final season Feb. 2 and I do not plan to miss a minute of it.

Disney also deserves an email (and an ass kicking) for not providing subtitles on "Up" rentals. NOT COOL and yet another "We don't care about you" message. That's really not the message I'd expect from the warm and fuzzy family corporation.

In other news: Weight loss. Ugh. Problem: I like food. Problem: It's too freaking COLD to do anything other than huddle on my couch underneath lots of blankets. I have got to figure out a way to incorporate some exercise into my routine. I should probably watch less of That '70s Show and do more Wii stuff... I'm always surprised at how Wii tennis can get my heart rate up!

Anywhoozzle (I'm gangsta like that, yo), I'm off to wrap up an episode of Mad Men and watch (500) Days of Summer before calling it a night. And oh you betcha I'm going to use the heck out of my Netflix two-week trial (which I signed up for BEFORE discovering their ADA FAIL) before NOT picking up a regular subscription. (I know, I know, what do they care about losing one two-week trial. But it's a matter of principle. And you know, if other people did the same thing, maybe Netflix would start to get the message. Hint, hint)

Gosh, this was long. Night all!

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