Netflix is trying to crack down on password sharing, and this is angering a lot of people, the same way that pouring salt on leeches makes them mad and disengage from the tasty, nourishing host.
Before we go on, I should note that there is a perfectly legitimate reason to share your network password with someone who lives in another house in a different city. That's not leeching. As we'll see, these innocent people will be hit hard by the new rules. But there's good news, too.
So, what's the deal?
People share passwords with friends, who share them with other friends. That's the problem. Netflix never liked it, but for a while everything was going great — they ruled the streaming world and had billions to spend on programs like ... well, like that one show that was pretty cool. No wait, that was on Amazon. Well, you know the one.
Now they want to crack down and get more people to pay, which is reasonable. There's competition now. We finally have the world we wanted when there was only cable — instead of paying a fat sheaf of greenbacks for channels we didn't want, we can pick and choose.
It's great! And we hate it. We end up with streaming services we want to cancel, but don't because ...
A) It has that one show you started to watch and liked but then forgot about and you should really get back to it after you finish the other series on the other streaming service that has that show you've been meaning to start.
B) It's just such an effort to cancel. You have to do something. Odd, isn't it? You can whisper "I need toilet paper" in earshot of an internet-connected device, and for seven days your social media sites are full of ads with Charmin bears capering in the woods to have a happy chap-free ursine movement. But shout "Cancel Hulu" at the top of your lungs and every smart device, from Echo to TV to Siri to your phone, will suddenly be very busy doing something else. Didn't hear you chief, sorry.
I've seen ads for a new service, MGM Plus. It's Epix, rebranded. I guess that was the cable channel you bought when you'd watched absolutely everything on Starz. And Starz existed so the cable company could throw you a few months of something "premium" for signing up, which is like the clerk throwing an ounce of generic bologna in the grocery bag to thank you for shopping at Cub.
You know MGM Plus will yank their movies from the other streaming services. Sign up! We have James Bond!
That's OK. I have the DVDs.
But they're not remastered 4K versions!
If this means I won't see Roger Moore's individual eyelashes in high-def, it's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make.
We'll take Tom and Jerry cartoons away! You'll never see them again!
And so I shall stagger on through life, bloody but unbowed. If I never see a mouse jab a cat in the keister with a hatpin it'll be sad, but all things must end.
We have original series!
Really? Let me guess: "The Prince of Murder Island," starring that one guy from that show in a new series that's like that other show except on an island? And maybe a true-crime documentary about a serial killer who targeted Denny's managers in a 15-year spree that stumped investigators and features lots of drone shots over empty landscapes, set to haunting music that sounds like AI composed the score for a Ken Burns documentary about low blood sugar?
We also have all your old favorite series from long ago! And we're going to pull them off the streaming services you have!
Or do you mean "I Love Father Knows Best the Courtship of Eddie's A-Team RFD"? Be my guest.
Anyway. Back to the new Netflix rule. You have to connect your device to the WiFi network on the account every 31 days, or it identifies you as a leech and kicks you out. I think it's an absolutely marvelous idea.
Why? You'll be able to see your college kids more. They'll have to come home for a visit, just to keep their Netflix privileges.
Wait a minute, you say — they'd have to travel a great distance, once a month? Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy them a new account or, perish the thought, let them decide if they want to pay for it themselves? True.
But sometimes money isn't the only thing. Tote up all your streaming accounts. If you cancel everything except Netflix, the cost of a plane ticket might even out. I'd be willing to give up a lot to see Daughter more.
I might hang on to Hulu, though. It has that one show with that guy. Seven seasons to go. I'll get back to it any day now.
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