My insights into my own home entertainment consumption have shown me that I have previously been “lost but now am found”, to quote the lyrics of a well-known hymn. What I watch on the biggish screen in my home is neither grand or particularly worthy. I chewed through 15 years of Pay TV, like it was a family sized box of Krispy Krème Doughnuts, light on insight and heavy on the calories of life.  Television has always been an escape from real life in my household, as it was in the family home where I grew up. We did watch the ABC, my folks made me watch it (which was why I always did well at social studies at school); but sitting in front of millions of flickering dots of light upon a screen, seeing stories played out, was what it was really all about. This is my Netflix vs Foxtel home entertainment consumer journey.

An Early Addiction to Pay TV

Economic forces propelled me to curtail my expensive pay TV habits and to seek out my escapist fix elsewhere. I could not go back to the sickening free to air network family, even if my aerial was able to pick it up in regional South Australia. The connection of the NBN in my area, allowed me to consider an online streaming service like Netflix. Unlimited data on my broadband service meant that home entertainment via the internet was now a possibility. Computers had always been a work tool in my life and not a portal for recreational media. Things were changing and I needed to research the offerings. I knew about Netflix from my kids, who primarily lived with their mum in a Foxtel free house. My brother, also, had Netflix, as his main home entertainment provider.

We Want to Gaze Upon the Entrails of Beasts

What we watch on TV is sometimes best left unexamined (with apologies to Socrates). The paedophile and serial killer filled stories on detective and cop shows, strewn across multiple channels from here to Beirut, are testimony to humanity’s depraved interests. Like the ancient Latin haruspex, we seem to want to gaze upon the entrails of beasts. Taking the temperature of a culture by inserting a thermometer in its rectum or reflecting upon our consumer journey, it’s a toss-up when it comes to home entertainment choices. Why do old ladies like reading vicious crime ‘who done its?’ Living vicariously through the lives of others, whilst tucked up safely in bed (is that a terrorist hiding under the bed?).

Netflix Feels Younger & Hipper

Turning on the ‘idiot box’ after a hard day’s work is all about relaxation. My shift from Foxtel’s pay TV package to Netflix’s online video streaming was a shift in device hardware, as well as dealing primarily with a new corporate entertainment provider. My TV/laptop set up is currently unwieldy and will require further refining for ease of use. Netflix feels more American and international than Foxtel, despite much of the media product everywhere being American. Netflix feels younger and, dare I say, hipper, than Foxtel. It seems much more a product of the digital age, despite digital being the technology that makes both corporations’ existence possible in the first place.

I No Longer Value the Foxtel Offerings

I feel economically liberated from my previously onerous monthly Foxtel bill. The cost has been a remote control that is blocked from most of its channels. Watching home entertainment is now more akin to visiting a website and clicking on potential programmes, which may or may not turn out to be a green light experience. It is more convoluted than just changing channels on a remote, when I reject a show. I do not feel the same level of ownership with Netflix that I felt with Foxtel, as a platinum package customer. However, I do not want to pay for the privilege of that package anymore, as I no longer value the offerings.

Robert Hamilton’s Consumer Journey: for more check out