Recently a new channel from Channel 5 launched on Freesat called Spike. It’s a stupid name for a TV channel, however television executives live on a different planet to the rest of us so I’ll let that one go.
The only thing I can see worth watching on Spike is Breaking Bad. I’d heard of the programme (who hasn’t?) but other than a vague idea of what it was about I’d never seen it, didn’t know who was in it, or have any idea of the plot other than the basic “dying man makes drugs” idea behind it.
So I decided to watch it!
The first (pilot) episode was border line ridiculous, however I can understand that a US pilot needs to cover a lot of ground in order to secure a series so that’s something else I’ll let go. Watching the next few episodes I thought to myself “Yes, I can see why people like this show. It’s slightly barking mad, but enjoyable nonetheless”.
(Don’t worry, I’ll get to Netflix in a moment.)
Spike are showing Breaking Bad every week night so I set a series record on my Freesat Freetime box so that I could watch it a few episodes at a time.
That plan worked well initially. Having watched the first couple of episodes and then a few days later another few, a week past by when I was too busy to watch any more. Meanwhile, season 1 of the show had finished to be immediately followed by season 2.
That’s where the problems start.
For some reason, Spike are using a different programme ID for each season of Breaking Bad so that means that once you get to the end of one, you need to reset the recording for the next. Unfortunately once I realised that was happening, season 2 had got to episode 6 on Spike and, even with the help of Demand 5 it was too late to catch up on the episodes that my STB hadn’t recorded.
I then came up with a plan! I thought I could use a free trial of either Amazon Prime or Netflix to catch up with the 5 episodes I was missing and then cancel the service before they charged me. Seemed like a perfect plan!
I decided on Netflix because my Apple TV has a Netflix app. It doesn’t have an Amazon Prime app and although I could use my iPad and stream that way, I want an easy life so I can watch my Apple TV hooked up to my TV in my lounge and my surround sound speakers and not have to worry about using the iPad as well.
So I sat down to start season 2 of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Bear in mind at this point that Spike (the stupidly named TV channel) is standard definition on Freesat (no idea if they have HD available but if they do I expect it’s on $ky only). I also suspect that it’s a low bitrate standard definition. I say this because as soon as I started streaming Breaking Bad in HD via Netflix I was blown away by the picture quality. It’s almost as if I’d watched the whole of season 1 through a sheet of gauze.
So now I’ve changed my plan.
I’m going to stick with Netflix, even when they start charging me. It’s only £6.99 a month, which seems pretty fair to me (I doubt I’d feel the same if it was over £10) and there’s at least one other show I’m interested in watching: House of Cards (doubt it’ll be as good as the BBC original, but you never know).
I also like how the Netflix app on my Apple TV shows a tick by the episodes of a series I’ve already watched – nice touch.
So, Netflix has got me! Their free trial worked. I like the service and, for now at least, I’m going to stick with it.
Before you ask, that doesn’t mean I’ve had a re-think over pay TV and I won’t be giving money to $ky / News International any time soon. I have standards, you know!