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11/21/2011

Like movies? In Mexico, keep waiting

I’m a movie buff so was I ever excited when Netflix announced in early September that it had rolled out service to Mexico. I’d seen Netflix at the homes of friends and relatives in the States and couldn’t believe the ease of the streaming movie service.

When I first checked their website right after the rollout I thought there must have been some early glitches.

All the familiar categories were there: Indie Movies, Musicals, Romantic Movies, Docs, Foreign Movies, Action, Horror, etc. But it seemed that there must have been only 150 movies available on the site, many of them several decades old.

Well, I just checked it again. No mistake. Talk about disappointment. 

Let me give you an example of what Netflix offers under Drama: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994), The Color of Money (1986), Amistad (1997), and Home Room (2003). Gosh, is this the Ancient Movie Channel?

Why thanks, Netflix! I always wanted to see those for a third time!

Under Documentaries, there is The Thin Blue Line (1988) and Michael Moore’s The Big One (1998).

Under Recently Added movies, Netflix digs deep into its dusty bins and comes up with The Italian Job (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Matt Damon in Rounders (1998) and the Australian movie Rabbit Proof Fence (2002).

What’s absurd is that many of these older movies are listed in several categories, diminishing further the choice. Granted, some are good movies but don’t bother to look for an obscure documentary you’ve wanted to see. Under TV, you won’t find The Wire or Mad Men. 

A broader issue underlies the Netflix matter for travellers: Don’t always carry preconceptions abroad when you see familiar brand names. Go to KFC in China and you will have a different (and probably better) experience than in the States. Same goes for Subway in Tokyo, where you can get an espresso made in an Italian machine. Pizza Hut in Central America is a cut above its cousins in the States. Starbucks is pretty consistently the same wherever I go. Then, there are the occasional duds – U.S. companies that can execute at home, but seem to coast abroad, offering a service that is a shadow of what it is on their home turf.

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Dave Palmer

Pizza Hut in Central America is way better than it is in the U.S. It's only a few steps removed from fine dining - which is what it should be, when you compare the prices to what people actually earn.

My wife and kids, who are from El Salvador, were shocked and horrified by the experience of going to Pizza Hut in the U.S. The quality of the dining experience just doesn't compare.

The same goes for Payless Shoes, which in El Salvador is considered to be a relatively prestigious place to buy footwear. When I was growing up in Chicago, other kids would make fun of me for having shoes from Payless (that is, the kids who didn't have shoes from Payless).

Then again, in spite of the overall dining experience, the Pizza Hut in Metrocentro in San Miguel is the only place in El Salvador I've ever gotten food poisoning. Go figure.

RachaelB

Then I guess I could say this is a great find for a couch potato. Which I am, Movies all through out the day.

Carol Wheeler

I use Strong vpn, too (the Tv thing that cabosur posts about sounds fascinating but maybe complicated). Anyway, just fyi,The US Netflix doesn't exactly overflow with significant documentaries, either. And, have you tried Amazon? Don't bother.

Tim J

Someone wrote an email to me with the following: "I live in Mexico.

I use a proxy (there are dozens available) which puts my IP in the US and I stream American Netflix ALL OF THE TIME!

In fact tonight I enjoyed Masterpiece Theatre, 39 Steps and The War of Three Kingdoms (Andy Lau)"

cabosur

A couple of workarounds work great for viewing those "blocked" US sites and let you feel "at home" when needed.

For out of country access to netflix, amazon, barnes& nobles, or any other US site requiring a US IP address, you want to use a VPN server located in the US. There are a number of good ones, strongvpn being an example.
For about $55/year, your traffic is routed thru their US servers and is reported as originating in a US location.

Works directly on smartphones and computers. If you want to connect your tv, you buy a compatable linux router or one preloaded with dd-wrt (see dd-wrt for details). Configure to your vpn account.
It all works seamless and with US billing (no exposing your Mexico credit card!).

If you just want TV, consider a SLING box. One time purchase.
You need a friend or home in the states that will add an extra cable or satellite box to their account (normally just a few dollars extra per month) and a strong internet connection to forward the video stream to any location in the world. You control the box thru your sling, and can watch all your favorite programs in real time along with your home town news.

superdry jackets

Why thanks, Netflix! I always wanted to see those for a third time!

Read more: http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/mexico/2011/11/like-movies-in-mexico-keep-waiting-.html#ixzz1ePvTdX6q

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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