Netflix Families

July 31, 2013

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This post is sponsored by Netflix. Netflix Families makes summer easier.


By Gabrielle.

We are in Colorado dealing with our storage unit and we still have dozens of decisions to make about our move. Should we bring both sofas? Or just one? Will that set of drawers fit in the boys’ bedroom? Or should we donate it? But one thing was decided before we even moved: we’re not getting cable. Instead, we’re going to stream our media. In France, we only streamed, so we got used to it, and it works so well for our family!

There are lots of services out there, but we’re using Netflix — and specifically Netflix Families. Here’s why:

1) Streaming is genius! Because there’s no wait time. You find the episode or movie you want to watch and it starts instantly. No finding something to occupy your time while the media downloads.

2) It works on the kids’ ipods, on the family ipad, on my laptop, on my phone — essentially, on every device we have. And in our family room, we can use stream Netflix directly to the family TV through our Wii.

Obviously, this works wonderfully for us at home, but it also works when we’re out and about. If we can connect to a good internet signal than we’re good to go. That means at hotels, at Grandma’s house, even in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, our kids can access their favorite shows. And they don’t have to prep their devices or download the programs ahead of time. Instant access!

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3) It’s really easy to set up. I get intimidated by some tech-y things, but the appeal of streaming was so great, that I didn’t even hesitate to try it. And I’m so glad I jumped right in, because it couldn’t be easier to use the Netflix streaming service. On cellphones and tablets, there’s a Netflix app. On laptops or desktop computers, you login directly at the main site.

4) It’s much more affordable than our previous cable bills. At $7.00 per month, a year’s worth of service costs less than taking our family to a movie. (Granted, we’re a big family, but still.) And Netflix Families is included with a monthly subscription — it’s not an add-on.

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5) Fifth, we really love the categories on Netflix Families. They have titles like Classics to Share With Your Kids (remember He-Man and Jem? (Truly outrageous!), and TV For Curious Kids, with nature and science offerings (Oscar loves these!). They have a Get Ready for Preschool section that is my go to for little June. There’s a Show Your Kids The World section full of programs about the coolest places on earth. They even have a Catch-Up TV for Busy Parents section that Ben Blair and I browse after the kids go to bed — it’s full of suggestions like Arrested Development and Breaking Bad (Ben’s favorite).

Tell me, Friends. Have you jumped on the streaming bandwagon yet? If you’re like me, once you try it, you’ll never go back.

P.S. — We’re staying at our cousins’ house here in Denver, and I snapped these pictures this morning. Betty is always our earliest riser! Netflix Families is perfect to keep her company until her siblings wake up — and eventually join her. I love seeing Oscar and Betty snuggled together!

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Betsy July 31, 2013 at 9:39 am

We love Netflix and couldn’t be happier with the service. We really like being able to access it anywhere we have internet. I hope that this business stays around for a long time.

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2 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

Same here!

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3 Carla July 31, 2013 at 9:39 am

We love Netflix! We have been subscribers for more than three years now. We travel a lot for sports tournaments and its great in hotels, in between games and for winding down at night. We use it at the cottage, at home, anywhere we can! LOL. The only downside is that for Canadians, the content is different. So while on a business trip to NJ, I got hooked on Call the Midwife – but its not available on Canadian Netflix :(

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4 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:19 am

The media rights from country to country absolutely boggle my mind. I didn’t realize until we moved to France that U.S. dvds don’t work in French dvd players (and vice versa). So irritating! But it’s one of the reasons we got into streaming, so there’s a happy ending.

I hope Call the Midwife comes to Canadian Netflix soon!

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5 Alisa July 31, 2013 at 3:54 pm

How did you get Netflix in France?

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6 sarah August 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm

call the midwife is free online at pbs.org right now…both seasons!

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7 Jody July 31, 2013 at 9:43 am

My family will never go back to cable! We dropped cable back in 2009 and haven’t missed it at all. Netflix is great! My family streams about 95% of our “tv time” from Netflix. We have also connected our older Mac Mini to our TV screen and can now stream directly from the broadcasters websites too (like ABC, NBC, FOX, CW).

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8 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

Sounds like you’re a wise early adopter!

I like the idea of connecting a computer to our family TV screen. It would be nice to be able to search the internet as a family when we’re having discussions.

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9 Leanne I July 31, 2013 at 9:55 am

You forgot my favorite part! No commercials for my 3 year old. That means I can have semi-peaceful grocery trips without her begging for crazy cereals.

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10 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:21 am

Oh my goodness, you’re so right! The no commercials is amazing. The best part for sure!

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11 Jennifer F. - American Mom in Bordeaux July 31, 2013 at 10:01 am

We love Netflix!! That’s how we watch most of our TV here in France – streamed on the laptops or TV. We do have French cable for local French fare – but Cable cost is so much more reasonable here in France than it was in the States. It’s so nice to have the choice between 2 languages in our house. Hope you are slowly settling in…moving, unpacking, reorganizing is a lot of work – but I’m sure there are many things that feel like “new” as you have not seen them or used them in a couple of years. Happy Summer and settling in!

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12 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:23 am

The moving! This feels like the most extended move ever. Once we have our belongings in Oakland next week, I think we’ll really be able to settle in. Looking forward to it! Thank you for the well wishes.

And I love your TV arrangement in France. Sounds like it’s working perfectly!

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13 gina July 31, 2013 at 11:44 am

I love the French documentaries!

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14 Erin July 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

We too love Netflix. We’ve been subscribing for about 3 years. We don’t have cable and have never wanted to spend the money for it- especially since the packages you are required to buy contain lots of programming we don’t want in our home, but Netflix gives us access to so many great programs (My husband and I have loved being able to stream all of our BBC favorites like MI5- before it came to PBS)! I will have to check out the Families option. We have the regular version and have to block quite a bit, but it has worked really well for us and we love watching shows commercial-free. We began by streaming it through the Wii, but now have Apple TV and it has been great!

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15 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 10:25 am

Agreed! And Netflix is creating excellent original content as well. I can’t believe how much the media industry has transformed over the last few years. Amazing.

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16 heidistitches July 31, 2013 at 10:35 am

We are a “no cable TV” household. When our cable bill started creeping up to $60 per month for basic, we got rid of it. Now all we do is stream. First it was Netflix (16.95/month) thru our Wii and we loved it. We just bought a Roku (so cheap!) and since I’m an Amazon Prime member ($80/year), I can now stream their catalog too. To top it off, I “splurged” on Hulu Plus ($7.95/month). Based on the plans I purchased, I figured the total monthly cost is less than $33 per month. We love it.

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17 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

I think $60 for cable is pretty typical. It’s so nice to have other options!

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18 Jackie July 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

I agree–we’re in almost the same setup. The only thing I miss from cable is sports–I do miss the hockey we used to watch and no longer can.

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19 Jessica July 31, 2013 at 10:44 am

We got rid of cable a few months back and swapped it for Netflix too. I’m hooked. The irony is that I think I watch more TV now than I used to. I think it’s more intentional choices though because I’m not mindlessly surfing.

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20 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 11:21 am

I know what you mean, Jessica. If I find an old TV series that is new to me and that I love, I’m tempted to watch 40 episodes in one sitting. Hah!

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21 mandi@herbanhomestead July 31, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Oh geez! Me too! I flew through Felicity! Ha!!!

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22 gina July 31, 2013 at 11:44 am

We had the same sensation when we bought our apple tv — and, now again recently, when made the jump to Netflix which I LOVE! I agree with everything you say and also look forward to your tips — I’m still learning my way around it. We rarely rarely watch network — the choice and flexibility makes it so much more flexible and on the mark. Thanks for sharing and good luck with everything you are undertaking! Just unpacking our suitcases from summer travel feels gigantic! … but, oh, what a beautiful house and coast you have in your future! Bon Courage!

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23 julia July 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

oh we love netflix! Haven’t had cable since we had kids (we get basic channels like public broadcasting and tv networks) My husband has an xbox so we stream through that to the tv.

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24 Design Mom July 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

Just out of curiosity, was your decision to give up cable because you had kids? Or was that just a timing coincidence? I was thinking of kids and TV and wondering if my kids have overall less advertising in their lives now that we stream.

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25 Jackie July 31, 2013 at 11:56 am

we love netflix, too, and have been using it for ages. the only downside is when netflix loses a show the kids love (like blues clues), and you just have to tell them that those are the breaks.

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26 Fio July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Gabriel you’ll love it! in london its been already 4 years without cable. We only stream. We have netflix too. What we have is apple tv for the big tv and all the ipads computers have it. Between that and BBC iplayer we are set.

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27 Shannon July 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Netflix is great. We never hooked up cable when we moved into our house 10 years ago, mostly because we felt it would be too difficult to monitor what the kids were watching. It’s been much easier with Netflix, and even with the development of streaming, my older kids can watch “older” shows on a laptop and I don’t worry about the younger ones watching, too.

I agree with the other commenters on the benefits of less advertising exposure when you only have a few television channels: I really believe it makes a difference in my kids’ level of contentment because they don’t know what they’re missing!

I do have to be strict with myself with Netflix–my oldest has got me watching “Fringe” and I have to limit myself to one episode a night!!! (Okay, sometimes I watch 2.)

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28 Em July 31, 2013 at 12:44 pm

We have never had cable and just last year got our tv hooked up to the regular channels but we have had netflix for a couple months but plan to cancel after this one because I don’t use it as much as I thought. It’s still easier for my daughter to put in movies from the library than to work the netflix and I thought I would get hooked on all kinds of new shows but I haven’t found anything that has really captured my interest.

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29 Kristin H July 31, 2013 at 1:12 pm

We made the switch 3 years ago and have never regretted it. My favorite part is that my kids arent exposed to commercials, in fact my 5 year old is perplexed by them and cable as a whole. I rest easier knowing her self image isnt harmed by advertising that objectifies people and tells her how to dress, what to play with, etc.

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30 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag July 31, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Ditching cable for Netflix and Hulu Plus is the greatest thing we’ve ever done! Seriously, seriously love it. Sometimes I miss randomly turning on the Hallmark Channel, but really, for all the hyperventilating I did about getting rid of cable, it was such an easy transition…for the better. Our cable bill was a joke! (and not a good one) :)

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31 April M July 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

We love Netflix. My husband and I are really disappointed in the direction that tv shows are taking now. We can’t even let are kids enjoy regular tv without supervising the so called kids shows. I like that we have parental controls and the just for kids section on Netflix. I also like that we can see any title that has been viewed too. Cable is seriously out of control with their pricing.

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32 mandi@herbanhomestead July 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm

We haven’t had cable in about 12 years. We have been streaming for as long as it has been available. We bought a Roku a few years back and have liked that pretty well. We stream through Netflix and Amazon Prime. I have not heard about Netflix Family- i’m checking that out! However, we do have the Just for Kids section on Netflix that the kids use.

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33 Kelley July 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I nannied for a family that only has Netflix and Hulu plus, both synced through Apple TV to their big screen, and its great! I love how easy it makes it to limit screen time. When families have cable, its always a rush to turn the tv off before the next show starts, otherwise there’s loads of begging to just finish one more. But since netflix just brings you back to the menu it makes it a lot easier to turn it off. And there’s the added bonus of no commercials!

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34 Dena July 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm

We gave up cable this past February and we haven’t looked back! Not really missing it proved my theory that we rarey watch tv. The kids can catch a show on Hulu Plus and Netflix, both of which stream through all of our portable devices and our Apple tv in the living room. It is almost too convenient (now my husband and I might actually be watching more tv:). We may be in a pickle come football season, but we are enjoying not having a costly cable bill each month. Oh, just as a side, we did invest $30 in a high-definition antenna at Costco. This at least provides us with local news when necessary.

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35 poppinga July 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm

We’ve also dropped cable and switched to a roku. It’s fantastic! I feel like we watch better quality TV/movies and maybe even less of it, since we turn it on to watch specific shows instead of just mindlessly flip through channels. Although I do miss Food Network… sigh.

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36 April Devereaux August 1, 2013 at 4:28 am

Been a big fan of NETFLIX was really glad when they stepped up their streaming side a year ago. Between NETFLIX, HULU, AMAZON PRIME we have been cable free for 3 years. We find that even when cable is available (hotels, friends,etc) we rally turn on the t.v. As for the CALL THE MIDWIFE (compeling show BTW)series try PBS.ORG their shows are available for streaming next day , although some are limited time only though.
Side note – we were unable to access NETFLIX while in IRELAND because of the region limitations, also Europe is able to stream shows next day while US has to wait until the series ends. BUMMER!

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37 lilcg August 1, 2013 at 6:37 am

my family streams exclusively as well–on the ipad via netflix and hulu and netflix, hulu, amazon prime, and pbs (I was so excited when the pbs channels were added) on the tv via a roku. it is cheaper than cable but not as much cheaper as I would like. where I live there is only one company that offers high speed internet–the cable company. the internet alone is a little more than $80 a month.

we watch much less tv, and now my 4 year old daughter (who has always lived with streaming instead of cable) can’t understand why all tvs don’t work this way. we were at a hotel last weekend and she was frustrated that she couldn’t request daniel tiger’s neighborhood in the morning.

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38 Summer August 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

I ditched cable last October, and while there were some tears over HGTV initially, I cannot imagine going back to cable. $160/month when nothing I ever wanted to watch was on is truly outrageous (go Jem!). Now that I’m used to the having to pick out something to watch instead of just flipping around, I find that I actually watch more tv rather than have it as background noise.

Also, Netflix’s “Original Series” are AWESOME! (I’ve only watched grown up shows, so yall can save it for after the kids go to bed. ;) )

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39 Summer August 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

Also, how grown up is Betty?! :( She’s turning into a lovely young lady though!

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40 Erin August 1, 2013 at 8:59 am

We are contemplating cutting our cable. We already have Netflix streaming to a Smart TV, and it provides plenty of content so that we don’t really ever watch cable, except for sports. Do any of your readers have suggestions for how to access sports programming without cable? My hardworking husband doesn’t have much time for himself, so come college football season (his favorite, as he played in college), I am happy when he can record his favorite team’s game each week on the DVR that came with cable. Then he watches it in a fraction of the time by skipping forward through commercials. Is the cost of cable justified for this alone? Probably not. But I hate for him to have to give up this one thing he really enjoys. He doesn’t watch any other TV at all. We would love to discover a streaming option for college sports and then we would cut our cable too. Suggestions?

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41 JananW August 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

We are Netflixers. We run it through our Xbox mostly. How do we go about using NetflixFamilies. I don’t see any option to choose it. There’s Netflix Kids, but that seems to be for really little ones. Help:)

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42 Whatthemom August 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

We love netflix too! It’s great on the phone and the ipad for the kids. My husband is a director and his movie Ultrasonic is even on there now too!

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43 Zoe - SlowMama August 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

We got rid of our TV about four years ago and have been streaming ever since. We don’t miss cable at all — pretty every show we’d want to watch is available through Netflix or Amazon. Now I just need to figure out how to keep the streaming down to a minimum for the kids!

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44 Kevin Kind August 2, 2013 at 7:16 am

Caption: “So why do they call this Death Metal? Do people like die when they hear this music? huh?”

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45 Ellen August 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm

We like Netflix a lot (with exception of frustration over Canadian content!) and it is all the tv we have. I especially love no commercials – I hate commercials.

I think it still can be overused, though. I totally get leaning on entertainment a bit more in a stressful stage like moving, but I feel like I want my kids to know how to wait patiently in places like the doctor’s office, etc. I find that with a bit of training, they do quite well (5 and 3) and have developed their ability to amuse themselves with picture books, etc, in their own imaginations. I have some concern about a generation that grows up not knowing how to sit patiently, even when bored.

Anyway. Netflix is great! :)

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46 Jimmie August 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I would like to add that we use Amazon Prime as well, it gives us variety between the two and if too many devices are on one you can jump on the other. It is 79 per year.

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47 Kimberly August 5, 2013 at 8:33 am

We have Netflix for movies, Aereo for live TV and Amazon by mistake (we forgot to cancel.) we don’t miss cable at all!!!

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48 abbeyviolet August 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

We dropped ours in 2009 too and use it with Amazon Prime too. It works very well for us!

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49 Lamchops August 5, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Thanks for the informative post. I am just about convinced to ditch our satelite now. At around $50/ month it seems like a joke anymore. The only thing that keeps me on it is usually the “but it has disney on it” argument. I don’t know if that is going to work much longer.

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50 Emily August 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

Thrilled to see this post! Hope someone at Netflix is reading all of the comments! My husband and I happily stream Netflix and Hulu Plus. If I could change anything, it would be this: I want to be able to block specific shows through parental controls!
There are a handful of cartoons and “tween” shows that I absolutely can’t stand for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s the language or amount of violence, sometimes it’s the terrible animation, sometimes I just find the show obnoxious (most of the Disney tween shows…). I would love to be able to go into the settings and block a specific show so it doesn’t even appear on the menu any more! My two oldest sons know what shows they are allowed to watch but the three-year-old gets ahold of the mini-ipad and clicks on whatever is in front of him on the menu.

Another option would be if I could set up an account for a specific kid and only include the shows I want in it. (A time limit setting would be nice too–while I’m dreaming…)

Aside from that, we love Netflix and as long as it keeps getting new seasons of our favorite shows and new programming, we’ll keep subscribing!

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51 Kristie D. August 8, 2013 at 8:47 pm

We are thinking of getting rid of cable! So pricey!! Sigh. We have a Roku and Amazon Prime. Gotta love the free 2-day shipping! Netflix and Hulu Plus are both recommended. Thanks for the honest review!! kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

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52 Kristi W December 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Our family enjoys Netflix, the profiles are a great addition but I agree it would be nice to block certain shows. There are some shows of a rating that we are okay with our kids watching yet there are others that we would prefer they don’t have access to.

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