July 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM ET
Despite being used by more than 80 percent of the respondents in a new Consumer Reports survey, Netflix video streaming service doesn't seem to be very well-liked. Users mainly criticized its poor selection and did not see it as a viable option for replacing cable TV and movie rentals.
Over 15,000 people were surveyed by Consumer Reports for the study, and while it doesn't really bear out any new information, it does indicate that people understand the shortcomings of these services.
With Netflix, predictably, it's the selection. Who hasn't tried to find something to watch some night, only to spend it scrolling through endless early-2000s movies and obscure documentaries? One respondent noted that the latest movie he could find with George Clooney in it was 10 years old. Even for $8 a month, that's pretty shabby.
The larger take-away is that there still just isn't a valid replacement for cable TV and movie rentals. You can go cheap with Netflix or Hulu Plus, but those are far from an all-access pass. You can pay per episode with Vudu or iTunes, but you may end up spending $30 just to watch a single season of a single show. And independent movie rental places have a great selection and helpful staff, but no one wants to bet they'll be around in a couple years.
For now it seems people are satisfied to pay their money and get their cable, and then switch on the Roku or Apple TV when there's nothing good on. But given the amount of dissatisfaction with any given part of this arrangement, be it cost, selection or convenience, the next few years may see more people than ever trying to cut the cord. Meanwhile, Netflix will take the abuse and somehow still maintain a stranglehold on its subscribers. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.