Netflix on Wii – Spring

Yes, it’s true.  As I was deliberating over whether I thought a Roku player would be worth it and if I thought I could afford it, I Googled once more “netflix on Wii” and found this blog.

Following the link to Netflix, I have reserved my disc to be sent when available in the Spring.  Of course, I want it right now, but knowing that it’s coming, and realizing the first 3 seasons of Farscape are available via streaming, I’m pretty much in stream heaven.  (I’d be all the way if all 4 + PW were on, but whatevs.)

It’s only SD, but if you’re such a purist, use your laptop or go buy an XBOX.

So go reserve your disc!  I don’t know if there are limitations, but it doesn’t matter, cuz my copy is coming!  YEAH!

Netflix on the Mac? Hooray!

netflixonmac1Is it really true?  Can we really watch instantly–a service we’ve been paying for since its inception?  The answer is YES!  I found out the news late yesterday, which apparently occurred on Halloween, but hey, there were other things on our minds (like an election, or something).

Now the question on all you lovely Mac users’ minds is, ok, so how do I do it?  Well, officially it is in its beta testing stage, so you have to opt-in and errors may occur.  This is also only for Intel-based Macs, so if you’re PowerPC, you’re out.  Thusfar I haven’t really encountered any more than on a PC.  In case you didn’t catch that link the first time, opt-in here.

And welcome to 12,000 or so movies (some of them not working the greatest in beta), about 30% of them something you might want to watch, though with Starz Play a little better variety than before.  (I recently watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3–not that that’s saying much about selection still.  Ok, I was just glad it was “free” I mean since I’m in it for the DVD rental.  Anyways…)

So enjoy!

Oh, and one more thing.  This is all possible due to Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Wait.  Microsoft is making it easier for me to watch my Netflix on my Mac instantly?  Shouldn’t Apple have taken care of that for me?  Yes, they should have, shouldn’t they?  (You can still thank Apple for the delay and send them no thanks for the problem actually getting solved.  Apparently they’re so confident we’d rather rent on iTunes they blatantly refused to offer Netflix any sort of help.  Not even a clue.  *sigh*  Oh well, the prices of a great operating system I suppose).  Netflix’s blog gives more details.

Hulu and Online Viewing: Way of the Future

Some of you may not know of the Hulu.com and I pity you, though some of you may not know how to do more than check your e-mail, so it’s understandable (and amazing that you’re here reading this if that’s true).  So, what is Hulu.com?

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Quite possibly the greatest online viewing site of all time (and it’s legit too).  Sure, you have to watch maybe 30 second ads every now and again, but hey, you’re not stealing and it’s at your convenience.  Why is Hulu so great?  Well, let’s take a look at the options.

youtube_logo3-croppedYouTube: Well, the quality is often not great, and finding your fav TV show is tough and usually in parts, since youtube is not sponsored by the networks.  Hulu is and in better quality.

divx_logoDownloading Divx: Well, aside from it being participating in pirating, it takes time and HD space.  The quality factor is good, waiting isn’t.  Plus if you only have internet access to a public computer, its likely you won’t be able to watch.

Network Sites: This is actually a decent (and often required) option, now that online viewing is the way of the future.  All the major networks are in on it now, even the lil CW.  So, from worst to best, the network sites.

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PROS: You don’t have to try and find a version of it somewhere on the internet.  The player is so, so.

CONS: The player is so, so.  All you can do is go full screen (which isn’t true full screen, more of a kind of bigger option) or watch it in its lil window.  Post time, at least for Smallville, is sluggish.  Other networks have it up for you the morning after, the CW when they get to it, but at least before the next episode.  Also, they’re among the first to take old episodes down (meaning older eps from the current season).  You’d think for being a “struggling” network they’d jump on the digital bandwagon quicker.  No CC.  No Hulu.

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PROS: They’ve got good quality and HD options.  Plus you can chat as you watch (I think they’re the only one offering that option), and discuss the show with other fans.  I don’t watch many CBS shows, so not sure about the posting time.

CONS: If you don’t want to watch it full screen, there are no size options.  And much like the CW, small it has to be in the site’s window, and with lighter colors around it (you’ll see why that’s less good with the next networks).  No CC.  No Hulu.

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PROS: Like CBS, they have a standard and HD option.  They also have a sort of pop out video player, which is less distracting than the CW/CBS options, and it dims out the background while you’re watching.  CC available. Posting time is decent, usually next day late morning, sometimes later…

CONS: You’ve got to download stuffs to get the player to work, though it’s only a one-time thing.  The ads are short, but you have to click to continue, which is obnoxious if you’re watching on your PC hooked up to your TV.  Lastly, and this is a small thing, but the video will occasionally start off in youtube-ish quality until the pixels align with the stars–or for whatever reason become clearer.  No Hulu.

Overall, though, a pretty good player.

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PROS: An actual dim lights option, all though the background isn’t all that distracting.  Boasts only HD viewing.  Looks like CC is planned for the future, but not available yet (at least not for Fringe).  Posting has been early to late mornings most of the time.  Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I’d like to adjust the size, instead of just small and full screen.  I occasionally have lag troubles with the player, but it’s not often.

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If there were no Hulu, I’d look to NBC to lead the digital future.  They’ve been on the ball with getting their content online, both on their site and elsewhere.  I think the majority of clips I watch online are NBC related (well, SNL).  Not only do they have a good player, they also let Hulu show most (if not all) of their content, and they’ve let Netflix Instaview post Heroes: Season Three.  I think NBC is the company that’s getting it.  Give the people what they want and they’ll keep coming back to you.  As for the player:

PROS: Gives you a few sizes options as well as full screen.  Background isn’t distracting.  It’s easy to find episodes.  They post in the early a.m. and as I recall before everyone jumped on the digital bandwagon, was among the first to have quality streaming.  You can even select chapters of episodes (although I suppose you can just click on the buttons on the timeline, the thought is nice, like a DVD). Hulu poster.

CONS: Not many.  I suppose the inability to pop-out, and that the player has occasionally been finicky, but all in all a good player.  No CC.

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netflix01Netflix was a toss up for me to include in the list.  It is streaming some shows (Heroes, Jericho) along with the season now, and has probably been one of the biggest proponents of online viewing, yet its variety is still somewhat lacking.  I’m hoping their player will continue to improve (whatever happened to the player they expo’d in 2007 with all its sweet features), but as it stands they aren’t the favored place to watch recent clips.  Still, I’m in it for the DVDs, so bonus online content is just that: a bonus.

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Again, why is Hulu.com so great?

You’ve got SD and 480p options (at least 720p would be nice), dim lights, sharing, embedding, and my favorite, the pop-out.  I may want to catch up on my favorite shows while doing other things on my computer, and I like having a resizable window at my disposal.  Related clips are easy to find, you can rate and comment on episodes, and you’ve got sorting options (popular, recently added, etc.)

And I’ve really just been discussing TV.  They’ve got a library of movies, older TV shows, and tons of video clips.  Want to watch an SNL clip in better quality than youtube?  Well, thank NBC and Hulu, because now you can.  So while I’m grateful to these networks for making decent players, I like the Hulu standard best of them all.  Plus, it’s the most user friendly.  (No extra software, at least if you keep up your flash player).

Of course, Hulu wouldn’t be Hulu without those networks and companies that support it.  So another thanks again to NBC for getting what this new generation of viewers wants and giving it to us.  Check out Hulu.com now, you’re bound to love it!

Netflix Instant5 (Oct6)

What is the Instant5?  It’s five recommendations I make for wasting time and more importantly getting your money’s worth out of your Netflix subscription.  Let’s be honest: the way Netflix has it set up now is only “sorta kinda” helpful in finding something to view.  So without further ado:

THIS WEEK’S Instant5

1. Inspector Gadget

No, fortunately not the Disney film of the same name with Matthew Broderick.  This is the original animated series, which should please nostalgic ’80s cartoon fans such as myself.  This is volume one of the series which includes all 22 episodes of that volume for your instant viewing pleasure.  There is no volume two in the US as of yet, although there are rumors of a 25th anniversary collection set, nothing is confirmed, but at least you can watch a better-than-youtube quality version of the first 22 eps.

2. The TV Set

Mac reviewed this movie not too long ago.  From Wiki: The plot follows an idealistic writer (David Duchovny) as he tries to navigate his TV pilot down the mine-laden path from script to production to the madness of prime-time scheduling – all while trying to stay true to his vision. Along the way he has to juggle the agendas of a headstrong network president (Weaver), volatile young stars, a pregnant wife and an ever-optimistic personal manager/agent (Greer).  I have not as of yet watched this, but now that it’s on Instant, it’s on the list.

3. Shut Up & Sing

Remember the Dixie Chicks?  I’m sure most think of their bigger-than-Jesus comment that flushed their career for a time.  To be honest, I don’t like the Dixie Chicks, still don’t, but I did enjoy the documentary because I felt like it was mostly honest about the event and how it did get blown out of proportion.  So love them or hate them, if you truly like to be informed this is worth a look.

4. The Shadow

The superhero from the old time radio comes to life via Alec Baldwin pre-annoying days.  It’s not like this is the epic superhero movie, but there was always something about The Shadow that appealed to me, and I love the Dick Tracy-like production design of the film.  I think it’s worth seeing once and now that it’s in instant I’ll probably see it a few times.

5. James and the Giant Peach

Ok, so it isn’t the Nightmare Before Christmas, but there’s still something about this show that I love.  Probably the stop-motion animation, probably Roald Dahl, I love this movie and I’m glad to see it on Instaview.  Good for kids, but there’s just some kind of magic in there that holds my appeal.

Under “genres” they have a new section called Starz Play which has added to the selection of Netflix instaview library tremendously.  I recommend looking under there for newer movies to see.  Until next time!

Mac Users Rejoice?

According to a recent post on the Netflix community blog, Mac support for the Netflix Instant View service will be available “by the end of the year,” which I guess still falls in line with their earlier post of “sometime in 2008.”

I’m really hoping this isn’t relying on Apple support, which has been the hold up in the first place for the Mac kids out there (they want you to use Apple TV and nothing else).  I guess come December 31, 2008 (but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for sooner) we’ll see.

Another Reason to LOVE Netflix!

I could easily be a salesman of Netflix without trying.  What can I say?  I love it tons and I wish they’d have started their bonus DVD for friends back before I converted everyone. 😉

So what’s my additional reason to love Netflix aside from the joy of receiving a lovely red envelope in the mail or watching The Office online (and saving $$$ holding off on buying boxsets for now)?  We can thank NBC and Netflix both for bringing us Heroes: Season 3.

Not available on DVD yet, supposedly available every Tuesday (perhaps later in the evening, since it is Tuesday and the newest has not yet been posted) a new episode will be available as the season goes along.  Why don’t I just watch it at NBC.com or the equivalent?  Well, great news for Roku player owners, because you can watch a full episode sans commercials on your TV.  For the rest of us, I would think no commercials and depending on your internet connection, better quality than the other sites.  I love NBC for making it easy to see this show and I think they’re the network that’s really getting this new digital age.

So, pop on over to Netflix to catch up, show friends old episodes, whatever.

Netflix Instaview: What to Watch (Instant 5)

Sometimes when the candy store has a lot of candy, some of which you don’t care for, but a lot you do, it’s hard to decide what to grab while you’re there. I’ve found the same problem with the Netflix Instaview store. Recommendations are only slightly helpful, but hardly where I’d like them to be. It’s like the clerk knows where the names are stored, but has no idea what kind of taste goes with the name.

So, rather than continue on with cryptic analogies, I thought I would bring you five recommendations, hopefully weekly (depending on Netflix’s continued ability to acquire good/adequate films). I’ll call them the Instant5. Since I have reviewed some series that are available on the Instaview, we’ll start there.

THIS WEEK’S Instant5

1. SeaQuest DSV sn1-3

Basically the aquatic version of Star Trek TNG, a fun TV show from the ’90s, and since you’re paying for this Instaview service whether you watch it or not, I’d say a fine way to spend your viewing hours. I was really only interested up to season two, since we changed directions and command, but they are all available instantly.

2. Doctor Who 2005: Series One

Unless you’ve got a super media friendly local library or a buddy with it, count on spending $70+ to see this in any better quality than a chinese streaming rip. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, this series is a must. Unfortunately the other seasons are not available per Instaview yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Eccleston does a fabulous job playing the tenth doctor, and I’m a fan of time travel, so it works.

3. Sliders sn1-5

OK, so I’ve come into more sci-fi shows, but this one was fantastic. The idea is that a genius kid figures out how to “slide” to different dimensions, and shows his friend and film professor. The only problem? They can’t find their way back to their own dimension. It’s kind of like Doctor Who in its weekly encounter, but basically a show I loved as a kid, and all four season are for the most part available (a couple episodes here and there haven’t been converted).

4. Strange Brew

As far as I’m concerned a movie-lovers cult classic. The McKenzie brothers take on an evil brewer on a sort of mishap in this strange version of Hamlet (No, seriously. Compare events and characters to the play). Not to worry, all the iambic pantameter is out. This is one of those quotable movies, like Napoleon Dynamite or Dumb and Dumber (though I would rate this movie above D&D). If you love Rick Moranis or basically silly humor, you’ll love this movie.

5. Knight Rider sn1-4

The new series on TV? ‘Fraid not. The old one with your buddy and mine David Hasslehoff. I was a bit weary of this one, not being a huge fan of Hasslehoff, but I put my skepticism aside for a minute and gave it a chance. It’s got the ’80s campiness of most shows from that day and age, but it works for the show, and I still want a KITT. And anyways, it’s practically free. 😉

So that’s it for this week. That doesn’t mean that’s it for what Netflix has by any means. I plan to let you know about other worthwhile watching so you’re not stuck watching whatever is on the front page (which is usually the crumbs of the bread).

If you have a series/movie to suggest, let me know and I’ll take a look (if I haven’t seen it) and include it in the next Instant5 installment. For now, enjoy!