Current Events

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Netflix DVDs and Streaming Video

What I Know about Netflix
Revised October 13, 2013

I have an unlimited netflix subscription  for one film by mail at a time, which costs about $10 a month.  Maybe because I live close to a Netflix distribution center, I'm usually able to get two films a week.  Sometimes I get new DVD releases quickly, but sometimes the wait is very long.  I haven't tried video on demand from Verizon or Amazon -- maybe they are faster for new releases but what makes Netflix special is its huge instant view library, which you can use for an additional fee, or you can skip the mail service and just use the library. 
Netflix has a library of about 15,000 films available for streaming to your computer, where you can watch if you want, but if you have a router for your computer and a new TV or DVD player or a play-station, you can also stream instant view movies to your TV wirelessly.  Many new foreign films show up on instant view as soon as they are released on DVD or just a few weeks later.  I put them in my regular queue and just wait until they show up as available on instant view.  The only downer for instant view, is that films don't stay on it forever.  Netflix gives you just a few days warning, before a film is taken off of instant view, so you have to monitor your queue on your computer or you may lose an opportunity to see it on instant view.   

If you don't yet have  Netflix capability in your TV or DVD player, you can buy a Roku for $59 for the most basic model (or more if you want 1080p HD ).  Ira Plato's guests recommended the Roku on PBS's Science Friday.  You set up your instant view queue in your Netflix account on your computer, and then the Roku will receive the whole thing direct from the router, and you can choose any movie in your queue and search for more films directly from the Roku -- and using A/V cables (those red, white and yellow ones), you can even watch on that old analog TV in the bedroom that you were about to take to the dump.   Note:  This was the situation in 2011.  There are many more options for streaming now.  Also, please note, the newer models of the Roku may not have all the connections you might need to connect to older TVs.
Note:   If you TV is 1080i, you might want to call Roku before you buy one.  I had to spend an hour talking to India to get my first one set up because 1080i and 720p use different systems to produce the same level of definition.  You could also check to see if there is still a model available that has the output connections that match your old TVs inputs.

No comments:

Post a Comment