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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Netflix on demand explained...right now!

We gave up our television cable about two years ago and started watching only over-the-air TV. The main reason? Cost. I had better uses for the $75/mo. than watching "Project Runway" 4 times a day.

The XBOX 360 can play directly from  DVDs too
Soon, however, we were looking for an additional avenue of entertainment and we found it. For $8.95/mo. we were using Netflix to get our choice of DVDs from among tens of thousands of choices. Nice...and interesting, but it turns out there's more.

For that same $8.95, not only could we get our DVDs , but we were able to see an additional several thousand movies and TV shows via the internet. What was truly interesting was the method we used to get the internet video stream to our old TV: we used our XBOX 360.

This is how it works: by subscribing to XBOX Live, we can not only play other video game enthusiats around the world, but we can also access other services like Netflix. All of these services use our home's internet connection to "talk" to Microsoft, Facebook, Netflix and other online services.

The "little video covers" that show individual titles
in each category. Pick one and start viewing.
Simply select the Netflix box and about a dozen different categories of videos appears before your eyes. Topics like Drama, Romance, Comedy, Western, etc. Click on the category of your choice and about a hundred individual videos fitting that category appear (they look like little video covers), click on a box to see a description and a "play now" button.

If it's the video you want to see, press "play now" and after about 30 seconds of computer stuff (you know- whirring, buzzing and the like) your movie starts playing- full screen and as sharp as a DVD.

You can stop, play, rewind, fast forward just like a DVD. You use the video game's controller for a remote.

A note about the choices: Not every movie Netflix offers is available online. There is a great deal of blockbuster and hit movies available, but they may not be as recent as those on the DVD shelves, plus many of the TV shows offer full seasons for viewing, but some only offer one season (out of all of the seasons that show may have been on the air).

A good note about the choices: As you choose and watch more and more videos, Netflix "learns" what you enjoy and offers more precise categories based on your choices. For instance my wife always seems to have a category titled "British Romantic Comedies" (she has a thing for accents).

By the way, this method of viewing Netflix also works on The Sony Playstation3, Nintendo Wii and the Apple TV (see my previous post) as well as a few other special video appliances- but that's another post for another day.

That's why, in my house, we call Netflix our "poor man's cable". Go here to go to Netflix.

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