Tag Archives | NetFlix

Boxee Adds Netflix, But Not on AppleTV or Ubuntu

boxee_logoOpen source media center platform Boxee said Thursday that its latest release would add support for Netflix, however only for users of its Mac OS X port. While the company offers both a version for Ubuntu Linux and AppleTV set-top boxes, neither are supported in this initial release.

Boxee says the issue with not being able to offer AppleTV users the functionality has to do with the processing power of the unit, currently at 1GHz. Apparently, the application bogs down, but developers are working on getting that working as soon as possible.

The company says it received a lot of requests for Netflix on Boxee, which provided the impetus to begin discussions with the online rental service. No word on whether the Netflix app would make it into an upcoming Windows version of the service — due out soon — however Linux support seems a bit off.

(Note: this is more due to the fact that Netflix itself does not yet support Linux, although it has said it would do so later next year.)

Netflix is not the only new content to be added: users are also gaining photos from the Boston Globe, music videos from MTV, and content from TheWB.com. Improvements to the content offerings from Hulu, CNN, Flickr and Picasa are also included in the update, as well as quality enhancements for YouTube videos.

Those interested in testing out Boxee should head on over to the company’s website and submit their information.

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Netflix on the Xbox 360: Not What It Could Be or Should Be

xbox360When I first heard about Microsoft bringing the Netflix’s streaming movie service to the Xbox 360, I pictured myself not in the usual hunched gamer stance on the couch, but just laying there, wireless controller in hand, 12,000 movies at my fingertips. That’s what technology is about, right? It’s connectivity with all the things you want, making life easier.

It was not to be. Xbox 360’s Netflix service is crippled by the inability to browse and select movies directly from the console. Instead, you have to search Netflix’s Web site on a computer and add movies to your queue from there. And this is after you download the Netflix program on the Xbox, register an account on your computer, go back to the Xbox for an activation code, then return once more to the computer to enter the code.

Do I sound lazy? Maybe, but think of the possibilities. You’re at home with some friends. They want to watch a movie but don’t want to go to Blockbuster. It’d be great to turn on the Xbox and choose a film by committee. Or maybe you’re entertaining a significant other, trying to rationalize your nerdy gaming box with a library of instantly available flicks. You get the idea.

To make things worse, Netflix’s online browser is already broken. Searching the service’s database is only possible for hard copy rentals. The instant-watch selections can only be searched alphabetically or by category. Good luck finding that one movie you wanted to see among 11,999 other titles.

In fairness, the streaming itself is great. Watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (don’t ask) on a 64-inch, standard definition television, I momentarily forgot the Internet was involved. I also had no problem loading up the streaming queue with over 50 movies, preventing quite a few tedious trips back to the computer. Still, there’s no denying how great it would be to have it all.

Microsoft has kept mum on this issue. A spokesman told me that there are no announcements on future Netflix queue management. Let’s hope that changes.


Netflix via TiVo? Cool. But Not Cool Enough.

So TiVo and Netflix are announcing that their longstanding, apparently-dormant plans to work together have amounted to something after all: Starting in early December, owners of TiVo boxes will be able to stream movies and TV shows from NetFlix, and the cost is included in their monthly Netflix subscription. That’s good news. But it’s also by no means a substitute for the primary way Netflix distributes content–which is, of course, by shipping out DVDs in little red envelopes via snail mail.

That’s because traditional Netflix offers more than a hundred thousand titles, while Netflix Watch Instantly includes only about a tenth as many. Netflix’s own promotion for the Internet-based service stresses that it offers a “separate, smaller” selection of content, and that it includes “very few” new releases. (When was the last time you heard any company use the word “few” when discussing the choice it offers?)

You can’t blame Netflix for the skimpy selection–Hollywood just remains incredibly backwards when it comes to licensing movie and TV content for Internet distribution. And even though some other purveyors of Net-based video have a lot more stuff than Netflix Watch Instantly, including new releases, nobody offers what you really want: A service as comprehensive as traditional Netflix that lets you watch everything instantly on every digital device you own.

After the jump, a quick look at some of the major competitors.

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Samsung Hedges its Bets with Netflix Streaming

As I have pointed out in the past, streaming is probably the single biggest threat to Blu-ray overall. Well, it looks as if Samsung — the company thats already given the format just five years to live — is acknowledging that and trying to stay one step ahead of the curve by adding streaming capabilities to two of its players. This appears to be part of a bigger strategy by Netflix to get its software on more Blu-ray devices.

CEO Reed Hastings does acknowledge that the format’s install base is still extremely small, but expressed confidence in its earnings call earlier in the week that adoption would pick up. Either way, it is definitely a good move for either company.

Netflix gains another partner for its streaming service, which already includes Microsoft and the Xbox 360, LG, and Roku, which markets the Netflix set-top box. Blu-ray gains a partner which adds functionality to its players, making them more attractive to consumers.

Obviously, this does nothing to address the price issue of players, which is the single biggest obstacle for most. However, at the same time, it certainly adds more value to the player. This could help justify the high up-front cost for some.

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Netflix? Uh Oh–Try “Notflix”

Boy, it’s been a busy week for Internet outages: Something really bad is going down at Netflix, which, according to CNBC, shipped no DVDs on Tuesday, had major trouble yesterday, and hadn’t shipped any today as of the time of CNBC’s report. The CNBC story says that a Netflix spokesperson responded promptly and honestly to queries, but the article doesn’t have much in the way of detail about what’s going on.

I just signed into my account, and to Netflix’s credit, it’s displaying a gigantic warning and apology right at the top of the page:

I covered an 18-hour Netflix site outage in my list of the Web’s most notable examples of downtime earlier this week; if I’d done the story today, this new one woulda made the list for sure. As with this week’s Gmail outage, one of the lessons here is that even the Web’s most reliable services–and Netflix famously runs like a top, which is a big part of how it became so successful–are far from impervious.

More details to come. I’ll end with thoughts that repeat what I said during the Gmail outage, short though it turned out to be: Let’s hope that Netflix not only fixes this as quickly as possible, but tells us all what happened, and what it’s doing to keep it from happening again…

Update: Netflix tells CNet’s Rafe Needleman that customers are being extremely understanding about all this. I can believe it; the service is usually so good that I’d cut the company a lot of slack. Bu that doesn’t mean I’m not worried that something can go so wrong, for so long…


Introducing Technologizer’s T-List

New Technologizer feature! Starting this very moment, I’ll round up five items a day, give my take, and refer you to discussion elsewhere. They may be the day’s biggest stories. Or not. List starts after the jump…
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