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November 24, 2014

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MyNetflix plugin for Media Center adds full-screen viewing

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 27th 2008 5:37PM
MyNetflix 2.1
Anthony Park has added the ability to stream Netflix Watch Now videos in full screen mode to his MyNetflix Windows Media Center plugin. But that's just one of more than a dozen updates available in MyNetflix 2.1 beta. Others include:
  • Added the ability to pause and play videos using a media center remote control
  • Added a "select episode" screen that shows up when you select a TV series
  • There's a new indicator to let you know the program is busy (and still working) when looking up data
MyNetflix 2.1 is available for download as a public beta.

[via Ian Dixon]

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More ways to stream Netflix videos on your Media Center PC

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 14th 2008 5:27PM

MyNetflix isn't the only Windows Media Center plugin for watching streaming movies from Netflix. Well, not for long anyway. NetflixMC is an upcoming plugin that will work with Windows Vista Media Center and Windows XP MCE. MyNetflix is Vista only.

NetflixMC lacks some of the features of MyNetflix, like the ability to manage your queue. Pretty much all you can use NetflixMC for is finding and viewing "Watch Now" movies from the Netflix web site. But the application's slick interface makes up for its limited feature set. Not to mention that it's nice to see a developer who hasn't forgotten about Windows XP users. Most of the cool new applications I've seen in the last few months have been Vista specific.

Independent developer Ryan Gray is also working on a Netflix Watch Now plugin for MeediOS, an alternate media center for computers running Windows. You can check out a video of his MeeFlix plugin in action after the jump, or read more about it at the MeediOS forums.

[via Chris Lanier and Missing Remote]

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MyNetflix plugin for Windows Media Center adds "watch now" feature

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 11th 2008 11:03AM
MyNetflix
Anthony Park has released a new plugin for Windows Vista Media Center that lets you watch streaming videos from Netflix. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. MyNetflix also lets you manage your Netflix queue, browse movies by genre, new titles, top 100, or pretty much any other criteria, view your history and recommendations, and browse and play "watch now" videos.

MyNetflix is the evolution of the streaming plugin I told you about a few weeks ago. Developer Anthony Park has picked up on the work started by Ryan Hurst, and added the pretty MCML interface that makes MyNetflix look like it really belongs in Windows Vista Media Center.

MyNetflix is available as a public beta. As such, don't be surprised if not everything works perfectly. But development on the project has been pretty rapid, so I'd expect any major bugs to be stamped out pretty quickly. And of course, make sure to submit your bug reports to Park.

Incidentally, there's also a new plugin for SageTV that lets users of that media center suite browse and view Netflix videos as well.

[via Chris Lanier and Brent Evans]

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Coming soon: Watch Netflix online video using Windows Media Center

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 27th 2008 12:58PM

Sure, Netflix is great if you like waiting for DVDs to show up in the mail or if you don't mind watching online video using a web browser. But I kind of like watching movies on a TV screen. And while I've got a computer permanently plugged into my TV, the last thing I want to do is pull out a keyboard and mouse and open up a web browser to watc my movies, when I've got Windows Media Center and a remote control.

Fortunately, it looks like someone's developing a Windows Media Center plugin that will let you watch Netflix videos without a web browser. Development is still in the early phases, but the promise is that you'll be able to find available movies and stream them in full screen mode all without visiting Netflix.com in web browser. When it's complete, the plugin should let you login to your Netflix account, browse and search Netflix "watch now" movies, and possibly even add DVDs in your queue for ordering the old fashioned way.

[via Missing Remote]

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Netflix launches unlimited online video feature

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 14th 2008 1:03PM
Netflix unlimited viewing
A few weeks ago a limited number of Netflix customers started getting emails letting them know they could watch as many videos as they'd like online using the "watch instantly" button next to selected items in their queue. Now Netflix has gone and made and made it official. Almost all Netflix subscribers can watch as many online videos per month as they want.

Previously the DVD rental service only allowed users to watch a limited number of hours per month based on their subscription rate. For example if you've got the $18/month Netflix plan, you were able to watch 18 hours of online video per month.

If you're a subscriber at the lowest level, paying just $4.99/month to rent up to two DVDs per month, you'll find you can still only watch a few hours of video. The change comes in advance of Macworld, where Apple is widely expected to announce a new iTunes video rental option. Will the move give Netflix an upper hand? Probably not, but it may be enough to at least keep Netflix in the game.

[via paidcontent]

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Netflix: Coming soon to a TV set top box near you

by Brad Linder, posted Jan 3rd 2008 10:53AM
Netflix LG
There've been rumors for a while that Netflix was planning to build its own set top box for delivering movies directly to your TV. Now it looks like the DVD rental service is building a platform that will work on many different set top boxes. The first partnership is with LG, but Netflix is looking for other companies to work with.

According to HackingNetflix the goal isn't just to provide one set top box, but to make the Netflix software embedded in boxes ranging from DVD players to video game consoles. And of course, cable boxes.

The box will be internet connected, and users will have access to the same 6,000 movies current Netflix users can currently get by clicking Watch Instantly from the Netflix website. No word on how much the box will cost, but once you buy the hardware, you'll need a Netflix monthly subscription to view the content.


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Netflix expands online video service

by Brad Linder, posted Dec 28th 2007 12:58PM
Unlimited watch now
Netflix has been letting users watch videos watch selected videos on a PC since earlier this year. The service probably cuts down on shipping costs for Netflix, while giving the company a foothold in digital distribution, which may or may not be the future of the video rental business.

But up until recently there have been a few restrictions on the service. You could only watch a limited number of hours of programming, based on your subscription rate. And the selection was somewhat limited. Now it looks like Netflix is addressing both issues. Some users are reporting they've received emails letting them know that they can watch as much programming as they like by clicking the "watch now" button next to selected shows. And the content library is now up to 6,000 movies and TV episodes, which is more than twice what Netflix appeared to have available this summer.

The service is still Windows-only, and there's no legal way to save shows on your PC for transferring to a portable device or for viewing when you're offline.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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Do PVR users watch less DVDs?

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 27th 2007 5:00PM
Ofcom chart
British regulatory agency Ofcom has released its annual report analyzing communications industries in the UK. Among this year's findings is that personal video recorders have found their way into 15% of the country's households. And, shocking as it may seem, PVRs change the way people interact with their media.

As you can see from the chart, Brits don't spend all their time skipping through commercials and watching precorded programs. News and live sports top the list of television programs people prefer to watch live, just like everywhere else in the world.

What's more interesting is the fact that only 30% of respondents say they prefer watching movies live. In other words, most people would rather watch a movie on their own schedule, either by recording it to watch later or by renting a DVD. Not exactly rocket science, we know.

But the Ofcom study shows that 28% of PVR users say they watch fewer DVDs than they did before they got their PVR. That could be because they have a large hard drive that can store a number of movies and TV shows, giving you a wide selection of programs to view at any time. Or it might just be because you have no reason to go out and spend money renting or buying DVDs if you're already paying for TV and PVR service.

In my household, I know that we don't rent movies, or even go out to the movies as often as we did before we got our first PVR. In fact, we canceled our Netflix subscription when we got our first TiVo. How has your PVR changed your DVD viewing habits?

[via Ars Technica]

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Hackers discover how to download streaming movies from Netflix

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 6th 2007 6:45PM
Netflix
Earlier this year Netflix announced a new service that would allow you to watch a limited number of videos online instead of waiting for the DVDs to come in the mail. The service is free with your regular subscription. If you pay $17/month for access to 3 DVDs at a time, you can watch 17 hours of video per month. If you pay $5 per month for access to 2 DVDs per month, you can watch 5 hours of video online.

There's just one problem. You have to watch on Netflix's terms. The video player is browser based, and the movies are encoded using Windows Media DRM. If you want to begin a movie now and finish it later, you're out of luck. Or if you want to copy it to a portable device for viewing during your morning commute (on the train, not while driving, of course!), no soup for you.

Well, the smart folks over at the Rorta forums seem to have cracked the code, using Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player 11, FairUse4WM, and Notepad. The solution involves finding the URL of the video file, downloading it, acquiring the license key and then stripping the DRM. It's a bit involved, and will probably take longer than just sitting down and watching the movie. But hey, it's the principle of the thing, right?

Keep in mind, this hack will not let you download more than 17 hours of video per month, so it's not exactly going to be a great trick for starting your online video piracy empire.

Update: As several people have pointed out in the comments, you can indeed stop a Netflix "watch now" movie and start it again later, or fast forward to any point in a film to begin watching. Thanks!

[via Brent Evans]

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List of 2343 (and counting) Netflix watch now movies

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 15th 2007 8:47AM
Netflix watch nowNetflix customers know that the company is rolling out a service that lets impatient subscribers watch videos on their computer. But not every movie in your queue has the "watch now" button next to it. So trying to find a movie for instant gratification can actually take quite a long time.

Someone's decided to step in and make the process a bit easier, compiling a list of over 2300 Netlix movies available for online viewing. Most titles include a link to the movie's page on Netflix. You'll need a subscription in order to watch these movies. But now that you know how easy it is to find titles like Gothic Vampires from Hell, why wouldn't you want to sign up?

[via Brent Evans]

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What I'm watching this summer: Joel's list

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 19th 2007 10:19AM
It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaI think I'm the last Squadder to put out one of these lists, and there's a good reason for that. After the crush of the season finales and upfronts in May, I was happy to not be a regular watcher of anything in particular, except for Yankee games, so there seemed to be nothing for me to write about.

But when I really thought about it, that's not even close to being true. Despite the fact that it's summer, there's more than enough quality programming that I'm sure I'll get sucked into some weekly habits at some point. So, after the jump, here's what I plan on watching:

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Netflix shows off new and improved "watch now" - VIDEO

by Brad Linder, posted May 1st 2007 4:07PM
NetflixNetflix is showing off a new version of their browser-based "watch now" feature at the Mix '07 conference in Las Vegas. By building the new feature with Microsoft Silverlight, Netflix has expanded the feature set, as well as building compatibility for alternate browser like Firefox, and operating systems like Mac OS X.

Basically, the program transforms your browser window into a complete movie-viewing interface with DVD-like functionality. You can:
  • Fast forward and rewind
  • Browse by chapter
  • Double-click to make the movie play in full-screen
  • Add movies to your Netflix Queue
  • Rate movies
  • Find similar movies through Netflix
[via WebWare]

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Netflix creates new Internet TV division

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 16th 2007 2:18PM
Anthony WoodOnline DVD rental company Netflix looks like it's getting into the online video distribution industry. The company today appointed ReplayTV founder Anthony Wood to the newly created post of vice president of Internet TV.

Wood will be responsible for "development related to the company's strategic intent to deliver movies directly to subscribers' televisions via the Internet."

In January, Netflix launched a service allowing users to stream a limited selection of movies to their computers in real-time. Wood will oversee efforts to expand the number of titles available. Netflix also plans to develop streaming technology to send movies to cellphones and internet connected televisions, and not just PCs.

[via EndgadgetHD]

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Netflix, Amazon Unbox, and Blockbuster all on your TiVo

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 13th 2007 9:30AM
Blockbuster TiVo menuOne of the greatest things about TiVo is that the company makes it easy for users to build programs that add functions TiVo has left out.

For example, you can watch movies from Amazon Unbox on your TiVo now, but you can't browse and download movies on your TiVo box. You need to use a computer.

That is, until some enterprising users started hacking together programs that let you surf Amazon Unbox from the comfort of your couch. And why stop there? One user has developed a plugin that lets you browse Amazon Unbox, NetFlix, and Blockbuster all using your remote control.

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Hack your way to near-unlimited Netflix Watch Now Nirvana

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 5th 2007 12:25PM
Netflix Watch NowSo you know how Netflix is rolling out a service that lets you download some of the movies in your queue? And you know how the service only lets you watch a limited number of movies per month? Yeah, apparently it's not that hard to cheat the system.

Engadget reports that some users have essentially rolled back the clock to make Netflix think they've only spent a few minutes watching a film, when in fact they've spent two hours. So while an $18/month Netflix subscription is supposed to net you 18 hours of play time (in addition to DVD rentals), you can pretty much get unlimited views. It's probably only a matter of time before Netflix "fixes" this glitch.

Here's how it works:
  1. Wait for the movie to finish downloading, and then disconnect your network adapter.
  2. Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  3. Reconnect your network adapter after you've finished watching the movie.
  4. Netflix will subtract a few minutes from your clock, allowing you to watch dozens of additional movies this month.

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