Ever since it was first demonstrated that you could control the Netflix "watch now" interface from Windows Media Center, MCE plugins for Netflix have been populating like bunnies. There are now three different plugins that let you browse or search your Netflix queue and watch movies all from the comfort of your couch.
Missing Remote has an in-depth look at vmcNetflix, MyNetflix, and NetflixMC. And it turns out that not all Netflix plugins are not created equal. Some are Vista only, while others will run on Windows XP Media Center Edition. Al three have attractive interfaces and most of the features that you'd expect. But only one vmcNetflix supports Windows Media Center Extenders like the Xbox 360.
If you're looking for Windows XP MCE support, NetflixMC is pretty much your only option for now. And if you're looking for support for media extenders, vmcNetflix is the way to go. But if you're looking for a more detailed overview, you should check out the full article at Missing Remote.
- 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
[via Ian Dixon]
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]
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]
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]
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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