Tag Archives: Blu-ray

Netflix Gets Easier

Over the past year, Netflix has grabbed a huge share of the market for video entertainment. One of the big reasons why is their excellent streaming features. We’ve been enjoying it immensely. Not only us, but a lot of others as well. When I check my friends list on the XBox, I regularly see a couple of others watching Netflix as well.

This week, both the Sony PS3 and the Nintendo Wii added disc-less support for their Netflix player (along with some new features like searching). So no more swapping disks. This  makes it much more convenient and it also probably saves a few game discs as well (getting scratched during the swapping). For the PS3, the option is on the main screen already. For the Wii, you’ll need to go to the Nintendo Shop channel and add the Netflix channel (which is free).

Last week I got to use the Netflix player embedded within a Blu-ray player and I was really impressed. It looked and worked great. Other ways you can access Netflix?

  • Televisions are now coming out with Netflix support (great for that TV mounted on a wall)
  • Roku (HD XD) players are now as low as $60
  • Apple TV supports Netflix in its newest version
  • Blu-ray players a plenty now have support
  • Wii, PS3 and XBox 360 all have support for it (XBL Gold required for the 360)
  • iPhones and iPads support it via the Netflix app

The single biggest problem that I think Netflix will suffer comes due to their own success. It’s not going to be the bandwidth requirements that will hurt them, but I think it will be the Hollywood studios that will threaten them. When they occupy a larger chuck of the entertainment pie, the content producers will require they they pay more (justifiably so). The question is whether the two will be able to work out an arrangement that they can both live with. That remains to be seen.

Update: It seems that I was right on target with Netflix being driven by the streaming side of the business. This little chestnut comes right from Netflix CEO:

“Q3 represents our fourth consecutive quarter of more than one million net subscriber additions.  This growth is clearly driven by the strength of our streaming offering.  In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail,? said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO.

Don’t get cocky Netflix.

New Weapons in the Console War

PS3 SlimWith the release of the Playstation 3 Slim, Sony has re-ignited the console wars. The newest version of the Playstation family is lighter, quieter and cheaper than its older brothers (of course the price has dropped on the older models as well). It’s now below the $300 mark and more in line with the other consoles in the war, the Nintendo Wii and the Microsoft XBox 360. The product itself is just hitting store floors, but the reviews have been very good for the new model. So what makes this a game changer?

Continue reading New Weapons in the Console War

Is Hulu the Future of TV?

HuluOne of the hottest sites on the web these days is Hulu.com. Founded in 2007, it provides TV shows and movies for free on their website in return for time watching their commercials. Although this sounds very familiar to the standard TV model, it’s not. First of all, you don’t have to be sitting at your computer at a specific time. You can sit down and pick the show that you want to watch. You can also pause and rewind the show, however you can’t skip the commercials. One other downside is that you don’t have access to just anything that you want, you have to pick from a limited set of shows (albeit the list is growing all the time). Remember that this is a website, so unless you have a computer connected to your living room TV (like we do), then you are required to be at your computer. Yet with all that taken into account, it’s been wildly popular with the the techie crowd and is now expanding to the “Facebook crowd”.

Continue reading Is Hulu the Future of TV?

Video Gaming Revisited

Console WarsThe Nielsen media information company recently released a report on video game usage patterns. The main points from the report were:

  • PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 attract the more engaged users, who are less likely to be watching prime time TV than users of other consoles.
  • PlayStation 2 still leads all other consoles in total minutes of usage, but continues to have the highest downward trend.  Data suggests that the PS2 will lose the top usage spot within the next few months.
  • Females 25 years and older make up the largest block of PC game players, accounting for 46.2 percent of all players and 54.6 percent of all game play minutes in December 2008. (Editors note: Very surprising.)
  • The most played games on the PC are card games from Microsoft, with Solitaire being the most played game in December 2008 with over 17 million players.

So there are a lot of gamers out there, it’s just that I don’t consider most of them gamers. Even though I’m amazed by the number of people playing card games on the PC, I really shouldn’t be since my mom plays them a lot and so does Connie’s dad. I don’t consider either of them to be real gamers (and they probably don’t consider themselves gamers either), but 17 million people like this? Go figure. To me, this group isn’t going to buy a console in the near future. They watch TV on the TV and play card games on the computer. Actually, that’s not completely accurate because there are roughly a million World of Warcraft players (almost half are female) on the PC. Since WoW isn’t on a console, I expect them to want to purchase one either.

Continue reading Video Gaming Revisited

Giving Netflix a Try

Netflix for XBOX NXEWith the release of the new XBox Experience (NXE) on Nov. 19th, Microsoft also released a Netflix Instant Watch software module. With this new piece of software, XBox Live gold subscribers that also have a Netflix account are able to watch shows on their Instant Play queue. I had tried Blockbuster’s plan recently, but when they changed their in-store exchange rules it seemed the value just wasn’t there for the lower plans. So I signed up for a NetFlix trial to see how it would compare. Continue reading Giving Netflix a Try