Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Netflix on Windows Media Center

Microsoft just released the ability to stream Netflix movies to Vista Media Center.  This is something that Microsoft had implemented in the New Xbox Experience last year.

These implementations allow you to play videos that are on your Netflix instant queue.  It looks like Microsoft did a more functional implementation for Media Center, than what exists on the Xbox .  In addition to letting you play content that is already on your queue, you can browse the whole library of videos available for streaming.  Also, you can manage both your disc and streaming queues.



I did have some problems with my initial setup though.  When the Netflix icon appeared on our computer this afternoon, every time I clicked on it, the Sports Channel application would launch.  After I shutdown Media Center, and relaunched it, I was able to launch the Netflix application.

On the first launch it launched the installer.  I had to use a mouse and keyboard to finish the installation. (This is not ideal, as I normally only use the remote. When the software was installed, a reboot was required.  When the computer booted up, I noticed the next "problem."  There are now two Netflix icons.  One of them attempts to reinstall the needed software, and the other actually launches the Netflix UI.

The other problem that I had occured when I attempted to play a video.  The playback would get stuck in "Buffering."  The problem is that there was a Silverlight dialog asking if I wanted to enable playback support for DRM'd content.  You will not see this with the Media Center UI.  Once I minimzed that, I was able to enable DRM content playback support.  Once I did that, playback works perfectly.

I am excited about this, as it brings me one step closer to canceling Comcast.  Netflix has a lot of TV shows available, and I could see canceling many of the series recordings for the kids shows that we record.  The major feature that I want, and I am sure that Microsoft is working on it, is Microsoft to support Hulu integration in Media Center.

Since the Media Center integration uses Silverlight, playback is not supported on Media Center Extenders.  Since this is available with PlayOn and vmcPlayIt, I may use that solution for Extenders.

[via We Got Served]