Showing posts with label Roku. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roku. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Downgraded Netflix Account

Netflix recently changed their account pricing for their accounts that include streaming and DVDs. Here is a snippet from the email that I received:
Your current $17.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs (including Blu-ray access) will be split into 2 distinct plans:

Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs (including Blu-ray), 2 out at-a-time (no streaming)
for $14.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $22.98 a month ($7.99 + $14.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

This got me thinking about how we have been using the Netflix service.  We love Netflix streaming, especially since we cancelled our cable television service.  Our kids can always find a kids show that they will like, and generally my wife and I can find something that we enjoy.  But we haven't been using the disc part of our service.

We have had the same two Blue-Ray discs sitting in our entertainment center for several months.  Obviously, this is the type of customer that Netflix like, as they don't have to pay for mailing costs, but are still receiving our monthly payment.

Often if we want to watch a recent movie, we will rent a movie through Amazon Video on Demand through our Roku box.  The selection through Amazon is pretty good, especially for newer releases.

With the change in plan, I have taken the opportunity to downgrade our Netflix account to streaming only.  Since we have been using Amazon Video on Demand for recent release, we won't miss the discs.  And in the cases that we want to get a movie on disc, we can always go to our nearest Redbox.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Roku XD|S

I have been interested in streaming content for a while. I have installed PlayOn and the tubeCore Windows Media Center plugin to view TV content. This is not an ideal experience.

With tubeCore, the user interface to browse the list of shows and episodes is pretty simple. For example, the meta data about the episodes is not shown. Also, I was never able to get reliable streaming though PlayOn and tubeCore.  Often, I would need to try to play a stream twice in order for it to play successfully.

The Roku XD|S looked like it would be a perfect way to watch content that is available on-line.  With the Roku, you have easy access to Netflix streaming, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu and other content.  I like the hardware, as it is very quiet, and is small enough for me to use on any of our TVs.

The setup was pretty painless, and I was up and running with several of the content providers within 30 minutes of starting the setup process.  Where the content partners provided HD content, the picture quality was good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rumor: Microsoft TV

There are rumors that Microsoft will introduce a video streamer box at CES this year:

http://twitter.com/#!/slashgear/status/22224742257790977

I think that this could be a pretty good product that I would like. I think that this could be something that would help simplify my setup.

Announcement hopes:


Here is what I hope the announcement will be:

  • The box will be about the size of a Roku or Apple TV

  • It would run a version of Windows that has been stripped to only allow Windows Media Center to run.

    • Windows Media Center already supports Netflix streaming

    • Windows Media Center plugins would still be allowed to run

    • This would help prevent software conflicts

    • The box would automatically update itself from Microsoft's servers



  • These devices would also be Media Center Extenders

    • This would allow you to buy a few of them for a house, and be able to watch the same content in all rooms.



  • There would be two SKUs.  One with a hard drive for content, and one that would only stream content from other sources.

    • The SKU with the hard drive would allow the user to store content, and playback from the local hard drive.



  • These would also support Zune Marketplace to get access to video and audio content (as the Xbox 360 does).

  • These devices would also be UPnP AV client.

  • These would support USB or UPnP TV tuners, to allow viewing or recording (for the SKU that has the hard drive) of TV content.


Since Microsoft already has the Xbox, this device would need to be cheaper than the existing versions of the Xbox.  I would think that the version without the hard drive would be $100, and the version with the hard drive would be $200.

Pie-in-the-sky hopes:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

PlayOn on Roku

I have mentioned PlayOn before, as the way that we are getting a lot of our television content.  We use PlayOn to view content from Hulu and SyFy channel. Since PlayOn is a UPnP server , we are able to play this content on our Xbox or on our Media Center PC.

It looks like Roku is getting access to PlayOn content.  The addition of the content that Roku already had, the addition of  PlayOn, makes Roku a credible solution for cancelling cable or satellite service.

I am not sure if once you set the Roku up to access PlayOn content, if you need to leave the PC running to access the content.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Netflix and Windows Media Center

For some reason, within the past couple of days Netflix streaming in our Vista Media Center stopped working.  The interesting thing is that playback worked from the browser and from PlayOn, both from that computer.  Nothing that I did solved the problem.  I was getting so frustrated that I wanted to just get a Roku HD, so I wouldn't have to deal with software configuration anymore.

As one last ditch effort, I wanted to upgrade to Windows 7 to see if would fix Netflix streaming.  If it didn't, I would go get a cheap Comcast DVR, and a Roku HD box for each TV.

The upgrade to Windows 7 went smoothly, and I am now able to stream Netflix content.  Also Windows 7 Media Center adds other Internet TV sources.  In addition to those things, the redone UI is very nice.

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