Netflix, Roku and Cut Cable, Oh My!, Part 2

Watching Movies At Warp Speed

Previously, I mentioned that Netflix is keeping up with the changing rental climate.  One of those changes is online viewing.  I’m a big believer that the future successor of DVDs isn’t going to be Blu-Ray or some other super-incredible-ultra-high-resolution disc, but no disc at all.  All of the pieces are in place or nearly so.  Internet speeds are fast enough in many areas to support video streaming. Video codecs can alter video quality to account for changes in bandwidth.  Wireless technology allows for devices (*cough*Roku*cough*) to stream Internet videos without needing any wires (save for the power cord).

In fact, online viewing, though I expected it would be good, completely changed how I and my family watch TV.  There is a selection of movies and television shows that are available for instant viewing.  This selection is admittedly smaller than the mailable DVD list, but the blame for that rests with content owners being reluctant to let their videos touch anything Internet-related.  Netflix is constantly adding new titles to this list, though and I suspect that the pressure to add videos to Netflix’s online selection will only increase.

When you find a title that you would like to play instantly, you simply press the Play button.  Alternatively, you can add the title to your Online Queue.  This is like the mailer queue except titles never arrive/leave.  They simply sit there for you to watch whenever you want.  As nice as computer-based viewing might be, it gets much, much better once you add a device such as a Roku.  Using that, you can stream the content right to your television screen.

In many ways, it is just as altering an experience as first getting a DVR was.  When we first got a DVR, was were amazed with the freedom that we had.  Suddenly, we didn’t *HAVE* to be at home to watch shows we liked.  We could record them and watch them later.  Now, we don’t have to be limited to what the TV networks are showing in our area.  We can watch old shows that have gone off the air, see shows from overseas or see titles that might otherwise suffer from a censors’ axe on network television.

Best of all, we can watch them without ever fiddling with discs.  If you are sitting on the couch at the end of a long day, you might not want to go over to your stack of DVDs, root through them to find the specific disc you feel like watching and then play it.  Instead, you might want to just sit on the couch, select a movie from your Instant Queue and hit play.  Netflix makes it that simple.  And with more and more devices supporting Netflix, you should be able to easily fit a Netflix streaming device into your budget.  You might even already have one in your home.

Coming up next, speaking of Netflix streaming devices…

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 3 month preview of Netflix for review purposes.  However, after my preview period, I intend to remain on as a paying Netflix member.  As stated, I won the Roku box during an online giveaway.  The reviews expressed above are my own and were not altered in any way by Netflix, Roku or anyone else.

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