In many ways I’m a bit of an old fuddy-duddy in that I tend to resist change, but gradually I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into the Century of the Fruitbat
(as Terry Pratchett would say).
The thing is that I’ve just tied my wife’s Wii to Netflix, and I have been blown away by how much use I’m getting out of this combo. Of course this may all be "old hat" to you, but if not, then read on...
For those who don’t live in the USA and/or who are not aware of Netflix (www.netflix.com
), let’s start with a very brief introduction. Netflix first appeared on the scene several years ago. At that time all they offered was a DVD service by post.
The idea is that you sign up for a monthly agreement and you specify the names of a number of DVDs in which you are interested. When one of these DVDs becomes available they send it to you. You can keep it as long as you want. When you’ve finished with it you return it in a pre-paid envelope and they send the next DVD on your list… and so on and so forth.
For one reason or another I was never much interested in this idea, although it did work for several people I know (one of the first to sign up was one of my friends who was confined to bed with ALS).
Over time, I became vaguely aware that Netflix had started to offer the ability to download videos over the Internet. However, I really didn’t pay much attention to any of this until about a month ago when I was chatting on the phone with my old chum Brian Bailey (you may have seen his guest blogs on Programmable Logic Designline).
During our conversation, Brian recommended a DVD and – while we were chatting – I ordered a copy from Amazon. In turn, I recommended a very funny British TV series called Coupling
that he had not heard about. I asked him if he wanted me to loan him my DVDs and he replied that he was already looking at it on his TV… what?
He explained that he had a Netflix account and that he could access countless DVDs and TV programs and stream them directly into his front room. So now the seed was set in my mind ... but this was still only something that I was planning on “looking into further one day soon(ish)”
And then, as fate would have it, one of my Christmas presents to my wife was a new Wii (the old one had wandered off into our son’s bedroom), because she’d seen an advert for Monopoly on the Wii and she loves to play Monopoly. As part of setting the Wii up I connected it to our wireless router. While reading the manual (yes, I do actually read the manuals because I know my wife will be testing me later ... “All I did was press this and now it’s not working”
) I discovered that I could also connect the Wii to Netflix. Hmmm...
This is actually really rather cool. For only $7.99 a month you can stream as many TV programs and DVDs as you can find the time to watch (for $2.00 more you can also have DVDs sent to you by post). I should point out that the streaming downloads are only standard resolution (not high-definition), but that works for me (I think this may be something to do with streaming it through the Wii – I’ll have to ask Brian about his setup).
Do you recall the old Science Fiction series Babylon 5
that started in the min-1990s? I used to love that program, but I missed a lot of the earlier episodes. No problem. Over the Christmas Holidays I used my Wii-Neflix combo to start watching the whole thing from the beginning. I’ve now seen 19 episodes from the first series and I can’t wait to see more... especially when the “Shadows” start to make their presence felt... the only problem is weaning my wife off her Monopoly game and prizing the Wii controller out of her hands (grin)
This is one of those things that – now I’ve dipped my toes in the water – I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it sooner. It makes me wonder what else I’m missing...