Monday, January 26, 2009

Netflix update and the "Experiment"

I wanted to let everyone know that my Netflix experience has been fixed...
I am unsure of what the issues were, as nothing changed on my end, except cabling up. Meaning, I have hardwired the main systems in my living room to the router...
But...
I have my son's PC on wireless with only a 36Mbit connection and signal ratio in the 80's, and he has had no drop outs or loss of picture quality.
As well, before the last weekend, even though I had gone Ethernet, I was still experiencing issues, but all of a sudden...they disappeared (on PC).
But...
My Xbox still every once in a while states I have only 1 bar of service, which means my full sized video is the quality of a low res Youtube video expanded to 1080p. I.E: UGLY!
So, while not perfect, all of our movies and videos load up instantly on PC, and the quality is full bars (now, only if Netflix could fix the other issue of some shows having sound issues...like the voice not matching the lip movement....and other oddities).
Another problem, as I found out the hard way, there seems to be a limitation on how many PC's can run at once. If you click through 36 links, as a technician had me do on their website, there is a hidden notice that states only one movie may be streamed at a time.
Otherwise, be prepared to be locked out.
Yea, still have quibbles, but I will live. Still, at least can watch some of my shows..

Which brings me to the "Experiment".
In December, we made a conscious decision to get rid of "standard" television, and see how we could survive using only internet streaming.
The constant rise in fees for Cable really drives you insane, and Satellite is not my cup of tea.

This is a savings of 60 bucks a month.

Of course, we pay 9 bucks for Netflix, but we would be doing this anyways, so we have resorted to learning how to access other ways of watching TV without having service.
I live in the mountains, so antenna service is out...no OTA (Over The Air) for us.

So, we have moved to several avenues of show watching.

The first, and BEST of the bunch is Hulu from NBC.
This service has become more impressive by the day. With regular network shows from Fox, NBC, Comedy Central and then short film affairs from Fear.net or other "Webisodes", we have quite a bit of control over our viewing.
You can "subscribe" to shows, and be notified when they have new episodes. We also can queue up shows (very important for the Webisodes, as to prevent downtime opening up episodes, and can get an almost linear like procession of the episodes.)
Hulu also offers older movies, and with minimal interruptions from commercials, I have no issue watching the shows this way. Thanks to 1080P, I feel the playback is more than acceptable, and the on demand style of viewing makes for a more pleasurable experience.

The next is Fancast, which tries to bring all of the different networks together under one roof. With movie trailers, TV shows from the other networks who do no stream through Hulu (like ABC, CBS), and of course specialized networks with vidcasts (podcasts of video) like Diggnation, this one rounds out the set of regular viewing.

For our son, we set up links to Cartoon Network, Toonami's stream and Nicktoons on his PC (but he can also get Hulu, etc...).
He also has the Youtube addiction watching the Halo machinama and he is interested in making his own little videos (he has one of the quick plug Vidcams that stores 4 gb of video, and is a very good quality)...he is having a blast with it.

So far, we have not had too many issues. We know Internet uptime may not be the best, thus the reason we kept Netflix (rentals win for downtime). But, I also have not had an internet outage in months.
And the savings are really worth it. I think IPTV is a future we can live with, and I feel no need to go back to the "leash" of high Cable bills.

Anyways, I hope to do a Weekend wrap up later, as I really was busy.
Also, for those "Horror" fans, the Resident Evil 5 demo hit Xbox live, and with CO-OP (a first for Horror Survival) we, of course, expect a massive ton of fun with this. We will be looking at a wireless mic solution for the wife, who will enjoy herself thoroughly telling myself and my son what to do (as we plan to team up)...

Can't wait!

1 comment:

Scott said...

OH.MY.GAWD

I hereby issue a bounty on RE5's mental midget designers who actually thought their control/camera scheme was good. Or playable. I want them banned from the industry for life.

So much for wanting that game...