Tag Archives: netflix

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD 1080p Netflix Media Player / Streamer Review

Western Digital made news with its WD TV Live Plus launch, supporting Netflix for the first time in company’s product line of media streamers / players. Seagate is a direct competitor with its own FreeAgent boxes and recently they launched its new member, Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player. A rather long name, accompanied by a similarly long feature list, FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player also includes clients for YouTube, Paramount, vTuner, Mediafly, Picasa, Flickr, RSS, Finance and Weather widgets and, of course, just like its direct competitor, WD TV Live Plus, it plays close to 100% audio/video codecs available. What differentiates it though from the WD is the ability to connect directly to Seagate’s own GoFlex ultra portable storage devices  altough how much benefit the average user would get remains to be seen, since the unit also features the way more popular USB ports. I’ll never understand why, from a practical perspective companies are still insisting to lock customers in a proprietary format and get a lot of hate in the process.

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Western Digital WD TV Live Plus 1080p Media Player/Streamer Review

1. Introduction

I am using a Windows Media Center HTPC in living-room, where my main home theater system resides, but I wanted to be able to access Netflix/home network content in the bedroom as well, and, due to obvious reasons a full featured PC didn’t quite cut it (noise, form factor, etc). I just wanted something simple, low power and fast to boot, something that my wife will also enjoy. I was familiar with Western Digital’s line of media streamers, but they only supported Netflix via DLNA, when combined with something like PlayOn. Not user friendly enough. Then, the big day has come and WD released their WD TV Live Plus media streamer finally including  Netflix. (Netflix is now what mp3 used to be a while ago, a must have for everything that connects to the TV – Blu-ray players, media streamers, etc) Read More…

New slim XBOX 360 available at Amazon

After several days of drastically reduced prices for the older packages (Arcade version sliding as low as $149 with $50 gift card), Amazon finally has the new and slim XBOX 360 available for pre-order, at $299 with free shipping and no taxes in most states. The title is Xbox 360 250GB Elite Console and it is advertised as “Kinect ready” – basically is has a special port for the new Kinect controller-free device that would allow you to use only one power adapter.

The new XBOX 360 is smaller that the predecessor and whisper quiet, making it a better fit for your entertainment center. It scores a spacious 250GB hard drive and integrated wireless-N adapter.

XBOX Live Gold membership card gives you access to additional features like Netflix HD client, Facebook client, Twitter and starting this fall, ESPN HD. There are rumors also about a possible HULU integration, but we need to see it first.

Netflix capable Viewsonic’s VMP75 1080p Network Media Player available for pre-order

Behold yet another Netflix capable media streamer, the newly launched Viewsonic VMP75. Remember when every little device had to have mp3 playing capability or else wouldn’t sell? Well, a number of years later the trend shifted toward Netflix capability. Everything from Blu-ray players, connected TVs and media streamers has to support Netflix…And I like it. The question is of course, prices being fairly similar, how to differentiate from the competitors? Viewsonic adds support for ShoutCast radio for example…and, surprise: an Internet Browse (but not flash compatible). Available for pre-order now at Amazon. Photo Gallery / Specs available after the break.

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After Popbox is delayed, Boxee Box says me too

Supposedly Popbox was to be released in March, then in June ( I know, I pre-ordered it); then Netflix completely disappeared from the list of Popbox supported services and the company is eerily quiet about the Netflix certification progress (which made me cancel my pre-order and get the new Western Digital TV Live Plus HD which has Netflix and mostly all other codecs supported). Anyway, apparently happy to establish a trend, Boxee declared their CES 2010 plans overly ambitious and pushed the release date further back in November. Part of the  hardware platform is the new Nvidia Tegra 2 chip which should support 1080p GPU hardware acceleration and Flash 10.1 (which should support the above mentioned acceleration). An important feature of the Boxee Box is the QWERTY remote control designed to make media navigation easier, similar with the one Dish Network cancelled recently.

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WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player launched with Netflix support

Yet another device gets the now mandatory Netflix support, which is of course a good news for everybody. The highly rated WD TV Live media streamer line adds a new member, WD TV Live Plus HD and it really shines. Among the most important features are DLNA client, support for web clients like: YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, daily video podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV, ESPN. With HDMI output and support for full HD (1080p), WD TV Live line is capable of playing for a long time already the most popular codecs. Available for pre-order at Amazon for $120 with free shipping and no taxes. I just pre-ordered it myself, so check back soon for a full review. Check after the break for photo gallery and technical details including the full list of codecs supported.

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Netflix started to ship Wii Instant Streaming discs

Just got an e-mail from NETFLIX stating that instant streaming discs for Wii are now available. So, if you are one of the many Wii owners, you can reserve your on NETFLIX Wii website. Currently NETFLIX also ships instant streaming DVDs for PS3. Due to an agreement with Microsoft, they cannot embed the NETFLIX client in any other gaming console until late this year, so they are using the streaming discs solution instead. The minimum price for a plan including unlimited streaming is $8.99/mo and also includes one physical disc at a time shipped at home.

Top connected DVD/Blu-ray players of 2010 – a buyer’s guide

In case you haven’t heard, Blu-ray won the format war and the prices are finally at the level where everybody should be able to afford them. Streaming movies becomes increasingly popular and the mighty NETFLIX appears on more and more connected devices. Today, we will take a look at the latest and greatest mainstream connected Blu-ray players from major manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.

Before going into details, we’ll talk a little bit more about what a connected device is and what you need to take full advantage of its full functionality.

As more and more entertainment Internet services started to get popular, and I am talking about movie/music streaming and pictures, a lot of people figured it out that it makes a lot of sense if they somehow can be integrated in the home theater systems. At the beginning, the most technologically gifted consumers used HTPC (and they still do) but having a PC in the living room is not for everybody. A lot of media streaming doesn’t require a lot of tinkering and configurations so the big electronics manufacturers  looked to embed various clients into their connected Blu-ray players or TV lines. The first big company to push for such clients was, you guessed, NETFLIX. The first NETFLIX set-top-box was provided by Roku, and made history, but Read More…

NetFlix Wii streaming discs shipped, also HD content for PC this year?

Today we got some interesting news from NetFlix. The first one is related to Wii. It seems that finally, the streaming discs that would enable NetFlix access on Wii are shipping, so expect to get them by tomorrow (if you requested them, of course). If you didn’t, you can do it right now here.

The second news is actually more a rumor. A Hacking NetFlix post mentions that HD content could be available on the PC this year, and that, the lack of availability now is due to content restrictions. We’ll wait and see how this one will turn out to be. A while ago, NetFlix also mentioned for this year the availability of 5.1 digital sound, so it might actually happen. The technology is here, in any case. I think the best NetFlix experience is via the Windows Media Center plug-in, so let us hope that HD content comes soon.

You can also request NetFlix PS3 streaming discs here. By the end of the year though, PS3 should have a native application that wouldn’t require a disc to stream NetFlix content.

My new connected TV, LG 60PS80

Well, well, guess what, I got myself a new TV. With the reluctant acceptance of my wife, I went on Amazon (which at the time had a pretty good deal including free shipping and interest free for a year) and I bought the LG 60PS80 Netcast connected TV.

Without going into details about image quality, sound and so on (there are already a number of sites concentrating on this aspect and I am not the type of person to hunt for minor differences) I want to talk a little bit about the connected part. According to some recent articles, about a quarter of the TVs sold/launched this year are connected. That means they have wired/wireless network connection and a number of clients embedded that support popular services.

This particular TV supports the following clients:

NETFLIX – Arguably the most popular movie streaming service in the world. NETFLIX can be accessed currently on a large number of   TVs, set-top boxes and it might come very soon on iPhone.

There are two main interfaces implemented to access NETFLIX. The so-called Version 1.0 displays your current queue and that’s about it. If you want to see something not currently available in your instant queue, you need to go to your PC and add movies to it. Not necessarily a hard thing to do but I don’t want to access my computer when I am watching TV.

The NETFLIX interface version 2.0 (similar with the one implemented on XBOX 360, PS3 and 7MC) allows you to browse and select movies from multiple categories, so you are not limited only to the movies from your instant queue.

Well, unfortunately LG 60PS80 has only NETFLIX 1.0 so you are stuck with the old style interface. Version 2.0 is available on LG 2010’s TV line and they don’t seem willing to update the firmware for 2009 line (even if the price paid, around $2000 would entitle someone to better support, at least during the first year of ownership). From this perspective, LG as a company seems to not care too much once they sell you a product. I have seen this behavior on their DVD/Blu-ray players as well. However, while I can imagine buying a new Blu-ray player every year, especially with the costs going down, I’ll certainly won’t get another TV for the next 5 years (my wife could read this post 😀 ). OK, enough ranting.

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