kevin
@ January 27, 2009


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While we're on the topic of abusive relationships with game consoles, I've been profoundly disappointed with the Xbox 360's crappiness at streaming video.  The original Xbox, after you got it modded, was the greatest media center known to man, so going from that to no streaming anything ever sucked ass.  Oh all the technology was there, but you could only stream .WMV files.  Raise your hand if you've ever willingly downloaded a WMV file.  Ok, you're a Microsoft employee, stop reading this blog and go play with your Zune.  And fix user control caching in AJAX UpdatePanels too!

But those of us who aren't owned body, heart, and soul by Bill Gates download divx/xvid Avi files.  And to get them into a 360 readable format required a several hour long conversion process, and the result looked like you were trying to watch over the air TV with a broken antenna.  Then TVersity came out, which basically converted your stuff to WMV on the fly.  It worked, but it raped your computer's CPU and looked even worse than manual conversions.  And you couldn't fast forward or skip around at all.

Then they announced that the 360 dashboard was getting an update to play divx files!  Except you needed a Windows Media Extender, and you had to do it through Media Player on your computer, which was a huge pain in the ass.  It took me over 4 hours to do it, and I actually knew more or less what I was doing.  It worked ok but Vista's firewall would keep blocking it so you had to do a lengthy process every time you wanted to use it.

Then last Thanksgiving came around.  Another dashboard update, but this time it would let Netflix subscribers use the Instant Streaming feature directly to your 360.  And sweet zombie jesus, it works!  And it works perfectly.  It's trivially simple to use, has a slick enough UI, and the video quality is great  If your internet connection is fast and stable it's roughly DVD quality with minimal buffering times.  It not only lets you skip around easily, but remembers how much you've watched.  So if you load up a TV show, it'll show a list of titled episodes with synopses and show which ones you've watched and which you haven't.

The selection is pretty good, and getting better every day.  I think there's also a similar deal with Sony so you can probably do it on your PS3 too.  I'm a horrible netflix user, I've had Krzysztof Kieślowski's Colours trilogy out for almost 9 months while still paying fees.  But this retroactively makes all that money I've blown worthwhile.

And what's the first thing you should watch?

Seasons 1+2 of 30 Rock, naturally, available in HD!


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Me, I dream of getting an AppleTV and putting Boxee on it so I can watch anything on Hulu and also LOST. And, if they ever figure out Netflix streaming for Boxee on AppleTV, you can bet your ass it'll end up there, too.

But me getting an AppleTV right now is just as likely as me getting a 360, since I have no job and therefore no money.

I was very anti-Netflix (on a personal basis) for a very long time. I felt it was a waste of money, because rather than paying 15 bucks for six months for the pleasure of having Kieślowski's Three Colors Trilogy out on rental, I could swing onto DVDplanet and pick up the box set for around $30.

The Xbox 360 dashboard update made me sign up for a free trial. It sucked at first -- I could only get one bar on a fast cable connection. They fixed that, now I get four bars, and the HD stuff looks pretty decent -- probably better than cable TV HD stations, but not as good as satellite (and certainly not as good as HD DVD or Blu-ray...)

So yeah, Netflix streaming makes the service worth the ten bucks a month (yeah, I'm on the one-disc plan...) I also tore through all of 30 Rock's first two seasons in about a week, which has paid for the service... currently have the first disc of Dexter season 1 (on Blu-ray!) on loan and a ton of movies in my Instant Queue.

iPhone owners may want to consider Movie Flick from the App store -- $1.99 queue manager that works quite well, and lets you rate things.

And for us Mac people who own the 360, Nullriver makes "Connect360," which facilitates video, photo (iPhoto library), and music (iTunes library) with the 360. The free version lets you share up to five videos at once... it's all I need, as music is handled by the Airport Express and the iPhone Remote app, and all my photos are in Lightroom and therefore not easily shareable.

So yeah, I also approve of Netflix sharing. It's getting built into some Blu-ray players by LG, and there is a Roku set-top box for $100.

Now, give me Hulu and I'm in heaven. I still have a modded Xbox-classic around, can you add Hulu to XBMC?

I actually just ran into this:

"This is the latest release of Xbox Media Center (T3CH XBMC 2009-01-25 SVN rev17349) which now supports YouTube. I have also installed a Hulu plugin that lets you stream any of the videos from the website. The interfaces for these are a little crude, but work pretty damn well and the Hulu plugin totally removes all commercials!

Okay so this is how it works:

1. First of all you need a modded Xbox and FTP access to it. Your Xbox needs to be connected to the internet through a router.
2. Once you can make it into your box, upload the XBMC folder to your apps folder.
3. Run XBMC from your dashboard of choice.
- To play YouTube videos, select Plugins from the main menu, then select YouTube3
- To play Hulu videos, go to Video and select Video Plugins then Hulu"

Good excuse for not being around...LOVE band of brothers and cannot wait for the new season :)

am i the only one who couldnt give two shits about the ''royal wedding''?

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