Category Archives: TiVo

Netflix, how I adore thee…

Netflix

I confess, I was late to the party on Netflix — I only became a subscriber a few months ago. No matter, Netflix has changed my movie rental and purchase patterns irreparably.

I love movies. Aside from photography, catching a movie is my favorite way to relax. Up until now, time-shifting movies via my TiVo, Amazon video on demand rental, and the occasional blu-ray purchase has worked pretty well for me.

And then I learned about Netflix Watch Instantly streaming video feature…

Watch Instantly enables Netflix users subscribed to any unlimited plan (i.e., any Netflix plan except the $4.99/monthly) to stream any Watch Instantly movie on demand (via streaming video) with no limits and no additional charges. Free is a very good price!

Good-bye, Amazon video on demand. It’s been good amazonwhile it’s lasted but I’ve found a less expensive way to satisfy my urge for instant gratification when I want to see a specific movie.

Good-bye, Comcast premium movie channels and your corresponding monthly charges. With Watch Instantly, I no longer have to plan in advance and ensure comcast the TiVo is set to record a desired movie. Since IFC and Sundance channels are included in your digital package, I can still watch Indie films to my heart’s content.

So long, monthly blu-ray purchases. While I’ll still pick up a blu-ray disc here blu-ray and there, it’s far more convenient to stream films I want to see. And I can always use my 1-disc a month unlimited Netflix plan to satisfy my desire for blu-ray goodness.

Of course, Netflix Watch Instantly isn’t for everyone.

  • The movies tend to be at least a year old — if you prefer the most recent movies, you’ll likely be disappointed.
  • Also, you’ll most likely want to stream to your TV rather than only watching on your PC/Mac – my TiVo Series 3 supports Netflix Watch Instantly. I have also heard good things about the Roku box.

For movie fans like me who love movies of nearly any genre and release date, Netflix’s Watch Instantly is too good of a deal to pass up. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend subscribing to Netflix for a trial period to check it out. If you’re a movie lover, I’m betting you’ll like it!

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Kudos to Comcast! Now, keep it up…

2008-08-29_1400 As a Comcast high-speed Internet (HSI) customer, I read yesterday’s announcement of a 250GB cap with mixed feelings. I consume data in a variety of ways using my laptop: Via surfing, uploading photos, downloading video (legally, mind you), etc. However, I also have a TiVo and PS3 which receive over the air firmware updates and provide a means of downloading video and (for the PS3), games.

Do I know how much data I consume each month? Nope, no idea. Do I think it’s within the 250GB cap… probably. Hopefully. As far as reliable, high-speed Internet goes, Comcast is really the only game in town in my neighborhood and I have no interest in attempting to surpass their 250GB cap.

As anyone who reads DSLreports.com is aware, Comcast has had a data cap for a long time; they’ve just not communicated it previously to their general customer base.  Post after post on dslreports.com describe frustration with Comcast notifying high use customers of exceeding their reasonable use policy, but not communicating just *what* the cap was.

So, this week, Comcast took a significant step forward, embraced transparency, and told its customers:

1) We do, indeed, have a data cap on our HSI accounts

2) That cap is 250GB

And for that I say: Kudos, Comcast!

Why? Well, clearly the cap isn’t anything new. What is new: Comcast management has changed its stance on transparency, and is responding to customers’ desire to understand their account limits. Consumers benefit when companies embrace transparency.

What should Comcast do next? Clearly, most Comcast customers use less than the capped amount of data. However, we want to be sure – for that, we need Comcast to share our  individual usage metrics with us, so we can monitor our usage. I’d love to see a Comcast online tool I could log into to see how many gigs of data I’ve used so far each month. AT&T does this for my wireless account – I can check on my voice minute usage as well as data usage. Why couldn’t Comcast do this?

So, as much as I applaud Comcast’s announcement and the transparency it displays, I challenge Comcast to go all the way… Empower us, your customers, by helping us understand our usage via online easy-to-use self-service tools.