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Archive for the ‘Netflix’ Category

Blockbuster offers $1B for Circuit City

Posted by lozenp on April 14, 2008

Blockbuster today made public its offer to purchase the little sister of the consumer electronics industry, Circuit City, for $1billion. Blockbuster made the original, unsolicited offer on Feb. 17, but has not gotten a response from Circuit City since that time and has been unable to move forward. Making the offer public seems to be a move aimed at putting pressure on Circuit City from its shareholders, who are reeling from a stock price that has fallen from $19 last year to a low of $3.44 last month.

It’s an interesting move from Blockbuster, who has had struggles of it’s own recently trying to keep up with the likes of Netflix. Blockbuster’s closed more than 250 stores last year alone. Add this to last week’s news that Blockbuster was looking to announce it’s own set-top box and you have a company that appears to be trying anything to shake things up. At least now it would have a place to sell that shiny new STB.

Posted in Blockbuster, Circuit City, Netflix | 2 Comments »

In case you missed it

Posted by lozenp on April 12, 2008

It’s been a busy week that’s kept me from posting a lot. So, in an effort to keep you up to speed, here’s some things you might have missed if you weren’t paying attention:

PS3 adds DTS-HD Master Audio – It’s becoming harder to argue that the PS3 isn’t the best Blu-Ray player available. This week comes news that the console will be adding DTS-HD Master Audio support (as well as DTS-HD High Resolution). Interstingly, the PS3 encodes the signal internally but can’t pass it bit for bit to your receiver (yet), but the jury is still out on if passing that signal straight through will actually sound better. Either way, this is exciting news for Blu-Ray fans and PS3 owners. Prepare to crank that volume knob.

Blockbuster announcing set-top box – The way things are going I might have my own set-top box in the near future. Everyone seems to be announcing these things lately, and my gear rack is already full. Netflix announced one a while back, but there’s been no movement on that one. Meanwhile, Blockbuster is set to announce this one next month, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Wal-Mart, Amazon join the HD DVD rebate game – Circuit City and Best Buy have already been running programs, and word came this week that Amazon and Wal-Mart would join the fracus. Amazon sent people a $50 gift certificate in the mail, Wal-Mart will be allowing refunds, with receipts, on purchases made after Nov. 1, 2007.

Also last week, the first BD-Live titles were released. Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and The Sixth Day both came out. Unfortunately, for HD DVD adopters like me who were used to a mostly flawless online experience with HDi discs, the results so far for both BD-Live titles have been less than spectacular, with most users reporting long (we’re talking 4-5 minues) load times on online content. Hopefully this is something that gets better with time.

Posted in Amazon, Best Buy, Blockbuster, Blu Ray, HD DVD, HDTV, Home Theater, Netflix, Wal-Mart | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Netflix on the 360? Possible announcement tomorrow

Posted by lozenp on February 19, 2008

The rumors have been flying fast and furious lately about Netflix and Microsoft hooking up to offer Netflix’s instant watch features via the Xbox 360 for Netflix members. A report on MSNBC today hints that an announcement might come tomorrow morning during the Microsoft keynote at the Game Developer’s Conference.

The rumors popped back up after Netflix sent out a user poll asking people if they would be interested in instantly watching movies on their Xbox. A similar poll went out asking the same question with a Playstation flavor.

While this would be an awesome add on for Netflix subscribers, I tend to agree with Dave Zatz of Zatznotfunny.com that this marriage is a long way off, if it even happens at all. Zatz brings up two valid points:

1. Microsoft offers movies via the Xbox Live Marketplace already, adding Netflix would either create competition for itself or likely signal an end to Microsoft offering movies itself.

2. Netflix has been talking for a while now about a set-top box and that hasn’t appeared yet.

I’ll certainly be paying close attention to the Microsoft keynote tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll update the site with any news tomorrow.

Posted in computers, Netflix, Xbox 360 | 3 Comments »

Watch out for the limits in Netflix’s “Unlimited” watch now downloads

Posted by lozenp on February 16, 2008

One of Netflix’s big draws for many people is the “Instant Watch” feature. Members get access to more than 6,000 movies and TV shows that they can watch instantly on their PC. On all but the cheapest monthly plan, Netflix claims the service is unlimited.

But much like there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there might be no such thing as unlimited either. While it’s true that there’s no limit to the amount of movies or shows you can download, there is a limit to how many places you can watch them from.

After setting up a PC in my home theater the other night I attempted to watch an episode of 30 Rock from Netflix. After installing the player and choosing an episode, I got a popup saying Netflix had detected that I’ve tried to watch movies from multiple computers and that I needed to call tech support to ensure my account hadn’t been hacked.

Turns out, I had bumped into a little-known limit on the number of computers you can access instant watch features from. After calling tech support (and waiting more than an hour on hold) I found out you can only install the service on four computers. Tech support will allow you to increase the limit to five.

But here’s the kicker: unlike Apple’s iTunes which allows you to deauthorize a computer, the instant you access a Netflix Watch it Now feature, that computer is one of your four for an entire year, like it or not. No deleting, no removing, no deauthorizing. So if you’re like me and wanted to show off the feature to friends at work, have a laptop and a desktop at home, you can run up those four computers really quick. On my Windows Vista laptop, each user account counts toward your four.

Had Netflix disclosed this, no problem. If it was in the FAQ on the site, ok. But I tried to find information related to it on the site and came up empty (let me know if you found anything). The tech support guy (who was actually very helpful, insightful and sympathetic) told me this was a measure the studios imposed on Netflix, which I don’t doubt. Just seems to me Netflix could have been a bit more upfront about it, and for goodness sake, allow users to remove computers from their list or at least add it to their site somewhere.

Drop a comment if you’ve run into this yourself.

Posted in computers, HDTV, Home Theater, Netflix | 52 Comments »