Archive for August, 2008:
For those that don’t know, early this year Netflix started offering movies from their library for downloading or streaming. Currently there are over 12,000 movies and TV show box sets that you can watch instantly on your PC. Of course, most people prefer to watch movies on their TV, which is where this blog post comes in.
The movies range from black and white classics to recent Oscar winners, although most movies are older. The TV shows include cult hits like Xena Warrior Princess, 80′s classic like Night Rider and The Incredible Hulk, and current shows like Heroes and The Office. As for pricing, the basic $8.99 a month Netflix service will get you unlimited streaming PLUS one DVD at a time through the mail. This is the package I’m on, and I use the online portion to stream TV shows and older movies and request the new releases I can’t stream through the mail. Hopefully, some day we can eliminate those pesky discs altogether and be able to stream any movie we want for one low flat-rate monthly fee.
Netflix has announced their service will be coming to Xbox Live late this fall, but you can actually stream Netflix movies on your Xbox now if you have a copy of Windows Vista on your PC. All you have to do is download a copy of the Windows Vista Media Center plug-in called VmcNetFlix and follow the directions on their website. I use the program myself to stream Netflix movies to my TV and it’s worked great for me so far. The only issue I had installing the program is that it didn’t work until I set IE7 as the default browser on my PC rather than Firefox but that is clearly stated in the troubleshooting instructions.
Personally, I don’t use the 360 option as I have an actual PC hooked up to my LCD TV through HDMI. This is probably the best method for watching Internet videos on your TV because you can watch any format movie and aren’t limited to only watching formats compatible with Windows Media Center. However, if you don’t have a spare PC running Windows Vista that you can hook up to your TV, an Xbox 360 is the next best thing, but still requires a Vista PC running somewhere on your network.
The Xbox 360 is a Media Center Extender, which means it can be used to access movies, mp3s, and photos stored on Windows Media Center machines on your network. This also holds true with the Netflix Media Center plug-in, which allows you to stream Netflix videos to your TV through your Xbox 360 once it’s installed on your PC. If you have Windows Vista Media Center, you can watch Netflix on your Xbox 360 now. If not, I recommend trying it out this fall when it comes to the Xbox Live service. Note, however, that you’ll have to pay for both an Xbox Live Gold subscription and a Netflix subscription, while with my method all you need is the Netflix subscription.
Well, the rumors have been circulating for about a month now with a decent amount of evidence, but the final piece of evidence needed to convince me was a scan of an upcoming Radio Shack ad that listed the new 360 prices. I think it’s save to say at this point that come Sept. 7, 2008, the new Xbox 360 prices will go into effect:
Arcade – $199
Pro (60 gig) – $299
Elite (120 gig) – $399
This news has caused new speculation on the pricing of the discontinued 20 gig models that are currently $299 and still collecting dust in many stores. Likely, this older model will get a price drop as well, as otherwise why would anyone pay the same price for a 20 gig model as the 60 gig model? I’ve got over $400 store credit available at Blockbuster/Gamerush saved up from trading in used games. I was going to get a 20 gig 360 for $299 a couple of weeks ago until I stumbled across the price drop rumor. Now, I’m definitely glad I waited.
Besides a price drop, the current 360 models are built using new technology and are less likely to overheat or get the red ring of death, according to gamer sites.
For those who have been holding out on getting a next gen system, the magic $199 price point for the Xbox 360 Arcade bundle may finally get them to jump into the current generation of gaming. Also, the announcement that Netflix is bringing their streaming DVD service to the 360 late this fall is sure to create a few converts as well. I already have the Netflix streaming service on my PC (which is hooked up to a 50″ HDTV), and it’s a great service, although the selection of current movies is very limited. If you like classics, TV box sets, or don’t mind watching movies that are several years old, the selection is great. If you want to watch movies that just came out on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Well, it comes as no surprise to most that the alleged Bigfoot corpse that made headlines for the last couple weeks has turned out to be a hoax. It seems extremely unlikely that a creature the size of Bigfoot living in regions populated by humans could have remained undiscovered all these years. Shouldn’t we have a body, indisputable video footage, droppings, bones, or some other tangible evidence by now? Still, if you’re like Fox Mulder and want to believe, there are sites out there where you can meet like-minded researchers and Bigfoot afficianados.
Bigfoot Wikipedia Page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigfoot
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization – http://www.bfro.net/
Bigfoot Encounters – http://www.bigfootencounters.com/
The Shadowlands Bigfoot Page – http://theshadowlands.net/bf.htm
The Skeptic’s Dictionary Bigfoot Entry – http://www.skepdic.com/bigfoot.html
Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers – http://188.8.131.52/~skookum/
Willow Creek-China Flat Museum – http://bigfootcountry.net/home/
Loren Coleman, Cryptozoologist – http://www.lorencoleman.com/
Bigfoot Lives – http://www.bigfoot-lives.com/
The Bigfoot Discovery Project – http://www.bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/
Skeptic World Bigfoot Page – http://www.skepticworld.com/cryptozoology/big-foot.asp
A friend of mine sent me an invitation to Dropbox today, which is basically a site where you can store your digital files online for the convenience of accessing them from any computer in the world. I’d heard a little about the site but hadn’t been actively seeking an invite like many seem to be on various message boards I frequent. Still, free is free, so I gladly used my beta code to try out the service today.
It takes about a minute to fill out the form to sign up for an account and maybe another 30 seconds (depending on the speed of your Internet connection and PC) to install the Dropbox software. Once installed, a Dropbox icon is added to your System Tray at the bottom of your screen, as well as a folder located in your Windows Documents. Drag and drop any file into the Dropbox and it will be quickly uploaded to your online account, accessible by logging into the website or installing the shortcut application on another PC.