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Netflix Box...

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    Netflix Box...

    Wow, I expected there to some heavy discussion about this over here.

    First Netflix Streaming Box Review, $100 and Unlimited Downloads!



    Install
    You boot up the box, set the network to wireless or ethernet connectivity. You get a 5 digit code, head over to netflix.com/activate using a browser on a PC or other device, log into your Netflix account and enter the code. The Roku box gets your queue and the movie/show cover art. There are HDMI and optical connections on top of the standard video outs, but those cables are not included.

    Using
    The box itself doesn't have menus. No, instead, you use Netflix's brilliant website to load up your queue. You just use the remote to scan through your instant viewing queue (now separate from the disc queue) select a movie and play. It starts streaming. (Remember, there's no download/purchase program here and the device has no HDD, just 64MB of buffer.) The box is completely quiet, again, due to its fanless design. Movies stream in at different VC-1 bitrates of 500kbps, 1Mbps, 1.6Mbps and 2.2Mbps, depending on connection speed. Quality is not great, even at 2.2 Mbps, but I'm happy enough considering viewing is instantaneous. Note: Unlike Apple TV, scrolling between cover art is not done in an animated way. HDMI res is 480p, while all the other outputs are 480i. Fast forwarding is handled by key-framing movie content every 10 seconds, so you can FF to parts of the movie that haven't been downloaded yet, at three speeds. Once you hit play, the movie buffers for a few seconds and resumes. Speaking of resuming, the player itself does remember where you left off last in a movie and will continue playing from that point. One nice touch: You can score movies from the movie detail page. One bad thing: You can't search the Netflix website specifically for instant titles.

    Choices
    While appearing to have double the collection of Apple TV of Vudu, what do you get in Netflix's 10,000 movie collection? Basically, you get a lot of back catalog (classic movies) and a lot of TV shows (unheard of in rental situations!) right as they hit the market. But you don't get the same blockbusters on day one release that you'd get from Apple TV or VuDu. That makes the Netflix box and disc system a great supplement to those systems, which seem to specialize in new releases.

    The Future
    Netflix is planning HD streaming and this box will support it. When Netflix gets HD streaming content, they'll update the box by firmware to support HD resolutions at higher bitrates of 4-6mbps, including 5.1 surround (everything is stereo now.) The menus will also be upgraded to HD res, too. In the future, the Roku-branded box will be upgraded to accept non-Netflix content, too. (And btw, the update on the Mac client situation is that they're just trying to sort out the DRM issues, or lack of a suitable system they can stream to Macs on.)

    The box will be sold on Roku's website directly. Worth buying if you're a Netflix customer (or thinking of becoming a Netflix customer) and can find enough titles for Instant Viewing on their site.
    This is a big deal. For Vudu and AppleTV.

    I wonder what Vudu's response will be... if any?
    I could be suave, but how many crude guys do you know?

    #2
    Re: Netflix Box...

    I saw this on Gizmodo and Engadget. I read one of the reviews in the Wired Blog and they said it was an good box but fast forwarding and rewinding is a pain since there is no local storage. I was also perplexed about the comment that 1 mbps stream produces acceptable video?

    All the reviews I have read so far complain about the poor interface on the box vs. the Netflix website. So maybe a computer is still needed to find the content?

    I expect that any day now a new comparison list will be on the internet between VUDU, AppleTV, and the Netflix box. Giver everyone a few days to settle down from the announcment and the real testing and reviews we start coming in.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Netflix Box...

      Interesting device, but it doesn't really offer anything appealing to my household. The preview of the instant view catalog at http://www.netflix.com/BrowseSelection?sgid=gev doesn't show anything I'm interested in, is there a way to browse the whole instant view catalog, without paying for a membership?

      I think they are going to be highly criticized for only having 480p output.

      I wonder if they are treating this like a loss leader? Unlimited viewing could lead to unlimited residual payments. You can't lose money on each box and make it up in volume.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Netflix Box...

        Why would we be discussing a pretty useless product ? No one that is into Vudu is going to care about this box.

        Netflix is not a competitor for Vudu or AppleTv as much as they might like to be. They may offer unlimited viewing, but what they do not offer is .. uh . content ? Go look at their online offering of 8000 films see if you can find 5 you'd care to watch

        Netflix's model of unlimited viewing is never going to let them be a competitor to Vudu and ATV, the studios will not allow a subscription model to have access to the premium content you actually care to watch.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Netflix Box...

          I've go to agree with Riekl - I'm struggling to figure out what the appeal of this box is going to be if they don't have any content that people are going to want to watch.

          I guess I could POSSIBLY see where it may be a decent supplement to Vudu but let's face it - they probably aren't marketing the box to those people, they are marketing it to normal people (OK - that didn't sound quite right but you know what I mean) and I think when those people buy the box they're going to be really disappointed.

          Content is king is devices like this and if you don't have content then you don't have squat.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Netflix Box...

            Netflix is offering up pretty much what I expected, except they came out with a STB much faster than I thought they would.

            But its just a way to pull their Instant Viewing content down to the TV, instead of the PC.

            It's all 4:3 SD/Stereo quality with nothing to offer except old library titles. That explains why they only need a max output of 480p.

            Although some of the classics are good, like Hitchcock's North by NorthWest, I would "never" watch it with that lack of quality.

            They came to the party late wearing the wrong clothes.

            The article claims the STB box can be upraded to support HD/DD5.1 in the future, so I might take a look at it more seriously if and when that ever happens. But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it, I'm gonna keep renting movies from VUDU.

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Netflix Box...

              I think the issue here is that Netflix is operating 'defensively' and from that perspective, its probably the best thing for them to do; get something quick and dirty into their customers' hands so that they don't bail and go to another offering with any momentum in the 'instant' space.

              Clearly for VUDU customers, and probably even AppleTV or XBOX360 users, there wouldn't be any compelling reason for people to move away from a more leading-edge product like ours towards what they are talking about here.

              Perhaps at some point, Netflix will offer something comparable from a hardware/performance perspective of our VUDU boxes, but still, they are just playing catch up there. At best, they'll be level with everyone else who has been focusing on the 'instant download' space for so long, and since success or failure at this point will be driven by content availability, they'll really be in no better shape than anyone else...

              Personally, I think the time is NOW to be offering all sorts of deals to Netflix customers because ownership of the customers is probably the most valuable thing Netflix has right now; the more they lose short term, the harder it will be to get them back later.
              Loving my VUDU, and I can't wait for "more"

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Netflix Box...

                Originally posted by dvrupgrade View Post
                Clearly for VUDU customers, and probably even AppleTV or XBOX360 users, there wouldn't be any compelling reason for people to move away from a more leading-edge product like ours towards what they are talking about here.
                My guess is they aren't really trying to sway Vudu and ATV customers. It makes more sense for them to just add this as a delivery mechanism for their current (and future) Netflix customers. Once they have that, they would be less likely to abandon Netflix for Vudu or ATV. It's kind of like how the cable company offers their own DVR which, while not as good as a Tivo (or ReplayTV), it's good enough to keep a large number of their customers from jumping ship and buying one.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Netflix Box...

                  If the quality gets better, I might like it as a supplement to my Vudu, mainly for watching older movies, and especially (believe it or not) for watching TV shows. As an example, I started watching Dexter late in the season and would love to go back to see shows I missed. They sell boxed sets at ridiculously high prices. I also think it's ludicrous at .50 to $1.99 per episode on Vudu or ATV .

                  Actually, when you think about it, this Netflix box may be a real competitor for the Average Joe. For just $9.99/mo. you can rent as many current movies (one at a time though) that you want by DVD/mail AND watch any movies and TV shows in their library via the internet for "free". And, I'm not a Netflix customer now, but I believe you may even be able to get the new releases faster by mail because they come out on DVD sooner than Vudu/ATV.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Netflix Box...

                    Originally posted by I'mAJF View Post
                    For just $9.99/mo. you can rent as many current movies (one at a time though) that you want by DVD/mail AND watch any movies and TV shows in their library via the internet for "free".
                    Keep in mind that the library available for online from Netflix is much smaller than the one for DVDs.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Netflix Box...

                      Review: Roku Netflix Set Top Box is Just Shy of Totally Amazing -

                      http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/0...-roku-net.html

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Netflix Box...

                        But when you read the review it doesn't sound so amazing.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Netflix Box...

                          Guys, this product has got great potential. As a Netflix subscriber I'm definately getting a box. Just their catalog of TV shows is worth it. As far as quality goes if you have a 4 mbs connection the video should be good quality. Not HD or perfect DVD quality, but definately good enough to watch BBC comedies, or old Law and Order episodes. And, the firmware will surely be updated and improved. I like my VUDU box, but there is nothing wrong with healthy competition. How will VUDU react?

                          RAD

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Netflix Box...

                            Originally posted by radguy View Post
                            How will VUDU react?

                            RAD
                            Hopefully by providing the ultimate HD/DD5.1 library available on earth and not worry about the TV crap. I get all the TV I can stomach from my PhazGorzmic DTV box.

                            Also at some point they should upgrade to the HR.264 (Hodge/Redwein) compression standard for the ultimate in better than BluRay quality HD!!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Netflix Box...

                              I agree, it sounds like a quick-and-dirty, let's-get-SOMETHING-to-market kind of release, although it might have a lot of appeal to the mostly younger YouTube/video-via-cellphone crowd, since it's cheaper and based on a simpler cost model. But they're pretty much giving up on the home theater crowd, although their name recognition will make it easy for them to expand into the demographic that demands HD and DD when they're ready. Really, as long as they don't stand still with this, it's probably a good first move for them.

                              Comment

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