Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nexflix streaming for the Nintendo Wii

Around Christmas 2009 I was contemplating the purchase of another console gaming system.  I came close to pulling the trigger a couple of times, but I never did it.  I was leaning heavily towards the Sony PS3.  Why?  Because it has built-in wireless, a fairly decent sized hard drive and because it has a Blu-Ray player built-in.  In a moment of weakness, I almost purchased an Xbox.  But I didn't do it because no Blu-Ray and, more importantly, no built-in wireless networking.  I could probably handle the lack of Blu-Ray, but the lack of wireless (the add-on adapter was in the $70) pushed me completely away from the platform.  The thing that kept me away from the Sony was the game content.  The PS3 games are mostly adult-only games.  And I really didn't want my kids playing games targeted for adults.  The main reason why I wanted a new console so I could stream Netflix content without the need of having a computer hooked up.  Because I didn't like my options, I opted to just stay with what I have, a Nintendo Wii.

Then a month or two ago I read on Netflix's web site that they were developing a streaming option for the Nintendo Wii.  I got all excited and signed up for my free streaming disk.  (If you aren't familiar with Netflix, they have an option where you can stream some of their content directly to a computer, game console, or supported multi-media or Blu-Ray player.  So you don't have to mail in DVDs and the like to get your movie fix.)  Well, my disk came last week and I just had to try it out.

So I got the disk.  Put it in.  There is an activation number of some sort where you have to tie the number to your account, so you need to get onto your computer, log into Netflix, put the code in and you're done.  This is the most cumbersome part of the whole process.  As soon as your account is setup with that activation number, the Wii automatically refreshes itself and allows you in browse for movies or review your instant queue.  Once I got the Wii activated, I was watching a movie within minutes.  Sweet!!!

The picture quality is good.  The Wii can only do 480p, so you don't get a high def picture.  But the fact that you can browse and stream a video and watch it instantly for a monthly price, that is just incredibly cool and makes up for the fact you can't stream in high def.

My only complaint about Netflix is that not all their movies are available for streaming.  Some moves are DVD or Blu-Ray only and not available for streaming.  That can be annoying.  But they've got like 20,000 movies that are available for streaming, so usually you can find something to watch.  In fact the other day I watched the movie Look who's coming to dinner with my kids.  They thought it was great.  Spencer Tracey gave a great performance at the end with his monologue.  Interesting movie.

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