Category Archives: video

Goodnight Netflix

When Netflix started in the UK back in January 2012 I was quite intrigued having heard about it a lot on TWiT network podcasts.

I was initially disappointed with the range of films and television programmes, older films and television series, but did give it a go. So I have now been subscribing for well over a year and have certainly watched some good tv series and films.

This month though I have decided to relinquish my subscription. The main reason is threefold, since moving house and changing from FTTC back down to ADSL, streaming video has been a bit of an issue, more so when other people in the house want to use the internet tubes. There has been a fair few times I have cursed Netflix for stuttering, only to find out that my son was streaming BBC iPlayer at the same time! Secondly, I am not really using it very much, I seem to be watching a lot less television as I get older and certainly a lot more selective; this leads into the third reason which is what I am actually watching on Netflix in the main are repeats of things I have seen before. For example I re-watched BBC’s Hustle and enjoyed that, but I had seen that on the TV before. I am certainly not taking advantage of other stuff on there. As for films, they do add new films regularly, but apart from the “B” movie dross that use to fill the shelves of your local video rental place, there are very few films that I want to watch and many of the new films I do want to watch I have found I have already seen at the cinema, I bought the Blu-Ray or rented the DVD from the local library.

So after a little consideration I am going to terminate my subscription and say goodnight to Netflix.

Netflixing

Even though I was less than impressed with the range of films and TV shows on the new Netflix service in the UK I decided I would give the service a go (having heard good stuff about the service in the US0 and you get a free trial for a month, so it wasn’t going to cost me anything.

I left it for a few days as I expected that everyone else in the UK would be trying out the service and this would have an impact on Netflix’s servers.

So far I have watched the service on my iMac through the Safari browser, through the Apple TV and using the iPad App.

The iPad app works really well, and I have had no buffering issues, and was really pleased with the quality, which was a good as BBC iPlayer and even Home Streaming from my iTunes collection.

Netflix “appeared” on my Apple TV menu, without me needing to do anything. The navigation was fine and again streaming quality was excellent.

Through the Safari browser, most of the time it was okay, but I did have more issues than through the iPad or Apple TV. Netflix uses Silverlight and though I updated the plugin I did have a few stuttering issues. I know this wasn’t a bandwidth issue as if I streamed the same content on the iPad, it worked fine. I also found that I couldn’t interact with the video controls on the Silverlight player, so the pause button didn’t work, but the space bar did to pause the video.

Overall I was impressed with the technical side of Netflix and if I was to continue with a subscription then I know it would work with my system.

As for the content, I think I *may* be able to justify the £5.99 a month it costs, but I would expect to either see an increase in the quantity of content on the service or regular new releases. Netflix is not the place to see new stuff, but from a back catalogue perspective I do expect to be able to see more than there is in there now.

Introduction to video on your TV from your Mac

I still have a video recorder under my TV, in the main as it has a clock!

I have not used the VCR to record for over five years now, the Elgato 410 connected to my Mac is my way main method of recording TV shows.

However I much prefer watching TV on my TV than watching it on my computer.

So how do I get the recorded video from the Mac to the TV?

Over the years I have used a variety of methods, depending on need, speed, wireless connectivity, even DRM. I have used DVD-Rs, EyeHome, video streamers, PS3, Mac mini, iPod touch, iPhone, iPod, MacBook Pro… each has its advantages and disadvantages. Over the next few weeks I will be talking about, showing and explaining how and why I use all these different methods.

Picture source.

Video on the Google Nexus One

One of the nice things about the Google Nexus One is the beautiful screen which is much much nicer than the iPhone screen.

I did wonder how video would look on the device, so I copied over a video that I had encoded for the iPhone, 480 x 270 H.264 and AAC audio and was very pleased with the result. It played fine, and looked fantastic.

Pleased with the fact that not only did it look good, I didn’t need to re-encode the video from the iPhone version so that it would play on the Nexus One.

Downloading movies

iTunes Movies in the UK - hmmmm

Back in June 2008 when Apple put movies into the UK iTunes Store I had a go and didn’t have a huge success.

So my first proper attempt to get films off the iTunes Store was not a great success, ah well maybe next time.

So now over a year later, what’s the situation?

Well I am downloading a fair few movies from the iTunes Store now, buying and renting.

I do like how quick and easy it is, and sometimes how much cheaper it is too (and annoyed by how expensive it can be too).

I usually watch the movies via an iPod through the TV, as I still haven’t got round to buying an Apple TV, but then I still don’t have that HD TV to watch them on (and I am pretty sure I can’t easily connect an Apple TV to my current TV).

I will probably get an Apple TV if I get an HD TV as I would prefer to watch HD movies on an HD screen.

I was impressed with HD on the TV Shows and downloaded Lost in HD and the newest Doctor Who special in HD too.

So is everything working?

Well not really.

My ADSL is still way too slow, which means it takes hours to download a movie. Also I have a monthly bandwidth limit which means I usually plan my iTunes downloads overnight as Plusnet my ISP gives me a “free” download time between midnight and eight in the morning.

Also now and again iTunes fails to download the movie “properly”, so it downloads it again! As a result I have two versions in my iTunes library.

However despite a few minor issues I am pleased with movies and TV on the iTunes store and use it on a regular basis.