Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Netflix (an online movie rental provider). I enjoy receiving Netflix movies via mail as well as streaming video to my computer (which Netflix added last year).
I have wanted to have the best of both worlds, able to watch streaming video on my television. (Yes, I am aware that I could make that happen now, but it would be less than straightforward to effectively accomplish.) Imagine my delight when Netflix announced that a “Netflix Player” would be provided by Roku, allowing this very thing to be accomplished. In the near future, similar devices will be made by three other manufacturers. Priced at a one-time cost of $100, they will work in conjunction with my existing Netflix service.
Currently Netflix has 100,000 titles available on DVD for their mail service, with a relatively smaller 10,000 title inventory available for streaming video. This difference is due to complexities in procuring digital distribution rights from the various studios and content providers. These issues are expected to be ironed out as the technology becomes more common and user demand increases.
The future trend is obvious, with mailed DVDs eventually being phased out in favor of streaming video.
For me, I’m ready, but a little apprehensive as well. Currently, I have four devices connected to my TV (DVR, DVD player, VCR, Analog converter) with five remotes, as well as a couple of video splitters and one adapter. The thought of connecting yet another device (see the box) and making sure everything works correctly is a bit foreboding.
Despite my excitement, I’m not quite ready to run out and buy a Netflix Player. My real preference is to be able to forgo the extra device, merely running a network cable between my hub and TV. Is that too much to ask?
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.