If you are a movie lover, it's worth your while to learn how to play movies from Netflix. Although Netflix started out primarily as a way to rent DVDs via mail, it has evolved to stream all kinds of content through a high speed Internet connection. Granted, many Netflix users still take advantage of borrowing DVDs through the mail, but it is becoming more and more apparent that online streaming is going to be the new standard of consuming content in the future.
Thankfully, Netflix makes all of this very easy. Whether you are on your TiVo, PC, Mac, gaming system, Blu-Ray Player, or iPad (or even your iPhone, starting this summer), streaming movies in real time is really rather simple. Here's how to do it.
The first thing you'll need to do, regardless of how you want to stream movies, is to sign up for Netflix. The cheapest unlimited plan is $8.99. While there is a cheaper plan, it only allows two hours of streaming each month. Once you're signed up, you can choose to watch via any Netflix medium you'd like.
- If you're on your computer, simply sign in to the Netflix Website and click on the Watch Instantly icon. You can then search for whatever movie you'd like to watch; if it is available for streaming, there will be a blue play icon. Simply click it to play. If a title is unavailable for instant streaming, the only available button will say Add, which means you can only watch this film by having it sent to you via your snail mail queue.
- If you have a Wii or Playstation 3, you'll need to contact Netflix to have them send you a free streaming disc that will have to be put in the machine before you can start streaming anything. Once you have the disc, simply start it up and follow the online prompts. You'll need to go online to activate it separately, but it won't require anything more complicated than going to netflix.com/wii and putting in a password.
Setup for the Xbox is exceedingly easy, but it requires an Xbox Gold LIVE membership. Just head into your Xbox menu, install the Netflix application in the Video Marketplace, and head over to netflix.com/activate to get started.
- Enjoy watching Netflix from your TiVo. Only later model TiVos are supported, so if you don't have a TiVo Series 3 or higher, you're out of luck. However, assuming your TiVo box is supported, getting started with streaming is just as easy as on the Xbox–just go to Video on Demand and select Netflix. The on-screen instructions will then explain how to verify the account at netflix.com/activate.
- While all the setups to get started on streaming movies are fairly easy to accomplish, the Roku setup is by far the easiest. Once you get a Roku box, you just plug it in, log in to your wireless connection, and start watching right away.
- Netflix can be streamed through a number of different devices, from internet capable televisions like Sony's Bravis LCD HDTV to internet connected Blu-Ray players like LG's Network Blu-Ray player. Regardless of what device you use, online streaming with Netflix is generally a pain-free process. Detailed directions for each of the dozens of devices can be found at netflix.com/NetflixReadyDevices.