Netflix and Vista Windows Media Center

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The Bottom Line

Using the Netflix service via Vista Windows Media Center is a very good experience for those with sufficient hardware and a fast Internet connection.

Pros

  • Works as part of Windows Media Center
  • Picture is good
  • Sound is good
  • Controls are convenient and work well

Cons

  • Heavily dependent on Internet connection and speed
  • Heavily dependent on PC hardware
  • Media Center didn't remember my password

Description

  • Netflix is a service that integrates with Windows Media Center.
  • This service works very well.
  • Computer hardware and Internet connection are key to its success.
  • There is a learning curve for new Netflix users.

Guide Review - Netflix and Vista Windows Media Center

Netflix, long known for its DVD rentals through the mail, now offers streaming video on demand. Subscribers can watch videos through their Mac and PC Internet Browsers. Also, like Tivo and XBOX 360 patrons, Windows Vista users now have an, even more, seamless option -- watching videos via the Windows Media Center. The advantage of using Netflix with WMC is a familiar interface that can integrate well with multimedia systems, especially if those are connected to high definition televisions.

The Netflix streaming video service is heavily dependent on things beyond its control (but not yours). All streaming video or content shown on a computer depends on the hardware of the computer (operating memory, processor, graphic card, network connection, etc.) as well as the speed of the Internet Broadband connection.

If these are all good, Netflix will work well; if not, you may have problems.

Netflix recommends a PC configuration of Windows XP with Service Pack 2, or Vista, Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher; or Firefox 2 or higher, a 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM or higher. This is for viewing via an Internet Browser.

For viewing via Vista Windows Media Center, you should default to a good minimum configuration for the Windows Vista operation system: a Dual-Core processor, 3 to 4 GB of operating memory and a 320 GB or larger hard drive.

The Netflix interface can be a bit confusing to those new to the Netflix service. Couple that with users new to using Windows Media Center and you have a perfect learning curve storm. Luckily, the learning curve is short and overall the service works well.