Hands On with Netflix for Windows Media Center
Although it was long in coming, the Netflix app is an awesome addition to Media Center and, we hope, the beginning of more good things to come.
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May 21, 2009 by Julie Jacobson

I just installed Netflix on my S1Digital Media Center.

It wasn’t showing up on the Start screen—Microsoft says it’s been uploaded to their servers but it could take 24 to 48 hours to be pushed out into the field—I pushed it out manually.

Here’s how:

From the Start screen: Tasks > Settings > General > Automatic Download Options > Download now.

That took about 20 minutes or so and then, voila, there was Netflix sitting in my TV+Movies tab.

Now I’ve given it a shot and it is sweet, really sweet!

Installing is a Slight Pain

I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to finally get to Netflix:

  • Open the Web browser to install Netflix – it cannot be done within the Media Center environment
  • Then give my computer permission to install Netflix
  • Then actually install it and some updates to Silverlight, the Microsoft content platform required by the Netflix app. That took a few minutes.
  • Error message: unable to install. Restart your computer and try again.
  • Hit the OK button to restart. Not bad, it simply restarted Media Center and not the entire PC.
  • Member sign-in. I had a Logitech DiNovo keypad remote so it was no problem, but Netflix provides an onscreen keyboard for those less fortunate.
  • Tadum! Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue and all the other goodies Netflix provides, all in a glorius TV interface.
  • Play a movie and it starts playing automatically, straight to the movie, right on the big screen.

Although it was long in coming, the Netflix app is an awesome addition to Media Center and, we hope, the beginning of more good things to come.

We know the content splendor will come with Windows 7, but can we get a few goodies now, like Pandora?

Click here to take a look at Netflix in action on Windows Media Center.

UPDATE: No, WMC Netflix is not supported on Extenders. Extenders don’t support Silverlight, the Microsoft content platform used for Netflix:

(thanks, DrFlick)

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

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