Have a Wii? Get the free Netflix disc

Have a Wii? Get the free Netflix disc

Owning stuff is so Twentieth Century.

Music on CDs?  You might as well have wax cylinders, ya dinosaur! 😉

Books on paper?   Pshaw!

Movies and TV on DVD?  Not when you can stream a huge selection.

I’m kidding, of course…sort of.  I’m a person with ten thousand paperbooks in my home…but I’ve stopped buying them (I’m a Kindle guy).  The concept of collecting shelves and shelves of something is just not that much a part of the New Millenials’ lives.  Oh, they have thousands of songs on their iPods, and they even paid for some of them (again, kidding), but they don’t have them on individual physical media.  They are stored for them somewhere else.

I was predicting years ago that we’d be able to watch pretty much whatever we wanted on TV.  I pictured a model where you could watch shows with commercials for free, and you’d pay by piece for others.

I was wrong on the latter…partially.  You can go to your On Demand and pay $1.99 to watch a movie.  You can go to iTunes and pay ninety-nine cents  for a TV show.

But the other model is “all you can eat”.  That’s the streaming Netflix model.  You pay a set amount a month, and then “consume” whatever you want.

I know this is popular: I write about e-books in my other blog, I Love My Kindle.  One of the frequently asked questions is why Amazon (or some other e-book provider) doesn’t offer a similar program: pay X amount a month, read all you want.

There are some things like that out there (BookSwim for paperbooks, PressDisplay for digital periodicals). 

Netflix has one of the best deals.  For $8.99 a month, you can watch all the movies and TV you want.  Oh, if you do it the old-fashioned way, you can only have one DVD at a time…but that’s still a lot.  Let’s say you get a DVD on the first of the month, and watch it that day and send it back in the pre-paid envelope.  The turnaround time is really quick: you’ll probably have another one on the third.  Figure you could watch about ten DVDs a month if you really turn them and churn them.

However, you can also watch streaming.  No waiting for that silly old mail.  You want to watch ten movies in a day?  No problem.   Time for a Buffy marathon?  Done!  Watch until you’re undead! 😉

For college age kids, a lot of them are fine watching these on a computer.  Some of them don’t even own TVs any more.

Some people like watching on a bigger screen, though.  That’s especially good if it’s a community event…like singing along with Dr. Horrible.

Hooking up your computer to your TV is an option, but that’s never really caught on.  I have a cable to connect my laptop to my computer, and I could do it wirelessly, but there’s just something about that.

I use a Roku to watch the streaming Netflix on my TV.  I really like that…it’s a little set-top box, it connects to the internet wirelessly…snap to use, really.

However, that does mean you have another box.

Enter the Wii Netflix disc.  If you already have a Wii hooked up, you can get a free disc from Netflix.  When you put that disc into your internet connected Wii, you can watch the streaming video through your Wii.

I got one to test it out…after all, it doesn’t cost anything for the disc.  :)  It works pretty well…in one specific area, it’s actually better than the Roku.  What’s that?  You can choose shows right through the Wii…you get categories, recommendations (“similar to”).  With the Roku, I add them through my computer to my Instant Queue first.

That’s both an advantage and a disadvantage.  With the Roku, you get parental control.  The parents might have the password for the Netflix account, and the kids don’t.  The parents can add all the things they want to be available for the kids (a hundred or more, if you want), then the kids pick through the Roku from that list.

With the Wii disc, the kids aren’t limited like that.

 The other disadvantage is that you have to put the disc in every time you want to watch.  The Roku is just another TV input, like your DVD player.  So, if you do the Wii Fit, you’ll have to put the Wii Netflix disc back into the Wii to watch a movie or TV show.

As to selection, it is really very good.  You probably won’t see recent movies, maybe the last year of so.  Outside of that, you’ll see a lot.  I usually figure that they give some time for the DVDs to sell before they release it.  Some things are available right away, and sometimes it’s for a short time.  They also add things right away.

For example, I’ve been watching The Dick Van Dyke show from the first episode.  However, I’ve also watched Dead Snow (a recent Norwegian zombie movie).  You can watch the original Star Trek series and/or Firefly.  You can watch the recent comedy Step Brothers and/or the Marx Brothers in A Night in Casablanca.

After we got the Roku, we canceled our premium cable channels.  We still have some “extended cable”, but no HBO/Showtime/Starz.  That paid for the Roku quite quickly. 

One little tip setting it up.  When you get your disc, log into Netflix and activate it from there.  When I followed the instructions on the screen, it didn’t know who I was, and wanted to give me a free trial.

To get the disc, log into Netflix and search for Wii.  You’ll see a link that will take you to the right section to get it.

If you don’t have a Wii, I’d consider the Roku

So, let’s see…streaming Netflix, Pandora, Zipcars…hmmm, I wonder when we’ll get digital food? 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in The Measured Circle blog.

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