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Next episode - Online TV and movies - Got questions?

Netflix, NBC, and iTunes. What are the best ways to watch TV and movies online?

Your questions and thoughts welcome in this thread.

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Comments
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My TV Bookmark Folder From Best to Worst
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Netflix is decent too.

I forgot, Netflix is okay but it only works with IE.

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Miro Player

Hands down the best (in my opinion) is Miro. http://www.getmiro.com/

This is what used to be called the Democracy player.

Just add in feeds and you'll have your "channels" of shows. For example, go to Revision 3 and click the Miro link to subscribe to any of their shows. You can also search right in the Miro player for channels. You can also add RSS feeds of shows in Miro.

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Netflix on IE, eh.....

So if Netflix relies on the IE engine, then i believe i may have a good solution for the Mac users amongst us. There is a program out there called Crossover for Mac, from the Company "codeweavers". It is based on the open source initiative WINE, and is one of few "Windows on a Mac" solutions that does NOT require a boxed copy of windows and is yet perfectly legal, it can put programs into a "bottle", while not emulating another machine, it merely makes the program believe it is in a windows machine by using windows programming calls on it. IE is one of the supported "bottles" for crossover, so if Netflix relies on IE, and IE can run on crossover, maybe Mac users have hope....

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DVD OFF-ON-Line

I am referring to the new "download movie DVD's" as seen at the macworld expo keynote with Fox. These DVD's come with a separate disc that can be placed in a computer, which will promptly suck the special version on to its hard drive, and because the file doesn't have to be ultra compressed to fit down the web tubes, they are surprisingly high quality ,too. At least in the case of Fox (with the "Fox Digital Copy"), the DVD contains Windows and Mac versions. At this point the DRM scenario is unclear on these DVD's, the DVD does come with a serial number you need to type in to get the digital copy, and the windows edition relies on "Playsforsure" (except when it doesn't, due to poorly implemented DRM servers), so i'm not sure on the restrictions, but the Mac edition is even more unclear.

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Remember

almost all of these solutions are not available outside the US, so the international audience is pretty much left out on this one, however, Amazon.com recently did a deal with one of the UK's main netflix type companies (Lovefilm) and now amazon dvd rentals will go through lovefilm, lovefilm was also a pioneer in movie downloads, offering you "download the DRM'd right movie now, and get the DVD later" if you actually purchased (not rented) a movie. Still, if you are in the UK, there is BBC iPlayer, which allows you to catch up on the BBC TV shows from the last 7 days, and some shows have actually been available on iPlayer BEFORE their airing on TV: iPlayer is currently streaming only on Mac, but there are downloads (DRM'd) on windows. However, now that apple has finally built mac infrastructure for renting stuff, which means there is now infrastructure for ,keeping stuff and throwing at away automatically, the BBC is considering offering a download service for mac.

Techpriest

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Converting Files is a pain

I really hope that the AppleTV doesn't get a free pass in this "real deal". Sure, as an iTunes streamer it's okay but since most of the world is outside of Apple's mp4 format then this is a fantastic product that has been crippled into being useless for anyone except diehard Apple "enthusiasts".

So when talking about obtaining video then it should be pointed out that converting video is NOT the answer. A good video source has the ability to access all media codecs (divx, video streaming sites (Hulu/Netflix) and is codec friendly. So my choice is the MacMini or a Media Center PC connected to the HDTV.

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Apple almost ALWAYS gets a free pass on BOL and Real Deal

A little OT, but Tom and Rafe strike me as Apple Fanboys, in general. So, I wouldn't be too surprised if the AppleTV doesn't get more favorable coverage than it really deserves in the regard you mentioned.

This is not to say I've never heard any critical comments about Appledom or the AppleTV on these podcasts. But, I can't begin to recite how many times I've heard excuses made for Apple when a criticism (such as from Molly on BOL) is made.

Hopefully, straight talk can win the day over personal preferences.

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my way

my way is to go to the pirate bay, or mininive/ torrentspy, use utorrent and download it. then i put it on my ipod and watch it. for FREE, no ads, no drm, just MOVIES.

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Veoh

Because Hulu.com is still in a closed beta I have been going to www.veoh.com to see the shows off there. I also like to go to www.Scifi.com to see shows. However their player on the site is really poorly designed and can be a pain to use.

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video.discovery.com

On video.discovery.com, there is a great almost Hi-Def video player that streams video from Animal Planet, TLC, Science Channel, and the Discovery Channel. All you have to do is download a little payer about 3-8Mb (depending on your OS). They do whole seasons of high rated episodes such as, but not limited to: Mythbusters, What Not to Wear, Meercat Manor, and Smash Lab. They start streaming the newest episode right after 12:00 AM PST the day after it comes out.

The best part about it is...it's FREE to use and to watch.
I use it all the time to watch Mythbusters (When it was posted) and Smash Lab.

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My Online TV and Movies Experiences

I've had some opportunities to road test a few different services. Mainly iTunes, Video on AOL, and Hulu.

As far as iTunes go, it's a really good service for downloading the videos that you want. The download was quick and the iPod integration was awesome. Of course you have to pay ($1.99 when I tried it a few years ago), and it's all gummed up with DRM (so when I move to my Linux laptop ina few weeks, Battlestar Galactica won't be coming with me...).

Video on AOL gets a medium review from me. They have lots of content (which is a Good Thing) and most (all?) of it's free (another Good Thing). Unfortunately, the delivery system was so-so. I ran into a lot of glitches viewing content, things froze, I'd have to restart the show, the quality isn't great, and it lacks a true full screen mode. Also when I was using it about two months ago, there seemed to be only one or two advertisers and they only had one or two commercials each (I remember SC Johnson, Kohl's, and AT&T), so that got really repetitive. Still it's good for free, and again there's lots of content.

Hulu's awesome. It's The Answer, as far as I'm concerned. Since December I've watched more tv via Hulu than I have on TV. The quality of the video is excellent, I've had very few glitches when watching (especially impressive since it's in beta), the interface is elegant and intuitive, and it has just enough features to make it very usable (playlists, reviews, cast listings, etc) but not so many that it gets bogged down or overloaded. The sole drawback is that the content's just not there yet. It has plenty of shows--many of them old--but there may only be a few episodes for each show, and they disappear kinda quickly. None of this is a real problem, of course, since you're getting this for free. I'd love to see other networks license this technology or get on board with Hulu. After two months, I'd have to say that Hulu is my model for how I want to consume video content in the future.

--JamesFromPittsburgh

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AOL has Fullscreen
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RE: AOL has Fullscreen

This seems better than what I remember. In December when I was using AOL more, I only remember a pop-out, not a full window like this.

Just to be nitpicky, though, I still don't consider this full screen. The video is only taking up the active part of the pop-out window, i.e. it's not completely filling the screen. I can still see the title bar, status bar, and my operating system's task bar with AOL when I'm in full screen. This is not the case with Hulu.

It's a nitpick to be sure, and again as long as AOL's free and open to the public it's a very forgivable qualm. But on my monitor every extra pixel I can devote to what I want to see (the video) and not have it cluttered with noise (window dressings like the title bar) is a pixel well used.

If there's some way to completely expand the video content on AOL that I'm just too dense to see (the most likely case), I'd appreciate it if you could point it out to me.

Cheers!
--JamesFromPittsburgh

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(NT) Weird!
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Weird

That doesnt happen by me, everything is hidden by the video player. As for the white, that has to do with the dimensions of your monitor and with how it was filmed.
Here is a workaround for the taskbar: before entering full screen, hit F11 to make your browser go full screen and use VIEW to deselect all your toolbars. Then tou shouldnt be seeing anything but webpages. Then hit the fullscreen button on the player.
Let me know what happens.
BTW, what browser are you using? I use IE but almost only FF.

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RE: Weird

Yeah, forcing Firefox to full screen does make the video to also take up the full screen. Cool, thanks!

Although, I think this feature may be provider-specific. Shows that are from "In2TV" (such as NCIS) can be sent to full screen, but I noticed that the Hulu on AOL videos don't have a button for that. I'm not sure if there are other providers or not.

Punchline: AOL does indeed have full screen but it may have some quirks depending on your browser settings, monitor, and the specific video you're trying to watch.

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great site

I like hulu but in I found new site http://10starmovies.com to watch movies and tv shows online for free.And to be very honest I never see any great site like this which allow you watch movies online, also you can download movies free,and no registration is required.

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Show notes please

Tom,

I normally listen to the podcast when I can't make notes, so for Nth time, can you please provide the show notes for all the links you mentioned in this particular one. Or please let us know the del.icio.us tag/ID you use for the show.

Thanks in advance.

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