Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jan 11

Streaming is the new black

skinny jeans, handbags, jewelry

I don't even know if these things are still popular.

You know those people who always look stylish and put-together? The kind who manage to be both classic and trendy at the same time? In my world they were the ladies who first sported chunky jewelry, and later, skinny jeans with tall boots. While I am perpetually caught off-guard by a change in the fashion spectrum, they are leading the charge, somehow seamlessly merging a new trend with their own personal style.

It’s unlikely that I will ever be at the cutting edge of fashion. True confession: in the 5th grade I owned a white t-shirt emblazoned with the faces of the New Kids on the Block and Jackson Pollock-esque splashes of various neon colors. I paired this t-shirt with neon pink spandex pants. Luckily, by the end of the school year, my interest in the band waned enough so that I no longer felt compelled to wear visual evidence of my fan status. But ever since we got the Wii, I feel like I am finally ahead of the curve on something. Because we stream Netflix at our house now!

There are lots more streaming options than just Netflix.

Based on technology introduced at the last couple of Consumer Electronics Shows (CES), combining internet connectivity with HDTVs is the wave of the future. Well, the present and the future. But not everyone has jumped on the bandwagon. Manufacturers still make TVs that don’t offer Wi-Fi or networking capabilities. And the bulk of consumers still see streaming content as something they do on a mobile product (or not at all).

I, on the other hand, am quite adept at streaming Netflix content through our Wii. After we got the gaming unit connected to the TV, I singlehandedly followed the step-by-step instructions on the TV screen and connected the Wii to our Wi-Fi network, then set up Netflix. Within minutes we were browsing the library of movies and TV shows. We tested it out with a National Geographic special about the Secret Service (not my pick), and were giddy about how fast and easy it was to watch.

“Look! You can pause it just like a real movie!” my husband exclaimed.

We spent at least an hour searching through the offerings to build our instant queue. At one point, I was adding shows using our computer, while my husband added shows on the Wii. I have to admit, the movie selection leaves a little something to be desired. And unfortunately, the three movies we have streamed through the Wii have significantly skewed the suggestions that Netflix makes for us. Because we watched Starship Troopers (a high-minded, deeply philosophical, and visually moving saga about a futuristic human military battling it out with arachnid-like aliens called . . . bugs), it now suggests we watch The Crazies and Sniper 3. I was unaware that there was a Sniper 1 and 2.

Fortunately, the selection of TV shows is pretty amazing. We can watch entire seasons of our favorites, and we can pick up shows we don’t get to see in our cable- and satellite-free lives. I miss the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and TLC. (Without What Not to Wear, I might end up making another neon spandex faux pas.)

The best part is that when friends and family talk about missing their favorite shows, or being bored with reruns, or, heaven forbid, waiting for their DVD to arrive in the mail, we can smile (perhaps a touch enigmatically) and say, “Oh, you aren’t streaming Netflix?” And they’ll look at us, a bit perplexed but mostly in awe, and say, “How do you do that?” And we’ll enjoy our status as the technological and entertainment leaders in our little microcosm.

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