Thanks, Wes, for the opportunity to interact with the “Speed of Creativity” community. My local Internet Service Provider (ISP) has been out of service this weekend, causing me to reflect on how quickly that the web has become an integral part of our lives. It first came into widespread use in the mid-1990s. A little more than a decade later, it has become an essential connection linking the world.

Advances in on-line video are one of the more remarkable aspects of this shift. My Netflix subscription now allows me to watch movies over the Internet as well as order DVDs through the mail. Netflix is phasing in this service gradually, with all Netflix subscribers scheduled to receive it by June. If you have a Netflix subscription, and would like to watch movies over the Internet right away, log into Netflix, and click on “Account”. Then look for the graphic in the upper right-hand corner that says, “How can I watch movies on my PC?” Click the “Start Now” link to begin. the service. There is no additional charge – it is being included as an added benefit for Netflix subscribers.

The standard Netflix subscription provides 18 hours of online video per month in addition to 3 DVDs at at a time. One characteristic of the online service is that it encourages sampling and exploration. It is possible to watch five or ten minutes of a movie to see if it is interesting. If the movie is engaging, you can watch the entire movie. If not, only the minutes that you’ve watched are counted against the 18 hour per month allocation. If you would like to see how this works, the Hacking Netflix blog offers a Netflix “Watch Now” Movie Demo that illustrates the process.

Of course, when the Internet connection is severed, the movie link is no longer available. So this weekend we had to resort to old-fashioned DVDs.

The primary difference between DVDs and online video is that online connections encourage a two-way flow of communication. Increasingly users are creating and posting their own video segments. There are a surprising number of services that support online editing of video. A good summary of online video services is posted on the Read / Write Web.

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On this day..

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2 Responses to Internet Connections

  1. meeyauw says:

    Unfortunately, this service will be PC only! But thanks for the info. Now I got to go tell Netflix to get with it!

  2. Glen Bull says:

    Yes, Netlix needs feedback letting them know that subscribers want and need cross-platform solutions. The culprit, as usual, is Digital Rights Management (DRM); the version of DRM employed in the pilot appears to be Windows only.

    Netflix indicates that the long-term plan is to support Macs. Perhaps feedback from their subscribers will speed up the timeline.

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