Netflix is Bombing

So I read an article by Brian Stelter about Netflix not-renewing its “STARZ Deal”, next month (March 2012). In case you did not know… Netflix’s new release selection for streaming is pitiful at best, and the movies they do have from the past 8 years (with somewhat of a good in the box office run) are 9 times out of 10 from their deal with STARZ. Netflix’s argument in short is  they want to focus on more TV shows than they do movies… stating they know they do not have their costumers #1 choice when they log on to view a certain movie… but they have other stuff in the form of TV shows that same customer should enjoy.

So I ask the question… is Netflix suffering from corporate sabotage within… are they literally trying to bomb their own company to the ground? Why else are there so many consumer point of view “stupid” decisions coming out pf this, up to now, successful company.If I wanted more TV shows I would not sign up with a company that had the word “flix” in their name. Netflix already lost a lot of support from their consumer base when they jacked their prices way up and tried to forcefully separate their DVD rental + streaming into separate paid for services and companies.

As a longtime subscriber to Netflix I joined for the convenience of getting DVD’s in the mail with no return dates or late fees, It was simple and worked for me. Then they offered their “streaming service” as a bonus, but in reality they really all it had were “B” and “C” rated movies. Now they are charging me almost triple what I was paying  4 years ago, wanting me to watch the service I don’t want to watch while separating from the services I do want, and telling me the titles I want to see are not really what I want to see… instead here is more stuff that is somewhat good for you according to our suggestion algorithms.

I understand the movie studios are making it tough for streaming services, but in reality separating yourself from how you are most profitable (read DVD+BD) and hoping that your customer base will be loyal with 3rd and 4th choice titles is insane from a business standpoint. I currently have Netflix and loved it when it was such a unique service. However, now that there is competition for digital media providers popping up with Easier Vudu access, Amazon prime, HULU plus, and HBO Go, and others,  it is not so unique anymore.  Add the fact that they are making me look at their streaming service separately from their rental service instead of a bonus with not so competitive pricing plans, you are forcing your consumers to look at alternative options. Which sorry Netfix,  I think I will start doing at the end of next month.

how to get harmony remote out of safe mode

The Harmony remotes from Logitech are some of the best universal remotes available… when they work that is… I had some trouble with mine and I figured I would share how i got it working… scroll to the bottom of this post to get the answer without hearing my associated story and reason for having a harmony remote.

With today’s home enthusiasts array of various media devices hooked up to the TV a house can easily have 10 or more remotes for DVRs, game consoles, netflix enabled devices, cable boxes, BlueRay, etc… The only downside of them is the somewhat over simplified setup and their price, but once you get past that their activities buttons are god sends for grandparents that might be at your house alone watching your kids. If they want to watch TV… they hit the “watch TV” button… if they want to “watch a movie”… they hit the “watch a movie” button… after the initial setup the remote turns off and on the devices that need to be for that activity and changes and master buttons like play, pause, menu, etc… to the master device for that activity… easy as pie… when it works.

Today I was watching something on netflix, and after the show was over I grabbed the remote to see the screen at the top was blank… I just changed the batteries a couple of weeks ago, so I popped open the case removed and reloaded the batteries only to have the screen on the remote say “SAFE MODE”. No matter what buttons i pressed no command was issued to any devices.. not even power. So I hooked the remote to my computer to try and reload the software to it hoping that would fix the issue, but it only got to about 17% before giving me an error saying the software could not be updated.

This is the solution I came up with to get the remote out of “safe mode” and working again.
After some trial and error I came to the conclusions that I basically i needed to remove the batteries from the remote then plug it in to the computer. Then i started the Harmony Remote software, went to the top of the window and clicked on “Downloads”. Ten I clicked on “Firmware” and followed the prompts to update the remote firmware, then I clicked on the other button above that “software” and followed the promts to update the remotes software and all my device settings.Once that was done the remote was back to the way it was before i got the “SAFE MODE” error.

Hope this post helps if anyone is having trouble with their harmony remotes. Let me know in the comments.

2 Years and Still no Cable

Well, Its been two years and I still have no extended cable. I still get the regular big 4 and a bunch of PBS stations via my digital antenna in my attic, but that is it as far as a “live television” feed. I utilize my Media Center computer to record numerous shows  from those, which is great… but when I first cut the chord i was most disappointed with my history, nat geo, and discovery channels. I am a big sucker for the shows on those networks, and they don’t have any local syndicates to pick up with my antenna.  However I am now noticing that many of the shows that i watched before i cut the chord (and more still that I’m getting into) are now available on Netflix Streaming.

What does this mean… well it means it means that I just realized my family has different TV viewing habits than I did when i was a kid… and I like it. Gone are the days that i would turn on the TV and flick the 100 channels (back then compared to the 8000 now)… Instead I find my wife and myself going directly to the recorded TV section to watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it. That works great for the big 4 network shows on ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox… but it does not give me my fix for Modern Marvels, Nat Geo Documentaries, and other shows of that nature that previously fueled my need for subscribing to extended digital cable when i had cable.  However with netflix on my Xbox when i don’t see anything on my DVR simply go to my Netflix instant que which is loaded with more TV shows… The other bonus is the Xbox also has ESPN3 for live and On demand viewing of sports content that might not be shown on the big 4, but is available through that.

In hindsight the only advantage that I see cable having over how I view TV today is that it is a larger aggregate. What I mean by that is that you can go to 1 place for network TV, expanded cable TV, Non-Premium carried sports, as well as on demand movies. I get all those things now, however there are several places I have to go to get to them, rather than having them available through one interface. What I like about the trade off though is I am only paying for what I want to watch… vs. getting some top tier cable package which costs more because it comes with 700 other channels I do not watch.

Moral of this post… WHERE IS THE SELECTION I’M WILLING TO PAY FOR????
I do not get these companies that have a willing costumer base, but do not provide. I know its tied up into red-tape and legal jargin, but seriously… ESPN… if you offered me to pay a low monthly fee for ulimited live and ondemand content you sell to cable providers… I would… as would countless others… yet they do not… same with the forementioned expanded cable channels TLC, Discovery, Nat Geo, etc… they are getting better with giving content to netflix, hulu, and EPSN3 on Xbox… but come on now… the model is working so what i holding you back from getting the rest of your content out there to people who are willing to pay for your content???

…I don’t get it… but in the mean time I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and getting pleasantly surprised as I see new shows, and sports on ESPN3 and Netflix… I’m interested in hearing what the readers of this article have to say about it… are you still on cable, watching netflix tv content… chime in below in the comments… don’t be afraid with the required email to leave a comment… no one see its… including me… its just a precaution to help lower spam and a requirement of my wordpress, which is what my blog runs on

Netflix Kids Movies On-Demand Watch Instantly

Back in 2008 netflix signed a few distribution deals, one of which is ABC, which owns Disney. Netflix most likely did this because they wanted to expand their online content, and ABC / Disney did this most likely because it is an additional income they would otherwise not receive from online content… After DVD sales and rentals the next market in my opinion is online streaming. Why I am bringing this up in this post you may be asking…well… While Netflix’s online streaming content may not have the latest blockbuster releases (although I will give them credit for continuing to expand it)… With that said, their online kids movie selection is rather quite large, with the latest Disney, Pixar, and other latest releases… If you have kids and a netflix subscription… Check out their streaming “watch it now” section either online thru your computer, or thru a netflix enabled blue-ray player, Xbox 360 console or Roku box on your living room TV with the family… You won’t be disappointed. PS… They also have a lot of the great shows from the early 80’s that my generation grew up with… now my son will be able to marvel at the awesomeness of the A-team like I did growing up… when he’s old enough… ;P

What is Windows Media Center?


Ever wonder… “How do I get rid of my cable box” or get pissed off at how lousy the dvr interface from your cable company is… wish there was another option. Well, There is another solution… and its called Windows Media Center. For those of you that have windows 7, you have the software built into your computer already, and with a little, to no, start up cost, you can get your TV to communicate to this state of the art DVR built into your computer, as seamlessly as the interface on your Comcast box (AKA it will be wife & mom proof). This DVR however will have many, many, many more features, that I’ll get into later… I’ve switched over about 3 years ago, and I will never go back to renting Comcast’s crappy box, paying extra for their crappy HD box, or paying even more for their crappy DVR service…

Click after this break to see a brief synopsis of how to get things running on your TV with Windows Media Center Continue reading “What is Windows Media Center?”

Microsoft Promotes Windows 7 with Thousands of Launch Parties

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Microsoft thought they would try something new with the launch of their latest operating system, Windows 7 on October 22, 2009. After some people boo’d the release of Windows Vista and the various problems “they” had with Vista, Microsoft decided to get a large community behind the launch of the latest operating system… and what better way to do that than offer people free ultimate versions of windows 7 and gift bags / goodies for guests if they promise to throw a launch party to friends and families to go over some of the new and unique features Windows 7 brings to the table.

I must admit I am a huge windows media center fan and some of the features in this latest operating system are way awesome in my book. I also had no problem with Vista, and in fact find the features in Vista comendable over XP (which it should being the later operating system) I remember when XP came out there where the same bunch of people that boo’d that OS due to its incompatibility issues, in my opinion Vista got the brunt of a bad timing job combined with little pre-marketing… which gave developers a band wagon to jump onto and hence the negative energy towards Vista. OS change is inevitable, and with good reasons or we would all still be on command prompt with DOS still.

So Microsoft has decided with this Launch party campaign that they can get some hype for this OS before it gets out of the gate, which is a good idea in my mind. With that said I jumped on this band wagon to host a launch party at my house… simply for the fact that I get a free, fully licensed $500 O.S. out of the deal that I really want for my media center. I will however throw this party and show my family and friends that are interested how geeky I really am …err… i mean how neat Windows 7 can be.

Check out my launch party webpage, and other hosts, here at houseparty.com… also let me know if you’ll be in my area and would like an invite to my Windows 7 launch party…