Thursday, August 9, 2007

Instant watching on Mac, Firefox, and more

Hey, all. I'm Steve, responsible for the instant watching feature on our site.

First, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the comments and feedback you've already posted. I've read everything, and look forward to hearing more of your ideas.

Next, as my first post, I wanted to answer a couple of your questions about Mac, Firefox and beyond.

Bottom line: we're committed to giving all of our members access to our instant watching feature. Both Mac and Firefox are on the list. Also, many of you have seen our public statements that we're bringing Netflix to the TV in 2008. I can't say anything more specific about that, except to note how excited I am about what we're working on.

In the meantime, here's a little more regarding Mac and Firefox. While Boot Camp and virtualization programs work great for watching movies instantly on an Intel Mac, I know that's not the solution we all want (ps - I've been a Mac user since the days of the 128K Mac, and many of us at Netflix use them at work and at home.) So here's the deal:

A key issue for delivering movies online is that the studios require use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect titles. And that's our holdup for the Mac - there's not yet a studio-sanctioned, publicly-available Mac DRM solution (Apple doesn't license theirs). I can promise you that, when an approved solution becomes available for the Mac, we'll be there. I'll also say that Silverlight 1.1 looks like a promising candidate - but that its DRM isn't likely to be fully available until 2008.

Firefox for Windows is a different issue, and one we hope to address by early 2008. An upcoming version of our movie viewer will support Firefox as well as some new features, and I'll post more on that as we get closer to deployment.

Another comment I hear frequently is about the selection of titles available right now for instant watching. Two things on that:

First, the majority of the studios’ content is committed to traditional broadcast channels for the next several years. As a result, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Walmart.com, and everyone else delivering movies online have access to far less content than what’s available on DVD. That said, we’re working closely with the studios to expand content for electronic delivery, and even today we have more than any other electronic delivery service I'm aware of. We're continually adding new choices - we're up to over 4,500 movies and TV episodes this week - and that growth will accelerate into next year.

Also, besides some really great movies and shows from the full catalog, we're starting to receive newer content and exclusives. The Office was a big hit with our viewers over the past month or so. Pan's Labyrinth and several other recent releases will be out this month, with more to come this fall. We have a special preview of Californication, a new Showtime series with David Duchovny, available right now (btw - adults only recommended for that one). There will be lots more where those came from.

So, we hear you: get you to the Mac, Firefox, and the TV. Get you more great movies and TV shows. We're listening, and we're taking action. Thanks, everyone. Keep the comments and questions coming, and let me know what you'd like to hear more about.

492 comments:

  1. one feature that would be killer is a Windows Media Center Edition plugin!

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  2. Ouch! It sounded like Silverlight 1.1 was a very significant upgrade over 1.0, so I'm not too surprised that you have to wait for it. While 2008 is certainly not what us mac folk wanted to hear, its better to know than to come back every day hoping for news and being disappointed. Thanks for giving us the heads up! I'm sure you will get a ton of flames here (possibly even some from me ;P), but keep your head up and don't let us get you down too much.

    For those about to flame, you should probably vent most of your frustration towards Netflix marketing as they are the ones advertising the feature without any mac disclaimer. Its not Steve's fault for the lack of mac support, he is forced to wait on Microsoft until they get Silverlight 1.1 finished. He is in a tight spot through no fault of his own.

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  3. Instant watching on PC is a really great idea. It would be great if there were a way netflix members could also rent the movies to play on portable devices like Zune or Ipods.

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  4. I thought you said Pan's Labyrinth was available... why don't I see it?

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  5. Ah - thanks! It's coming in a week; I'll correct that in the post. Several other recent releases will be available over the coming month as well.

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  6. I normally use Firefox for web browsing, but I don't mind opening up Netflix in IE in order to watch a movie.

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  7. I understand that there are technical barriers to providing the streaming service on Macs, but at least appeal to Mac users sense of fairness and offer some compensation for not providing full access to a service we are in fact paying for.

    Also, it wouldn't hurt if the "Watch Now" tab was hidden from the Netflix menu rather than reminding me each time I'm on the site that I there is a feature I can't use.

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  8. Now that I've used up all my minutes of Instant Watching and am in the middle of a series I am wondering if you have considered letting users buy extra time of instant watching? At this point I have to wait 3 weeks to watch the rest of the series or add it to my queue....

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  9. OK, let's get rid of the 'Status' at the top of this blog because when things go down it never tells us, anyway.

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  10. A plug in for Windows Media Player would be my missing link

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  11. Thanks for the up(down?)date, Steve. Not such great news is certainly better than no news at all. Maybe upper management should have held off announcing and releasing this feature until it was available to everyone, and a nice juicy library had accumulated?! Anyway, Baff is right, you're not the one we should be 'flaming' at, and we thank you for pushing forward as best you can. But maybe you could communicate to the powers-that-be that their Mac owning members are mighty displeased about having to help foot the bill for a service that brings in new business but which we're likely to be denied for at least a year.

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  12. For the mac users claiming they are not getting their money's worth... remember that just a few short months ago you were paying the same price for just mailed movies. I understand the frustration, but don't get why you think you're entitled to compensation. You're getting nothing less than you were months ago. And just because you have a Mac does not mean I should have to wait for the "Watch Now" feature until they are Mac compatible. And how would you prove to Netflix you had a Mac and NO PC to watch movies on?

    On top of that, Netflix DID just lower their rates across the board. So you're not getting ripped off at all.

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  13. Anonymous directly above me...right on!!!!

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  14. Silverlight is a non-starter. Microsoft isn't even planning to offer support for PPC Macs, which will comprise a majority of the Mac installed base for another couple of years.

    If this is where you're placing your bets for computer-based movie streaming, I hope you've got a deal with Tivo in your back pocket.

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  15. The real joke is that I read more whining from PC users about their freebie than from Mac posters about not having it.

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  16. Thanks for the update, Steve. I love reading posts from Netflix engg/managers and dig the fact that the Product Management at Netflix is in so close contact with their customer base. Other companies should take a note of it.

    I would definitely like to see more movies (and better selection) available for instant watching.

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  17. Thank you very much for the post, Steve. As a Mac owner, it wasn't the answer I was hoping for but I do appreciate knowing what the situation is and why. I appreciate even more your commitment to continued efforts with Instant Watching for Mac.


    To anonymous, August 9, 2007 4:10 PM

    "You're getting nothing less than you were months ago.

    No, I'm not getting anything less, but you are getting something more for the price of your membership then a Mac user. Are we really supposed to think that some PC users wouldn't be asking and thinking the same things that some of the Mac users are?

    On top of that, Netflix DID just lower their rates across the board.

    No, they did not. They lowered the rates in the 1, 2, and 3 disc (unlimited) plans only. Those of us on the higher plans got no reduction.

    So you're not getting ripped off at all.

    Oh, but I am. I am helping to subsidize the Instant Watching of people who gripe about what is available and seem to think that those of us who can't watch the same paltry offerings that they can should just shut up and keep helping to foot the bill.

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  18. At the very least, please have the Netflix website be a bit smarter. Browsers' User Agent strings tell you if we're coming from a Mac. Stop presenting me with the "choice" of InstantWatching a movie if you don't actually allow me to do it ...

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  19. Re: DRM and Macs...

    Not a single studio is willing to allow their content to be shown without DRM?

    Not even Red Envelope Entertainment?

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  20. excellent! i can't wait until i can stop using iex. thanks steve.

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  21. "You're getting nothing less than you were months ago. "

    Uh, sure. But obviously our membership subscription money, like yours, is going in part to fund this new service. Which isn't available to everyone. Get it?

    (Not whining, I understand Netflix's dilemma with DRM, just thought your comment was a bit disingenuous)

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  22. Take your time developing a soution for the Mac. Not like there aren't viable alternatives already, and about a hundred more on the horizon. Fairly soon, it won't matter whether you guys are there or not.

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  23. "Microsoft isn't even planning to offer support for PPC Macs, which will comprise a majority of the Mac installed base for another couple of years."

    Oof! I just checked Microsoft's website and this is indeed true. So, even once Netflix switches over to Silverlight, most of the Mac users will still be left out in the cold (myself included). It no longer matters to me when it gets done now :(

    I'm still don't think that Netflix can easily track mac users and give refunds, but they can offer a new subscription plan that doesn't charge us for a major feature that we will never be able to use.

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  24. Well, I am surprised nobody mentionned it yet: there is a publicly available DRM technology for video on the Mac.

    It is currently used by the INA (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel), the French TV archive administration, to offer all their video on-line. And it works on Macs.

    This technology is the one proposed by DivX. Try it. It works.

    Jean-Denis, from rainy France.

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  25. Still hopefull for that Instant Watching flag on movies in my queue, so I can easily see what I don't need to get in the mail.

    Also I was wondering if it was possible to get English subtitles for the hearing impaired on Instant Watching films?

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  26. Great post. Knowing the reasons why Instant Viewing isn't available to the MAC makes the news a little easier to take. One question though, why can I watch 'Instant Viewing' on the ABC website on a Mac. Can't you guys use the same technology they are using?

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  27. Firefox support is great news. Any hopes of Linux support?

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  28. I love the Watch Now feature... moved my PC downstairs to the living room to watch it on the big screen (keeping the Mac in the office though). If non-OS depentent Opera support became available through Watch Now, we could use it on Wii, which is already in our living rooms... perhaps a little chat with Nintendo would get that ball rolling?

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  29. All together now : "OUCH"! Waft the sweet smell of baking bread over to the starving man, why don't you! (a joke, btw, if any of you smug PC'ers know what those are).

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  30. I'd love to see Netflix partner with Apple on the Apple TV - that way we Mac-heads can use instant watching AND get in on a nifty new toy (Apple TV) at the same time. It seems like such a logical match to me...

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  31. I'm a Mac user, and I think this sucks. At the same time, I'm glad something is being said about it. I really think NetFlix need to have this info available on the website, instead of the current "does not work" message.
    I think they key phrase to remember here is "DRM that the studios approve of". This isn't about not having a DRM format available on the Mac at all (see the DivX comment above), this is about the content owners approving of the DRM format in question.
    What makes this argument interesting is that there is news all over the net about the DRM of this feature being hacked. Microsoft's DRM is cracked often, and if you want to know how to do it, you are usually just a google search away.
    In contrast, NBC is currently streaming high def versions of its shows through the browser, and I have yet to hear of hacks or cracks related to that, AND it is Mac compatible. What really needs to happen is the content owners need to be made aware that tying their content up in Microsoft's proprietary DRM format does not make it more secure. The issue with online content has always been that studios want more protection than is currently available for existing physical media because there is a percieved higher risk of pirating. Most techies know this is not the case, as a rip and transcode of a DVD is just a few clicks away, and certainly no more difficult than trying to extract and transcode a stream.
    This is not a technical issue, it is a social issue that the studios want addressed technically. Until studio execs realize that all their cloying DRM efforts only aggravate and penalize their /paying/ customers, and fail to stop determined pirates, it will continue to be addressed as such.

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  32. About the MAC Instant Watch issue... I have a PC with slowwwwwww dial up at home, so I am unable to view movies there. I have watched a few on a friends PC. So maybe the MAC user's just need to get out and find a friend with a PC.

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  33. Yes, many of us do watch on friends' PC's, which why some of us are asking for time vouchers, either for future use (HA!) or transferable to our generous PC time sharers.

    Great posts, Daniel and Jean-Denis, thanks/merci. Very interesting and INFURIATING!

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  34. Steve, can you (or someone else) give any details on the bandwidth requirements for Watch Now? I've got a 1.5 Mb DSL connection at home, but my movies always stream at the lowest possible quality setting. I realize that there are definitely faster connections available out there, but that still seems like a big enough pipe to be able to receive more than minimum quality.

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  35. Even though it is not related to this post, there is no where else for me to say this.

    But I'm pissed of that I still see the movies I selected as private in that sliding tab!!!!

    Do my friends see them? If they do, I'm pretty disappointed and annoyed.

    I hope I get an answer saying that it shows up in my sliding tab, but not my friend's tab, but I'm dubious.

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  36. So maybe the MAC user's just need to get out and find a friend with a PC.

    Why should Mac users have to go to a friend's house to use this feature. I do have friends with PCs, but that doesn't mean they have the same taste in movies that I do.

    What is with the level of jerkitude in the comments from so many of the PC users? Is it really so difficult to understand why Mac users (and some of us have gone overboard, too)want this feature without implying that we have no friends and should just sit down and shut up rather then ask for an explanation?

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  37. @anon 8.53am - Just ask one of your closer friends for their password and check their slider.

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  38. @Pippin - With you 100%. Some 'Community', with this snide 'let them eat cake' attitude from our 'fellow' Flixers! We don't resent PC owners HAVING Watch Now, we resent NOT having it, and having access to less than half the viewing hours while paying the same price. Your bus ticket takes you from San Diego to San Fran, but we, having bought the same ticket, can only get as far as San Luis Obisco. How can people not see the absurdity of that?

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  39. "@anon 8.53am - Just ask one of your closer friends for their password and check their slider."

    I've only added one friend (my sister), I added her because the privacy feature became available.

    I'm not going to ask for her password, she doesn't live near me and that would be a really strange request.

    However, I'm pissed because I would never had added her if I knew these movies would show up.

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  40. Re slider - I stand very corrected. Family is a whole different ball of wax. My apologies.

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  41. It would make no sense for NF to hide your own movies from you, so you can be pretty certain that privacy is working just fine.

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  42. Hello -

    For firefox users there is a solution for watching online right now, since I already do this. One of the extensions available to Firefox users is IE Tab. This extension allows you to open Internet Explorer from within Firefox and allows you to watch netflix movies online.

    Additionally, does netflix have any plans of allowing viewing online movies via the Playstation3. I have already accessed netlix.com from my PS3 but obviously Windows XP and IE are required at this point. What are the technical hurdles that prevent watching online movies via PS3.

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  43. Not a single mention of closed captions or English subtitles.

    It's interesting how Mac users are upset because they're "denied" access to the instant watching feature. A $200 windows PC will exceed the current system requirements.

    How long will I have to wait before I can enjoy Instant watching? Will it be 2009? 2010? ever?

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  44. Where's any mention of Linux? Thanks, for a minute I felt like I could simpathize with Mac users about Watch Now, but now I've been pushed into the corner with all the other Linux users. Now we get no Watch Now because we were so wrong to choose a free, efficient operating system. I guess I would get better treatment if I used a bug-filled, bloated piece of crap like Vista or XP. Or better yet, when Mac support comes around, let me waste money on some over-priced Mac hardware. This is completely unfair. At least mention the word "Linux" once in your damn post.

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  45. Dear Linux users and any others that can't take advantage of the much touted 'Watch Now' feature - Please feel included in any gripe. We keep hearing posts about workarounds and down-loadable patches, so we have no clue who can and who can't use it. And then most people hate IE, want sub-titles, a more reliable pause feature, and so on, which is why NF might have done better not to even mention it until it was up and working perfectly for everyone. But I suppose BB's 'Total Access/In Store Exchange' made them rush it out before it was really ready....

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  46. Though not a Mac user or fan myself, I gotta agree with them that the PC folks are hatin' pretty hard right now. I'm all for multi-platform, multi-browser support in just about everything. I'm already miffed enough that it's IE-only... if it were to be Mac-only (which it wouldn't, but bear with me), that would really tick me off.

    So I stand in solidarity with my fellow Netflixers on Macs. :)

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  47. Spoken like a true Gentleman!

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  48. It appears that no-one is going to mention the glaring problem that the current DRM solution has - you can't play the video over a Component video connection. DRM is such a huge limiting factor in so many ways, not being able to enjoy a video on the display of my choice is pretty ridiculous when I comply to the rest of the requirements. Is the analog hole really that big of a threat?

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  49. @James, rather than attack the operating systems that you don't use, why not beat the drum louder for the one that you do use?

    Mac users would have been igored, too, if we weren't here asking for some attention. I didn't include Linux inmy posts about Mac access because I am not familiar with it. You sound like you are quite capable of leading the Linux charge, and if you want some Mac-user help, I'll happy to join. It's that strength in mumbers thing, you know.

    @Jimmy - Glad to know I'm not alone!

    @Shaun - Thank you! Some of my best friends are PC users, so I know that we really can get along across platforms.

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  50. I wish I could watch at a smaller resolution so the quality would be better.

    I have a 1.5 mbps download and the full screen quality is not great.

    I'm amazed that other sites can show near dvd quality (at a lower resolution) while the video quality on Netflix is so poor.

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  51. Steady guys! Let's not forget the dangers of being 'divided and conquered' and present a united front to get this system functioning equally well for ALL Netflix members. And it sounds like that's what Steve wants too. So, wish-lists and tech info : good. Carping and personal attacks : bad.

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  52. Let's not forget the dangers of being 'divided and conquered' and present a united front to get this system functioning equally well for ALL Netflix members.

    Yes, this is what I was getting at, Robert. We are all much stronger together, no matter what OS we use, then we are as splinter groups.

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  53. A few comments on the "watch instantly" feature
    I've watched a few Watch Instantly TV series. The strange this is that some episodes are missing. For "Dead like me" the pilot is missing but later episodes are available. How come the full series isn't available? I assume if the studios let you show some, they would let you show the full thing? Also the Addams family season 1 use to be available but the links were wrong. Instead of fixing the links, the whole series was removed. How come? After watching a movie in "watch instantly", how come the movie isn't removed from my queue?

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  54. In a previous blog post about Watch Now, myself and others did mention Linux. It just really pisses me off how Linux is not even mentioned in the article at all. I guess in the title I fall under "and more"? At least that's what I thought until I read the article to find nothing of the sort. I'm not trying to divide anyone by OS, however by making an angry rant it will hopefully get enough attention so in the next blog post about instant watching, hopefully they'll make some mention of Linux instead of just ignoring it. I think it would be foolish on Netflix's part to do this because there is a large community surrounding Linux and everyone in it makes software/product decisions based upon advise of others rather than how fancy a commercial on TV looks. So if Blockbuster can make recently purchased Movielink work with Linux, expect some defectors.

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  55. I can't say for sure about Linux support, but its not mentioned on the Silverlight support page: http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/system-requirements.aspx

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  56. I currently don't have a version of windows running past ver. 3.1 and that one is just for me to playaround on. You support linux and I'll think about signing on.

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  57. I'd like to see Watch Now Linux compatible.

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  58. @ James

    ...hopefully they'll make some mention of Linux instead of just ignoring it. I think it would be foolish on Netflix's part to do this because there is a large community surrounding Linux and everyone in it makes software/product decisions based upon advise of others...

    This is an excellent point and well worth repeating. What is so frustrating for me as a Mac owner is the number of posts, e-mails, and phone calls it can take to get a response from any company in a situation such as this. It really does take quite a bit of persistence to get attention sometimes, but I like my platform of choice and if I have to deal with that once in a while, well, I guess it just goes with the Mac territory.

    Thanks for that post. I agree that Linux should be included in the Watch Instantly feature, and that an update on this owed to you.

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  59. I also wish to see Linux support, as I don't really use Windows anymore.

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  60. As long as the folks running the show are not using macs, nothing's going to change.

    We use toys, and we need to step up and use boot camp and eventually, drop the mac os altogether.

    And this is why I get my movies from the iTunes music store.

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  61. As long as the folks running the show are not using macs, nothing's going to change.

    Didn't Steve N. say that he and many other Netflixers use Macs (and are long time users if I understand what a 128K Mac is). I don't understand how or why you would make this kind of statement.

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  62. It looks like someone at Netflix heard my complaint over at the Ubuntu Forums.

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  63. I second Anonymous's comments:

    "I understand that there are technical barriers to providing the streaming service on Macs, but at least appeal to Mac users sense of fairness and offer some compensation for not providing full access to a service we are in fact paying for.

    Also, it wouldn't hurt if the "Watch Now" tab was hidden from the Netflix menu rather than reminding me each time I'm on the site that I there is a feature I can't use.


    If the Netflix site can determine what browser and operating system I'm using when I visit the Watch Now page, maybe it can do that from my first visit to the Netflix site and somehow provide info that Watch Now is available ... but don't remind me that I can't use it.

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  64. In liberal estimates, there are more desktop Linux users than Mac users. In conservative estimates, there are at least half as many Linux users as Mac users.

    I've been a Netflix customer for years, so it's disappointing to see so little interest in expanding the Watch Now feature to Linux users.

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  65. As I've stated before I'd like to see Linux support as well. Hopefully MoonLight will allow this.

    Also, why do users who don't/can't use Instant Watching have to pay for this service. Netflix users who only watch DVDs should get a discount and those who choose to use Instant Watching should have to pay a premium. Why should non-users subsidize those who use Instant Watching?

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  66. I would love to see Linux support. If you want we'll put together some Digital Restrictions Management software in order to speed up the process. As a community, we are here to help... or reverse engineer Microsoft's DRM, which ever comes first. :P

    Ubuntu 4 LIFE!

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  67. I think this post from Michael on another site might save all those of us with Mac, Linux, Firefox, etc, issues an awful lot of time and effort, and save everyone else from having to listen to the same complaints over and over :

    "gang. i totally appreciate your desire to "let netflix know" that you want Linux support. I'll ask steve to comment on this, but in the meantime, honestly, we're not the US Senate -- more comments requesting Linux support won't make us hear it any better. It's not a voting system. Once you mentioned it once, Steve was aware there were still unanswered questions. Hang lose and let's see if he can address this for you."

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  68. I've got to say it. This means nothing to me as there is no mention of Linux. Is there a time frame? Is Linux even on the table?

    I'm a potential customer, but can't be bothered due to the lack of Linux.

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  69. I'm a potential customer, but can't be bothered due to the lack of Linux.

    Are you SERIOUS??? You must be an idiot. Netflix is a totally great service for getting movies AND they're pretty cool. You would deny yourself a good service and a pretty good value because of Linux? You're crazy.

    Let me ask this another way: "Hey everyone -- how many of us who use IE on PC want Netflix to stop developing all those great upcoming features so they can redirect their engineers to make a Linux version for these computer guys?" Deafening silence? I thought so.

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  70. Regarding the suggestions to hide the watch now feature from users visiting the site on a Mac... remember that that Watch Now *does* work in Parallels or VM fusion, so you can't just browser sniff for platform compatibility (or even from those members that use a Mac sometimes, and a PC others). It's a complicated set of scenarios, and the best path forward is probably the one being implemented.

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  71. While I'm not going to drop the flix as they are THE source for mail rentals, we did drop our plan to the minimum we could. We went from 5 disks to 2, we've been on the 5 disk plan for some time and I've been using Netflix since almost the begining back in the yellow disk times. However this lack of support for the Mac platform saddens me and we simply couldn't stand buy with out making a stand of some sort. When netflix releases a Mac solution we will reup to 5 disks like we would like, until then our watching will be supplemented by Family Video. I'd like to give tehflix more money but I can't stand by as they shut out someone who as stood by them for years and years.

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  72. I'm a Linux user, but I have a dual boot system so no worries. I love the streaming movies, and want to congratulate you on a job well done.

    My only problem is in the small selection of titles. I know that's beyond your control, and you'd probably stream your whole catalog if you could.

    I am a major fan of documentaries, and less mainstream films. That's why NF has an edge over Blockbuster, who live up to their name by neglecting lesser-known stuff.

    Thanks again,

    Jeff

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  73. I would love to see a way to search only movies that are instantly viewable. Love it!

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  74. I happen to be one of those huddled Lin-mac masses, but I'm not sure that Netflix should be excoriated just because the market has evolved into this Microsoft-centric universe that requires totally separate research paths for the lesser used platforms/systems - the majority are obviously going to be attended to first, especially since the less trodden paths inevitably pose more of a technical challenge.

    So I think it's a bit feeble to ask them to reconfigure their tabs for us just so we don't have to 'suffer so' every time we log on, as if they're doing this deliberately to torture us, but I do agree that some kind of explanation and apology should have been issued to everyone that couldn't take advantage of this sudden huge increase in viewing hours at no charge when it was first released. I also agree that some kind of compensation should be offered to anyone whose account shows that they haven't logged on with an "operating system that is compatible with this feature" (cold!) in any given month, which must save Netflix money whether it's by choice or not (although who wouldn't if they could?) - anything from a bonus DVD (which shows up on the queue page to be click-on) to an upgrade to the next 'movies-out' level the following month to bring the 'you get what you pay for' factor more into balance for all members.

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  75. "For the mac users claiming they are not getting their money's worth... remember that just a few short months ago you were paying the same price for just mailed movies"

    I am currently on the 4-at-a-time plan which gets about 25 movies/month, plus about 15 movie downloads. 15 movies! Windows users can get 60% more movies (if they want them)! And "just a few short months" works out to at least a year (they started Instant Watching about 6 months ago and won't be expanding support for at least another 6 months). 15x12 months = 180 movies! Thats pretty significant.

    If 6 months ago Netflix had lowered the subscription prices for only Windows users by 35%, you could have said the same exact thing.

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  76. Nicely figured out - didn't dare try to crunch the numbers myself for fear of an irreversible 'episode' of some kind. And these stats from an 'Instant Watcher', no less! Impressively Community spirited, I call that.

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  77. As a Mac user and Netflix subscriber, I'd just like to say that the day the iTunes store offers movie rentals or Tivo offers instant downloads is the day that I quit Netflix and never look back. For #$%*#'s sake -- it's a DVD rental plan. My DVD player is no different than any PC user's. Yet you've still managed to find a way to marginalize me.

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  78. "gang. i totally appreciate your desire to "let netflix know" that you want Linux support. I'll ask steve to comment on this, but in the meantime, honestly, we're not the US Senate -- more comments requesting Linux support won't make us hear it any better. It's not a voting system. Once you mentioned it once, Steve was aware there were still unanswered questions. Hang lose and let's see if he can address this for you."
    Uh, yeah this is like the senate, except I vote with the money I pay every month to Netflix. So if I don't like who's in office, I switch to Blockbuster. I've already dropped down to a lower plan, leaving is next.

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  79. -- more comments requesting Linux support won't make us hear it any better.

    We don't have any way to know if something has been heard at all if someone from Netflix doesn't tell us. Additionally, just because a request or concern has been heard does not mean that it is something that can or will be incorporated into the grand scheme of Netflix things.

    If I'm not mistaken the Linux questions have yet to be addressed on this very blog run by Netflix. It's just a tad bit perplexing when a blog is started asking for input, and then we are told to keep our concerns to ourselves in such a brusque manner.

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  80. michael, from netflixAugust 12, 2007 at 11:30 PM

    I hope it is clear that we at Netflix read this blog very carefully. Not responding to every post is not the same as not listening, and i hope by now you all can tell that we are sincere in our requests for feedback, and that failure to repond online is not indicative of lack of interest.

    Second, my comment about the Senate was made on another website - not here. It was copied by one of y'all and pasted here, but i was responding directly to a call for action at Ubuntu to get lots of interested folks to write in to complain about the lack of Linux support, and I was only saying (there) that more votes wasn't going to make it get heard better than one. This blog doesn't work that way -- you aren't voting here. You're giving us feedback and ideas. (You ARE however voting when you leave the service, or upgrade/downgrade plans. You are correct that your dollars are a very meaningful kind of vote. But blog posts aren't the same.)

    In fact my posting at Ubuntu should have triggered a thought that i WAS interested in this topic and digging around learning more.

    But you're all right - it hasn't been addressed in this blog. I don't have the knowledge to answer completely, and Steve will respond when he gets a chance.

    You know, just for my own reference on this issue, i just checked on the OS used in reading this blog. Our blog readers are a far more technical and creative crowd than typical of Netflix subscribers, i'd guess; still I was curious. According to the data i'm staring at now: about 66% of you use some form of Windows (XP, NT, etc.) and about 30% use a Mac OS X (!!! like me!! I run OSX and Windows on my Mac in Parallels desktop) Do you guys know how many use a form of Linux? It says 1.2%

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  81. ...In fact my posting at Ubuntu should have triggered a thought that i WAS interested in this topic and digging around learning more.

    I am always hesitant to make assumptions like that, as it's much too easy to end up going in the wrong direction.

    I don't have the knowledge to answer completely, and Steve will respond when he gets a chance.

    That is a very fair and honest answer. Thank you very much.

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  82. Of course I am not surprised to see a "it's not our fault" response to the lack of Mac support. But that is nonsense. Netflix chose to ignore the millions of Mac users in order to save money and test the system with the Windoze crowd. I cancelled my account and had quite a few family and friends cancel theirs. Companies like Netflix must learn that it is unacceptable to treat Mac users as second-class citizens on the web. They won't get another penny from me as long as Windoze users are getting more features for the same money. DRM issues can be resolved through negotiation, technological innovation, and a commitment to solutions. I enjoyed having Netflix for years, but I will never support a company that does not equally prioritize me as a customer.

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  83. 1.2% of how many visitors? lol Ok I'll wait patiently for Steve's response. I've think I've bothered you enough for now.

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  84. I haven't read all the comments, but is there any way that we could be notified if titles will be eliminated from the Watch Now inventory? I've made a list of the ones I'd like to see and of them I recently noticed that Born Into Brothels, The Believer and Three Coins in the Fountain all no longer were on file.

    Thanks and keep up the good work

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  85. "Do you guys know how many use a form of Linux? It says 1.2%"

    I would guess that has to do with people being at work. I visit this blog at work where I have no choice but to run Windows. I use Linux 100% at home, though.

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  86. 1.2% of how many visitors?"

    At least 2500, thats how many responded to the demographics poll on the front page. Its probably more than 10,000, meaning at least 120 Linux users have read the blog at one time or another.

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  87. What are the technical issues with 'Watch Now' facing the Netflix team regarding Firefox on Windows? Is it integration of the DRM as an Active X control into Firefox?

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  88. It's great that you're working on getting it to Mac(!) and other browsers such as Firefox. Any chance of having Opera support in the future as well? I'm probably in the minority on this one, but Opera's my main browser on the PC.

    Plus I'd love to be able to play movies on my TV through the Nintendo Wii's Opera browser, but maybe that's asking for too much?

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  89. a few thoughts as an IT manager who uses Mac, Windows and Linux.

    At home I use linux. In the office I work on Macs and Windows desktop machines.

    I googled linux, netflix, watch instantly, and found this blog at work.
    I suspect a large number of your blog readers could be in a similar situation. I don't use watch now at work, I would like to at home. so what is used to read the blog may not be representative.

    Having said that, I understand that their are financial issues involved with having this service run on other platforms. While I would love to use the service on my Ubuntu install at home, I still have my home machine dual boot to windows to run things like this.

    My god - some of these mac users need to get a grip. THIS IS NOT DISCRIMINATION. You are not forced to use ONLY OSX. You are not prevented from using the service on another OS.

    and watch instantly on the Wii's opera would be FANTASTIC

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  90. "I still have my home machine dual boot to windows to run things like this".


    You'll notice that most of the 'get a grip' crowd - with the notable exceptions of Shaun and Baff - all have access to 'Watch Now'! Plus many seem to agree that we should either steal time from our bosses or go over to a friend's house and impose on them. OR, best of all, go out and buy a PC! I said earlier that I understand that this MacLinux 2nd fiddle factor is a cold hard reality of the market, but that Netflix still needs to make some token gesture to acknowledge the fact that some subscribers are only getting 50 to 75 cents worth of services on the $1 - otherwise people are going to continue to vote with that devalued currency.

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  91. "I still have my home machine dual boot to windows to run things like this".

    "You'll notice that most of the 'get a grip' crowd - with the notable exceptions of Shaun and Baff - all have access to 'Watch Now'! Plus many seem to agree that we should either steal time from our bosses or go over to a friend's house and impose on them. OR, best of all, go out and buy a PC!"

    you start with a quote me, but I don't suggest any of those things. (I'm actually offended that you would think I was stealing time from my boss - I'm able to read blogs while on break during my 10-14 hours days)

    I've made my OS choice - linux. I understand that it is not the most supported OS around. I also understand that I must sacrifice certain things to use it. I've come up with a work-around that doesn't involve portraying myself as some kind of victim.

    all new macs have the option of running windows - you can even do it under OSX with parallels. I paid for my copy of windows, just for these types of situations. Now, I haven't seen it from you, but I've seen people here claim that netflix should credit them since they can't use the service to its full potential. I find this ridiculous - Because you can. You just choose not to. If it is not a good enough deal, then you can drop the service.

    I just don't buy the "I'm getting ripped off" argument. You've chosen to rip yourself off (Just as I have)

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  92. Having said what I just did (about not feeling ripped off)

    I feel it is in netflix's best interest to come up with a solution that works for Mac's and Linux. I'm sure that those markets match up with their prime demographics. It would be a shame if they were driven off by the appearance that netflix doesn't care about them.

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  93. While I was thrilled about the instant viewing feature on Netflix. However, when I view the my very first instant viewing movie, I was looking all over for option for closed caption or subtitle and there was none! Being Deaf, those option is a must for me to use those such features. I really hope subtitle/closed caption feature will be added sometime soon! Otherwise, I would never use it. Such a waste!

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  94. "I'm actually offended that you would think I was stealing time from my boss"

    Miscommunication. Not you, us : Mac users who've been instructed to find a PC to watch on, which for many of us would mean watching on company time.

    OSX/Vista parallels only work on intel macs, and mine's a power pc.

    But I love Netflix in all other regards, so have almost manged to persuade myself that I don't even WANT to watch movies on a silly 12" screen. Goodnight.

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  95. You are not forced to use ONLY OSX. You are not prevented from using the service on another OS.

    Being that my Mac is several years old and is not capable of running windows, and my budget at this time does not permit purchase of another computer or any kind, I am prevented from using Watch Instantly on another service. What makes you think you know everything about everybody's circumstances?

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  96. ...since they can't use the service to its full potential. I find this ridiculous - Because you can. You just choose not to.

    That's the most serious case of recto-cranial impaction I've seen evidenced here to date. Good luck with that.

    Buh-bye now.

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  97. "all new macs have the option of running windows - you can even do it under OSX with parallels."

    My non-intel mac is only a year and a half old and it won't run windows. Seeing as its pretty new, I have no plans to buy a new computer any time soon.

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  98. "That's the most serious case of recto-cranial impaction I've seen evidenced here to date. Good luck with that".

    I pray that you have a good agent, my friend, because that's gold. And I bet our schadenfreudliche/r IT manager's happy to have stepped into the path of this gang's buzz-saw.

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  99. "Being that my Mac is several years old and is not capable of running windows, and my budget at this time does not permit purchase of another computer or any kind, I am prevented from using Watch Instantly on another service."

    Same here. It's always so frustrating when people give "just use Windows!" as a solution for these types of problems, since not all Mac users have that option.

    Personally, I think that instant watching should be a premium feature of Netflix. Users who want to use it should pay extra for it, while those who don't or simply can't (due to technical limitations) shouldn't have to. I highly doubt that this will ever happen, but it sure would be nice to receive some sort of compensation for paying the same price for the service but not being able to enjoy all of its benefits.

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  100. Re: "o."
    When I signed up for Netflix, I agreed to pay the price I'm paying for the service w/o Watch Now. Now that it's added and part of my account, I'm not going to complain that it's not working on my Mac, or argue that I should get a discount since it doesn't work for me. That's ridiculous. I'm happy it's a feature and it works great in the platform/environment it was designed for. From the sound of it, we should be complaining to the studios and DRM implementation since that's the thing holding the Mac/Linux/Wii/etc support.

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  101. Jason,

    Like I said in my other post, I realize that the discount will probably never happen, but in my opinion, it sure would be a good option. For the time being, though, I'd definitely prefer to not have the instant watching options viewable on the site if I can't actually access them. At least give us that much...

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  102. after my free trial, i am not going to sign up. i thought i would be able to watch movies on my laptop but now i see netflix doesn't support Mac OSX. had this been made clear initially, i would have saved my free trial option for a later date when netflix becomes Mac friendly. 8.99 a month made sense when i thought i could see more movies -- some on dvd and some on my computer -- but at the rate i watch, mail, and receive new movies, the 1 at a time plan is not cost effective. i will eagerly await a time when i can enjoy the full benefits of netflix (and hope i can restart my free trial then) but for now it doesn't seem fair that Mac people pay the same monthly fee as people who receive 9 hours of instant movie watching when we don't.

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  103. @Jason - I think you're perhaps being a bit TOO understanding, but I really like that you're so uncomplaining and fair minded. It makes a refreshing change.

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  104. Imagine joining a gym and they suddenly added a whole new floor that only members who are over a certain height could use. Wouldn't the excluded be rightly pissed?

    But who ever said life was fair, and there are certainly bigger things to worry about. I'd almost settle for a rewording of the curt little incompatibility note that pops up, like :

    "Dear members, due to the copyright infringement concerns of the studios it is currently only possible to offer this service to members who use the latest Windows OS, since all the necessary DRM's are already in place. Our apologies, and we'll keep you updated on the new Community Blog. Your friends at Netflix".

    Sometimes attitude is key.

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  105. Thank you for the insider's tips. We can't wait.

    The entry is blogged on http://appletvsource.com .

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  106. I'm a Mac owner who is not that upset about not getting to watch now ... that's not what I signed up for. However, I'm annoyed that the season 4 for L&O:CI is available for instant watching while it languishes on my "saved" list as unavailable for renting. How does that work?

    I've got nine movies in that list

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  107. My big issue with Instant Watching isn't the selection, it's the screen format. Why are so many movies that are natively widescreen presented in a 4:3 ratio? Netflix is so much better about this with the DVD selection, so it's confusing to me why this is a problem in Instant Watching. Great work otherwise.

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  108. I'm going to have to go with the Linux theme. Sadly, the cavalier attitude toward summarily dismissing 12% of your active visitors/promoters is really making me consider taking you up on your implicit and reducing my subscription down from 3-at-once. If I'm not going to be heard on the Netflix Community Blog, I gotta be heard somehow.

    Regarding "not what I signed up for," I honestly signed up for you in no small part for the fact that you were including Linux users as full members. Sadly, it seems that you've rescinded this, and are happy to turn away more than every tenth customer instead of giving us parity--less cost for less features or the same cost for the same features.

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  109. Interesting. In other news, Revolution OS, which ships without CSS for a reason is available to view online--but only with DRM!

    I don't think they'd be pleased.

    http://www.revolution-os.com/store1.html

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  110. It would be really great if you could not show what we watched... some of us share accounts with other family members... it would be great to watch a film privately on the computer and not have it listed as recently viewed.

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  111. Sadly, it seems that you've rescinded this, and are happy to turn away more than every tenth customer...

    Hey anon nimrod... I agree with you, but it is 1.2% not 12%, and I believe the reference was to the blog, not to Netflix, although that is just my impression.

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  112. Thanks for the love, fellow anonymous monkey. "Nimrod" seems rather harsh for an honest mistake.

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  113. a"Additionally, does netflix have any plans of allowing viewing online movies via the Playstation3. I have already accessed netlix.com from my PS3 but obviously Windows XP and IE are required at this point. What are the technical hurdles that prevent watching online movies via PS3."

    I to have a ps3, and when I don't have a dvd-blue ray in the mail from netflix, I like to pop on a movie from "watch instantly". But then I'm stuck watching a movie on my notebook, which has a crappy speaker system, and a small screen. Now my ps3, would be awesome, just hop online, load up netflix, and watch a movie!

    If Netflix did this, I'm sure alot of ps3 owners would say 'screw block buster'. :P

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  114. I came to netflix about a week ago to sign up, but decided not too. The lowest plan advertises watch 5 movies for $5, but to do this you need a Windows machine. For a mac/linux user it is watch 2 movies for $5, not quite the same deal.

    I have to admit, I would of signed up if I had come to it a year ago and there were no downloads, I just cannot stomach supporting a service which is seeking to strengthen the windows monopoly. Yes windows has the majority of the OS's out there, but I don't have to like it, or pay, even indirectly to support it.

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  115. It wouldn't kill Netflix to add Linux support for instant watching as an option. I, for one, would like to see it happen.

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  116. Hey as far as Wii and PS3 support, I doubt it. I've read a while back that the founder of Netflix is on the Microsoft Board, so chances are he wouldn't wanna do anything that would benefit Microsoft's competitors. Chances are also that this "Netflix on TV in 2008" will simply be VOD for Xbox 360. I wouldn't be surprised if Windows only for Watch Now has to do with the Netflix founder investing in Microsoft.

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  117. James, Interesting conspiracy theory, but it's completely ridiculous. First of all, Hastings is already a zillionaire - the idea he'd pump MS to make a few extra bucks that way is unlikely. Second, even if he was fully motivated by profit, he owns so much Netflix stock, it would shock me if he'd do anything but try to make Netflix stock go up, and that would mean he'd make the best decisions he could to improve his own company - if that was an XBOX deal, then great, but it's probably more about making a smart biz decision.

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  118. Obviously, it is Netflix decision to only support MS products. It is my decision wether to use the service or not. My oldest daughter and wife have been pushing to get netflix, after seeing this, redirected from arstechnica, I don't feel mac users are getting the same value, why support a company that doesnt' support me.

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  119. On the one hand, I understand the pragmatics of the issue. It is hard to get something that works cross-platform.

    On the other hand, this is a pretty lame excuse. "No one provided a solution for us, so there is nothing we can do." If you want to be a market leader, you can't sit around and wait for someone else to solve the problem for you.

    As a developer myself, I'm sure you guys said, "Let's get this working on Windows now and we'll figure out the Mac later." And that's what happened. It would have been nice if you'd started out with the goal to "Come up with a solution for all of our subscribers."

    Based on your comment above, about 1/3rd of the readers here use Macs. That's a pretty big chunk of your customer base that you have slighted with this approach.

    I've loved NF since the day I started using it. I can honestly say, this "Windows only" feature is the only time I've had a negative feeling toward the company. In many ways it is a small deal -- but it really does lower my opinion of the company. You've spent a lot of time and money developing the "good will" you have with your subscribers. And now you've thrown a lot of that away for a third of them. Not smart, IMHO.

    As other posters have said, my loyalty to NF reflects your loyalty to me. I've never considered switching to Blockbuster. But if they came up with a download service that supported their customer base I would be sorely tempted. If Apple comes up with a rental service, well...

    Thanks,
    tim

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  120. Firefox, please!! For Linux! I hate having to reboot to Windows just to watch a movie.

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  121. I'm with those who would like to see the possibility of Instant Viewing on Linux. I do have a Windows PC with video out to my TV, so I've been able to enjoy the Watch It Now Feature, but I would prefer the flexibility of being able to use it on my Linux machine as well.

    I realize the political (not technological) limitations on making this happen. The studios still believe that DRM works at slowing movie piracy and so they insist upon it - to the detriment of consumers. If I wanted to pirate movies I could do so more quickly without Netflix, and with a wider selection than 'Watch it Now,' for free. It's we, the actual paying customers, who are thwarted by DRM, not the pirates.

    I realize that this isn't Netflix's fault, but I hope that you will put what pressure you can on the studios to recognize this rather obvious fact.

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  122. As a Mac and PC user. All my computers in the house are PC. It just happens that my MAC is my home theater system.

    This sucks to hear and it would be great to have the feature during those times when I'm not watching a movie.

    But IMO I'm lucky to watch the mailed movies I get and with HD here it's not that big of a deal.

    I'm willing to wait.

    Of course I have an Intel Mac.

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  123. The primary issue for me, as a Mac user, is not that they don't offer the service (though that is a big hassle), but that NetFlix does not discuss this anywhere on their corporate site.

    It's bad customer communication.

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  124. it sickens me to be a second class citizen. thx for the update... lucky for netflix no one challenged this if not it would have been bye bye a long time ago.

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  125. Funny that some Mac users (of which I am one) think that they are subsidizing Windows users when it is more likely that the Windows users are subsidizing the Mac and Linux users by watching movies online as opposed to getting physical copies in the mail (which I suspect saves Netflix money). To be "fair" Mac users and Linux users should probably be paying higher monthly fees for watching more movies the old fashioned snail mail way.

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  126. To be "fair" Mac users and Linux users should probably be paying higher monthly fees for watching more movies the old fashioned snail mail way.

    Oh, I don't know. If our numbers our so insignificant that we can wait so much longer for this service, then I doubt we can be costing all that much. I've done my part and downgraded my account from 5 out to 2 out starting this month.

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  127. Wii. Wii. Wii. Wii. As an above poster said, it's already sitting in my living room plugged into my TV. Either throw in Opera support or get with Nintendo and have them work up a "channel" that we can add.

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  128. That definitely makes me happy now that you've explained it in a way we can all understand :)

    Thank you for your commitment.

    What is it about cool guys being named Steve?

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  129. The PC-only "Watch Now" feature just makes Netflix look lame and out-of-it. As a Mac user, I cringe at that kind of unsophistication. Yes, I'm a Mac snob, but anything PC-only smacks of poor planning and bad design.

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  130. Anonymous said. The PC-only "Watch Now" feature just makes Netflix look lame and out-of-it

    I don't know why Netflix doesn't make an effort to tell their customers how easy it is to hook a laptop or desktop computer to a TV. I bought a box for about $80 that takes VGA in and puts out 480i component or S-Video. It looks pretty close to DVD quality on my Samsung 32 inch HDTV tube TV.
    It’s pretty clear, since you hired Anthony Wood, that Netflix probably wants to put out a Netflix branded box in the near future, but it couldn’t hurt to let people know that there are fairly cheap solutions out there already.
    Also I concur with others on this site about Linux. I hate needing to boot windows to use Watch Now.

    But otherwise I’m a happy Netflix customer and shareholder.

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  131. It's so refreshing to see a company responding to the suggestions and desires of its customers. Thanks Netflix!

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  132. What a bunch of crap.
    Watch it now for Macs in '08 my foot, the tech/drm wont be available and working until at least '09, if ever....

    and even then its not as if some 13 year old kid wont crack it in the first month.

    I hate paying for services I cant use.

    I think its time for another class action lawsuit.

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  133. This statement is prominently displayed on my account page: "You have been granted 17 hours of instant watching time for the current billing period." Even the very wording of this suggests the exclusivity that is decried in this thread: I have been "granted" viewing time? Thank you, master.

    The simple truth is as follows:
    1. A subscription service is offered to each of us. I, like others, have honored Netflix by giving them my hard-earned money for years, and they, in turn have provided a service to me that I have enjoyed and considered worth the cost.
    2. They offer a new service to some of their customers and not others, but is paid for by all of their customers.
    3. That I am paying for a service provided to some subscribers, but such service does not include me or my family, is a breach of contract, unless I am informed of this and agree to it in advance of paying for it. Said another way, no business can charge you for a service they provide to others, and not to you, unless you have agreed to let them do that.
    4. The obvious solution is to charge a fee reflecting the real cost of this service which would be paid by those who are able to use the service, and not paid by those who are prevented from doing so.
    5. If there is a lawyer on board who knows how to do this stuff, this is an obvious class-action lawsuit case, the outcome of which would hopefully be fairness to all subscribers; which is - everybody gets what they pay for.
    6. It is difficult to separate out the fact that the CEO of Netflix is on the board of Microsof, while Netflix is offering a service to Windows users only, but supports this service with fees from ALL subscribers. This is, at the least, a conflict of interest.
    7. This situation should be rectified immediately. Two solutions could be implemented immediately and solve all problems... legal and ethical: Support Mac OS and Linux now, OR separate out the real cost of providing instant movies on PC, and charge it separetely to those who CAN use the service, and wish to do so.

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  134. Yes! Netflix is testing new features and new low pricing all the time on groups of subscribers - Let's all sue them to stop, after all, those people got to use the Drag and Drop Queue and all these Community features before us, AND WE PAID FOR IT. Completely unfair!

    I suspect that if Netflix rolled out any new feature that was of limited value (Think: Instant Watching of only 128 movies) we'd scoff at them. But when they roll it out to an easy subset while they ramp up its value, we scoff too. Clearly, if they valued this Instant Watching feature more, they'd charge ALL OF US - since they don't, I believe it's probably not being used very much. I don't care that only some subscribers get to use it. Let them test it there, and give it to me once there is a great movie selection and a great set of controls. It's free because it has little value to most people. No one will give a discount to you for not using something that is free to a few other people.

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  135. I'm a hardcore Mac user and subscrib to Netflix since early 2002. Netflix provides a great service and I had little (mostly shipping related) problems ever since 9/10 service. The only-PC "watch it now" really ticked me off... it sure is possible to determine the users browser and turn the button off with a simple script, but I also feel I'm getting penalized for using a Mac.

    I also understand that NF doesn't want to or can't cut down the subscription fee from a business perspective ...

    BUT I do think an incentive from NFs side needs to be in place for Mac/Linux users, something like instant shipping - especially for "watch-it-now" or "long wait" movies... if not that, bump up the subscription by +1 movie at a time. only fair imho ...

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  136. If you install the IE Tab Firefox plugin you can view movies from within Firefox.

    This plugin is very stable and can be downloaded
    from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419

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  137. You are not being discriminated against for using a Mac. The kind of computer you use is not equivalent to race or gender since computer use is a choice.

    Mac users should consider themselves fortunate that for now they can view movies at the same low price that windows users who don't require a physical copy can view them. Eventually there will be a download only option and the cost of getting movies in the mail will be greater since we wont have windows users around to subsidize our computing platform of choice.

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  138. Interesting. But would that also apply on Planet Earth, the theory that a service that costs a company money but which is offered for free could somehow create a sufficient revenue stream to subsidize those that don't get this free service? HUH??

    But after much harumphing I'm convinced that we mac and linux users aren't being actively ... hmmm... negatively selected. It's obviously just a function of the current market forces, with Microsoft calling most of the big issue shots; plus it sounds like Apple sure ain't helping any on this particular issue. So maybe it's time to toss our sour grapes and just enjoy the great service that Netflix DOES provide us? If necessary persuading ourselves - as someone suggested - that all this time we're getting to see many more DVD's than those poor dopes crouched over their tiny monitors watching movies they wouldn't normally select (dopes!), or Croatian ones without subtitles (DOPES!), just because they're free. No, I wasn't persuaded either.

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  139. This thing sucks and so does your customer service. I tried to instantly watch in Firefox, it said I needed IE. So, I started IE. I waited for it to start, said I needed to upgrade Windows Media Player to Version 11. I did that, then I tried again, still no luck. I then downloaded and ran the DRM fix. It did nothing. I rebooted the computer, that didn't help. I then called your tech support number and have been on hold for 30 minutes. It's no wonder BlockBuster online is putting you out of business.

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  140. You are not being discriminated against for using a Mac. The kind of computer you use is not equivalent to race or gender since computer use is a choice.

    Here's a definition I found for discrimination:
    "Treating people in a different, usually bad, manner because of their class, race, gender or some other category instead of who they are as individuals."

    Wouldn't the OS I use be considered a category that can be discriminated against? Also, Watch Now doesn't work on PC not because of me as an individual but because of a class of computer user I fit into. I would consider it discrimination.

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  141. This is a totally pointless argument. It'll happen when it happens, and I'm sure Netflix wants that to be every bit as as soon as we do, if only to stem defections and, more importantly, all this bad publicity. If it's a deal breaker, then adios, but enough with the bellyaching. They've already said it won't happen until '08 at the very earliest, so why drive ourselves nuts in the meantime?

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  142. Re "adios", just be warned that even though Blockbuster has almost as many titles as Netflix (70,000 titles vs 80,000), their inventory isn't nearly as well stocked, so you'll be waiting FOR EVER for certain movies on your queue. So please don't be cutting off your nose to spite your face. This is still a pretty sweet deal, just as it was before Watch Now made us all so bitter and twisted. I'm pretty sure there's a Twilight Zone about this very phenomenon.....

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  143. Looks like the Linux and Mac fans have taken over the thread.

    I could care less if Linux or Mac support comes - I'm more interested in the quality of the current service.

    Let me have a choice of resolutions so I can watch in the best quality possible.

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  144. Just to remind you, the thread is called "Instant watching on Mac, Firefox, and more" for people who can't access it, as opposed to "Perfecting the image quality of Instant Watching for the 70% of our customers who can download it".

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  145. why is no one upset that apple won't license their drm? as a mac user myself i certainly wish it was available, however, if the option was there Netflix would be providing it. my guess is that apple IS going to have a similar service at some point, so of course they won't add to their own competition..

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  146. I know it would be a large undertaking, but wouldn't it be better if Netflix created it's own DRM scheme? Then this would free Netflix from being stuck on one platform or having different DRM for each platform. Just create one unified DRM for Netflix Watch Now.

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  147. why aren't my reviews being published? they completely follow guidlines. i have not had a review published after over a month of trying every other day.

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  148. Just proxy broadcasts through server side DRM and stream through Flash for the Mac. Does all DRM have to be client side?

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  149. Not a single studio is willing to allow their content to be shown without DRM?

    Not even Red Envelope Entertainment?


    I understand that REE is not a studio, but a distribution company. Nonetheless, this comment makes a valid point: Netflix is in a stronger position every day to negotiate rational, effective content distribution systems (i.e., systems that don't sacrifice functionality for the illusion of control that DRM provides). Instant Viewing could be implemented outside of the Windows/IE monopoly if DRM were left out of the equation.

    Please take this comment, not as one more "me too" from a Linux user, but an actual constructive suggestion that hasn't been addressed yet. (Note also that you should be grateful for the "me too"s, as each one represents a Linux user unhappy enough with their treatment that he or she is considering defecting to a competitor.)

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  150. I'm surprised no one has brought this up: Hasn't anyone noticed that legally purchased music downloads are gradually moving away from DRM? I just saw a headline today that Walmart is going to start selling DRM-free music. This is where the whole industry is headed, so in a few years all of this will be moot.

    Somehow I've managed to watch streaming video on ABC on my Mac using Firefox. So I just don't buy that this isn't possible. Develop your own system, or work with ABC to license theirs.

    All Netflix has to do to track whether someone can use Watch Instantly or not is to see who clicks on the tab and gets the rude, uninformative page stating that the user's system is incompatible. My subscription fee entitles me to X number of hours of watching. Since I can't use that, I should have a prorated fee or extra DVD mailings.

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  151. One thing that frustrates me is Windows users are acutally benefitting from having a different operating system by getting more for their money on Netflix by being able to "watch now". There are a lot of movies in "watch now" that I'd love to watch at any time, but can't, because I am on a Mac. I really feel that Mac users should be allowed some sort of discount or access to different rate plans that compensate for this DRM disaster. Have you ever considered non-DRM instant watching? I'm sure the studios would give you the bird if you even mentioned the phrase "non-DRM" to them, but it's worth a shot.

    I've owned Macs for many years and they are the only computers I have in the house. I use my iMac as my television because it's better picture quality and much larger than my tv. It would be nice if I could use it to the fullest. Until then, I guess I'll have to get cracking on BootCamp and watch it in Windows *shudders*.

    I was really upset when Netflix announced this service and then I discovered that it doesn't work with Macs. I know we're not the majority, but we do exist and our needs do need to be catered to a little more efficiently than browsing issues. I have a separate browser on my Mac for Netflix than I do for all my other surfing. If I can do it, so can everyone else.

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  152. As far as the movement away from DRM, it's happening, but just not quick enough. Not to mention that the movie industry has a different attitude then the music one. I mean yeah the MPAA and RIAA are both scumbags, it's just the MPAA is far less willing to let they're content go DRM-less then the RIAA. It is however, inevitable that we will see the demise of DRM. It was flawed from the start, pirates will always find a way around it, and lastly it does more to limit and inconvenience legitimate customers than it does to actually help thwart pirates. You know DRM is not gonna work when the illegal route (downloading a movie torrent) is actually much, much more easier than the legal one [wait 1 or 2 days for a DVD to come in the mail or buy a Windows PC to use Watch Now (that's not even considering if the movie is even available to view online)]

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  153. Just a thought. The hand full of customers who lower their sub or even cancel all together cuz their OS got it's feelings hurt will be more than balanced out by the 1000's of new customers instant watch will bring in.

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  154. I've been watching Netflix instant on my work windows laptop at home and I love it. However, I'm an intel Mac user with 3 Macs in the house between the wife and I. We tried the Boot Camp plus XP option and it works for her black MacBook but not for my 2.16GHz intel core 2 duo iMac. This sucks....the sooner there's a Mac Netflix instant the better....since Boot Camp is not an option for every intel Mac...

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  155. >there's not yet a studio-sanctioned, >publicly-available Mac DRM

    Thanks for the update. What really sucks about not having "a studio-sanctioned Mac DRM" is knowing that all those computer generated effects and Pixar animations are all created on Macs.

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  156. I'm another Linux user who would like to be able to use the Watch Now function. Failing that I'd like something that would allow me to get the same value from Netflix that Windows/IE users do. Extra rentals/month perhaps?

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  157. what is ironic about this whole DRM thing is that I could very easily burn any DVD that is mailed to my house......

    *NOTE TO THE RIAA AND MPAA*: I don't rip/burn my Netflix movies because I use Netflix explicitly for the purposes of watching the mediocre movies I would not otherwise go see in the theaters.

    Essentially, Netflix (like Apple) has to bow down before the imbeciles running the entertainment industry so that they can have the great honor of distributing such masterpieces as "Big Moma's House 2".

    About 25 years ago these same morons heralded the audio and VHS tape as the end of the road for their industry - artists would starve, Martin Scorsese would have to open a pizza parlour.......

    Netflix cannot offer MAC support or Firefox support for this feature because the "owners" (studios) of the artwork have no foresight and no understanding of how technology can actually make them richer (including the actual artists themselves).

    Good luck Netflix, finding your way through this maze....while us consumers sit and wait...and wait...and wait...

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  158. when are new releases gona be available on netfix instant watching.i read on some site tat the big Hollywood studios,are terrified of piracy, & tats why they reluctant to get on board with movie downloads (and the news on some site of recent hacking of Netflix's online movie-watching service sure didn't help
    matters).
    millions of ppl are already downloading & getting new movies from torrents & other sites.so why the worry,so they shud stop tat instead of not allowing new movies to be on netflix
    so for me instant watching is a waste as there are no new releases to watch,which was the reason i joined netflix in the first place.i wud be happy if movies like 300 ,da vinci code are aviable

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  159. I think in regards to movie downloading, the saying "If there's a will, there's a way" applies here. The MPAA doesn't realize it cannot force people to watch movies a certain way. If we wanna use Watch Now, we will. If people wanna download torrents illegally, they will, whether the MPAA likes it or not. People will always find ways to get around every obstacle the MPAA puts in place to prevent pirating movies. The more obstacles they put in place, like DRM, the more they will actually encourage piracy.

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  160. What I don't understand is WHY my wife who has a separate queue doesn't see an INSTANT watching tab? This is critical because without it we have no idea which movies from her queue are available for instant watching. The queue is also ridiculously stone-age. Every movie on every queue should have a thumbnail right next to it indicating whether it's available for instant watching, and whether it's available in HD or Blu-ray formats.

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  161. I run Linux, Mac, MS, and Solairs. And yes I CAN VM and watch it now…

    However:
    I convinced friends who were going to drop Netflix for BBTA to hang on and support Netflix, the innovator, by telling them I listened to the founder/CEO. The innovator will continue to innovate and solidify the shift from the OLD broken paradigm to the brave new world of convergence and direct distribution. The company is named NetFlix not DVD-by-Mail for a reason.

    Now I find myself looking at a business plan that does not look brave or new, no manifesto like Jobs railing at DRM, no innovation. Nay, it seems like a silent shrug, a side note in the corner of an unlinked blog. There may be options which Netflix could implement to plot a new course. And I dare say they must; unlike MPAA companies, Netflix owns no content. Unlike Microsoft and Apple, Netflix has no software and no OS. I suppose they do not even have much of an ability to be a patent troll. Are you left only with getting into bed with the MPAA and Microsoft, your eventual primary competitors?

    So what could Netflix do:
    1) Acknowledge on the "watch it now" page that there is a non-technical issue. There should be a fair and accurate discussion at the top level not hidden in a blog. If you want to see what this may look like check here:
    Jobs on DRM

    2) Offer to play content which does not require DRM in the watch it now. What exactly is in the public domain? What about foreign or independent catalogs who have not sold out?

    3) Start to distribute works by artist who sign off on copyright free work (public domain copyleft, creative commons???). Yes I understand this is getting dangerously close to YouTube. But it is up to NetFlix to make a business plan of it while trying to secure premium content.

    4) Like Apple build/buy your own DRM that the MPAA companies will approve of, perhaps with a degraded signal (that’s what VISTA and the PS3 do if there is a perceived DRM/analog hole). I would recommend you NOT use MS as they will slow play you while they gain market share, deliver a broken product, then bust it with a patch, all the while selling their own service to your customers ‘Hmmm, that would not happen if only you were using X-Box live watch it now.”

    I will watch and see if Netfix is an innovator on the bleeding edge or if they have sold out and soon make a decision to allocate my entertainment dollars accordingly. And if I do leave, assume another 20 accounts will follow.

    For the rest of you, get informed before you scream you want DRM on Linux and Mac. Google these items:

    Vista DRM
    Analog Hole
    Broadcast Flag
    Iphone DMCA
    EFF DMCA

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  162. Very interesting comment, you make some good points. Now personally I hate the thought of DRM on Linux, I think it's stupid. But I'm just hoping for Watch Now on other platforms by any means necessary, even if that means implementing hopeless DRM schemes.

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  163. I too am a Linux and sometimes OSX user without Windows systems at home. I would also like NF to consider a different rate for non-Watch Instantly members. This could include Windows users with modem-only connection, and those who just don't want WI for whatever reason. Drop non-WI prices by maybe 50 cents or a dollar, and charge an extra 2-3 dollars for WI.
    Thanks,
    Roy

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  164. I would like Netflix to make the "watch now" feature capable of working with any operating system, not just windows. I have two linux PCs and one Windows PC. If I want to use the "watch now" feature I must have Windows installed on one of my PC's. What about all the people who don't use Windows!!!!!

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  165. I'd like to watch using firefox on LINUX

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  166. I would Firefox support, with the ability to watch movies in Linux.

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  167. Hmm. This comment will show as coming from a pc but at home I have only Mac's. It's very unfortunate that this is not available to us and that we are paying for something we can not use through no fault of our own. I agree that you should offer a membership with a reduced rate for those of us who either do not want to get instant movies or who can not get instant movies.

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  168. I'm not going to get into specifics, I'll just make it simple.

    I'm a Linux OS user. I was also a NetFlix customer. I understand that Linux isn't the most widely used OS (for the end user) but NetFlix needs to understand (or at least acknowledge) the existence of the Linux community. Companies are definitely moving toward the open source world and Linux is definitely making an impact.

    Linux was mentioned quite a few times in the comments for this blog, and Linux was even mentioned in the thread that inspired this blog. I have yet to see Steve mention Linux. If he doesn't want to at least extend the courtesy of letting us Linux users know if/when they have plans to support us, then I have no willingness to continue being a customer of theirs.

    I don't want to hear the non-sense about the DRM technology not working with Linux. That's nonsense. There are plenty of alternatives and other methods to solving that problem.

    My subscription has been canceled. I've influenced numerous people to sign up with Netflix, I've also convinced many of the same people to use Linux. Looks like I'll be making some phone calls.

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  169. Lately I've been considering canceling my Netflix subscription too. Now that I've been using alternative methods to get movies on my PC I don't even use Netflix that much anymore.

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  170. I just tried the instant watching feature. I am a Netflix DVD subscriber from Puerto Rico, and I was VERY surprised to see the darned thing won't download is it identified my IP as not in the 50 states. Now I understand that they don't have rights to sell their movies outside the USA, but Puerto Rico IS technically part of the USA in terms of copyrights!. In fact, they see no problem in sending me their movies through the USPS (Puerto Rico uses the USPS!), so they should not prevent me from downloading. How can I get a message through to whoever is in charge of this at Netflix as it seems they have made a mistake?
    Thanks
    davidashe@bellsouth.net
    (please email me)

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  171. Instant Watching for Linux would be great!

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  172. David, just to let you know, it's not really a good idea to leave your email address on a publicly displayed web page. Spambots tend to rend these e-mail addresses and, well you probably already know the rest.

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  173. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  174. Why would a guy post anonymously then leave his address?

    Possibly it’s not his and getting someone to spam it is the point?

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  175. Lately I have not been using any video rental service, but as summer dies down and the colder weather starts coming in I am looking to start my service. I was excited about NetFlix, but am extremely disappointed that they are leaving the Linux community out in the cold. After all Linux is to NetFlix what Microsoft is to Blockbuster. Both Linux and NetFlix are new to their industry, where as Blockbuster and Microsoft are the Bullies trying to snuff out any competition. I am an avid Linux user, and would love to also be an avid NetFlix user, but feel cheated by this lack of support.

    Netflix- if your reading this please add Linux support, and ditch Microsoft proprietary technology!

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  176. Any plans for Instant Viewing on Commodore 64?

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  177. You only have a small amount of the movies available for mail rental from Netflix as part of the instant watch feature. I want to be able to get The Ren and Stimpy Show DVDs on the instant watch feature.

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  178. In order to provide videos to consumers at lower cost and to provide them a broader selection of videos, you can promote online video viewing services. Also that way, you will be able to reduce your real estate costs, ie retail video store areas (I see video stores sometimes taking the place of 3 or 4 retail shops) and personnel.
    Online video is growing anyway, so the more you embrace it and push it forward, the better for you.

    Thanks, Avinash.

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  179. I am a brand new netflix user. I just signed up less than 24 hours ago and was very disappointed when I found out I couldn't use the "watch instantly" feature just because I'm on a Mac.

    It is totally unrealistic and unfair to just tell me to run parallels. I have absolutely NO use for windows except to use this service. Parallels alone costs 80 bucks, let alone a legal copy of XP or vista.

    I would like there to be another option available, for those that can't use the "watch instantly" feature either due to OS incompatibility or insufficient connection/hardware.

    A slightly lower cost or an extra physical movie would be nice. It doesn't equal out what PC user's get, but its a pacifying gesture. Kinda like Jobs giving 100 bucks back to iPhone early adopters...

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  180. @megan: As a fellow Mac user with no use for Windows, I agree, but keep in mind that you don't need to pay for Parallels: Boot Camp is free (from Apple).

    I think that everyone from the movie studios to Netflix depending on Microsoft for their DRM are making a big mistake. They should find a platform independent, third party solution. Better, yet, forget about DRM altogether.

    DRM on DVDs was broken in 1999 -- eight years ago! -- but that hasn't stopped anyone from selling or renting DVDs with the same useless DRM. No need to obsess about it when it comes to Netflix streaming.

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  181. I'd just like to ask why I can't use Windows 2000 to watch movies instantly?

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  182. I would absolutely vote for Instant watching via the Xbox 360. It's really uncomfortable watching movies on a PC when the 'big screen' is sitting all alone. This would be a HUGE boost for Netflix. Having the same option for the WII or PS3 would not be a bad thing either (but Xbox first - please).

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  183. Stop saying "PC." I have a "PC" and your instant viewing feature doesn't work on my "PC" cause I don't have Windows on my "PC" because I am not a lame retard. So if you only provide it for Windows say so, not "PC." Got it?

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  184. I stumbled onto this thread because I am concerned about Linux support for Netflix. Google, being the debate moderator that it is, currently ranks this page as one of the most popular for queries regarding Instant Viewing and Linux.

    I am posting to voice my desire to have Linux support for the Instant Watch feature on Netflix. I do not have Windows PCs at home and will continue not to as long as Microsoft products are poorly made and brazenly intrusive. At the very least, I would like to be eligible to receive the full benefit of all of the Netflix services for which I am enrolled.

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  185. If Netflix really feels that strongly about getting instant viewing out to Mac users, then the appropriate solution would be for Netflix to loan out Windows XP installation DVDs. This would put MacIntel folks on a level playing field, at least. Put your money where your mouth is.

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  186. @ greg: I smell a lawsuit for false advertising.

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  187. Thought you'd like to know: I've gone ahead and downgraded from 3 to 2 simultaneous rentals because of the lack of Linux support.

    Going from 2 to 1 is very likely in the cards in the next months.

    To the people I talked to on the phone: I'm sorry I didn't have better news for you personally. I understand you're caught between a rock (me giving you less money) and a hard place (corporate policy). Your job (sadly) does not have the authority to change corporate policy. I tried to be civil, though.

    To the guy I talked to in the Instant Viewing group: DRM requirements are not my problem, though I should have elaborated more. Netflix has options. You can figure out how to get it to work for Linux, give us non-Windows users a discount for not being able to use the full capabilities (this can even be opt-out for a $3 discount or something!), you can use your creativity to find an alternate solution, or you can continue to ignore your users and lose us. The choice is yours.

    I've personally brought 2 users to Netflix in the past, but am now steering people away.

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  188. Could you please add support for Linux and firefox as well?

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  189. I understand that offering support for linux users is a not thought to be economically worth the effort given the relative number of users, but the number of people using this OS is increasing. Large and influential companies like netflix should be leaders in promoting choice in OS since they have the financial means to do so and in the long term would benefit from this policy. please fix.

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  190. You have already probibly heard this problem but as soon as i start watching the instant watching feature every 5 minutes a voice starts saying "I see smilies" it says it 6 times then stops then after the 5 min it starts again. i would think it was a virus not having anything to do with my computer but i heard it from another person online

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  191. I like Netflix a lot. I use linux.

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  192. Please offer live playback for Linux. There are millions of Linux users, and the distribution that I use, Ubuntu, is growing exponentially. I've been a Netlix member for years, and I want to take advantage of all of the features your site offers. Thanks for your consideration of Linux users.

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  193. About 2 or 3 weeks ago, the sound quality on Netflix instant viewing has changed. I use a windows based system and IE. The volume has reduced to the point where viewing is frustrating. Has Netflix changed anything that would cause this? I'm not a geek, but experienced enough to know that it is not my system.

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  194. O.K. - I'm sure the ol' DRM issue is a problem with Linux systems...but, what about it??? Will you guys ever get a Watch Now function for Linux??? Hope so, cause IE7 and windows, suck...I would love to use my HDMI hookup to my 1080p LCD thru yellow dog on my PS3 for Netflix...I'm sure I'm not the only one

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  195. I have the I see smilies problem to and can't find a way to fix it. I have ran virus scans, greyware, spyware, any any other kind of ware you can think of scan and I still can't fix the problem. It would be great if someone would post something either by netflix or somewhere else that would help is making this go away. I think was bugs me the worst about it is that it is not only when watching a movie. I love watching movies on netflix but with that voice every 7 minutes you just cant do it.

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