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The Netflix set-top box is a game changer - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

The Netflix set-top box is a game changer [Jun. 18th, 2008|02:16 am]
Arvind Narayanan
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Wired calls the Netflix/Roku set top box "just shy of totally amazing." Most of the other press is similar in tone.

I got mine a week ago. The thing that really impressed me is the absolute simplicity. I mean, look at this remote. With so few buttons it would take talent to make it hard to use! But the real genius is that there is no configuration required on the device itself, in terms of identifying/authenticating yourself. You take the unique code that comes with your device and associate it with your account on your computer through your browser. It's impossible to overstate the importance of this little design decision.

Some people complain about the lack of content, because the vast majority of movies in Netflix's collection are not available for online viewing. I don't see this as a problem anymore: it costs only $9 a month, and in spite of the thinness of the selection, there are way more good movies available than I have time to watch. (For me, "good" roughly translates to "over 7.0 on IMDb".) Besides, mass culture is dead anyway.

From: jakespeak
2008-06-18 05:18 pm (UTC)

the mass culture link

leads to a very neat article.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-06-18 05:27 pm (UTC)

Re: the mass culture link

yes indeed. by contrast, here's an article from a reporter who totally doesn't get it. not only did he write about it 3 years after chris anderson, he also thinks that talent is drying up when it's in fact quite the opposite, and generally longs for the bad old days.

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[User Picture]From: medryn
2008-06-22 08:55 pm (UTC)
Why should I choose this over just connecting a full-fledged computer to my TV? That way I can run netflix, hulu, and bittorrent.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-06-22 10:16 pm (UTC)
1. because that costs as much as a full fledged computer

2. interface complexity (i remember chendi struggling with the on screen keyboard on his apple tv)

3. apple tv can't do netflix drm

4. the whole watch youtube on your tv thing doesn't make much sense. hulu is borderline. i myself prefer to watch tv shows, as opposed to movies, at the same time as i'm browsing or doing something else on the computer.
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