For the better part of this year I’ve been subscribing to and generally enjoying Netflix, but one feature I could never take full advantage of was the streaming on demand content.  That all changed today when I finally got the email from Netflix letting me know that I could now enjoy streaming on-demand video content from them using either Safari, or my preferred browser, Firefox.

For clarification purposes, I have successfully streamed video on my Macbook while running a copy of Windows XP installed via VMware Fusion, awesome software by the way.  While it does work, it requires Internet Explorer 7 along with just about every security install for it right form the Micro$oft website and is a bit of a hassle to do.  XP does run fast my my Macbook (Core2 Duo 2.16 with 2GB Ram), but it also caused the not-so-quiet fans to kick on, the ones that blow air up through the keyboard.  Because of this I never really went out of my way to watch any streaming content.  I also sold my Windows desktop computer this summer, leaving me only with a gutted Ubuntu box and my Macbook, which is fine by me.

Tonight I logged into my Netflix account in Firefox 2 (still haven’t upgraded to 3 yet) and went to the Watch Instantly tab where I was prompted to install Microsoft’s Silverlight technology.  The download and install was painless and quick, after that, movies automatically started to work.  I recall a very long delay between the time I would hit Play in Netflix and the time it would start in XP, so I did a little screen capture video.  This was taken on my Macbook, on the Wi-Fi network in my house connected to my Verizon FiOS internet connection which has been giving me a steady 10Mbps downstream since I had it installed.  I didn’t do a full screen grab or include sound because I wanted the video to load as fast as possible, plus in my opinion it wasn’t needed.

No editing was done to this, so you can see truly how fast the Netflix Watch Instantly movies load, play, skip to scenes and then go back to browsing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKv0n3Qm38s[/youtube]

I’m very impressed.  After the holiday’s I plan on looking around for a used Mac Mini to hook up to my Plasma and stream Netflix, Hulu and run bittorrent off of, as a PVR in a sense.  Hopefully the price on the second hand market for the Core solo models drops a bit more as I’ll also need to buy a 500 or 750GB hard drive to install, but that’s another article next year sometime.

Any suggestions for movies or TV series I should add to my Instant queue?