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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a good UI for accessing service like Netflix, Hulu (and/or Hulu Plus), etc on my HTPC. I am not the keen on using the web browser from my couch as that requires a mouse and keyboard. I have an Xbox 360 but I don't have a Gold subscription and it seems a waste to me to pay $10/month for Netflix, etc.

Has anyone tried the Netflix UI - is it any good? Is there also a decent UI for other services like Hulu, Hulu plus or some of the TV network websites - CBS, ESPN3, etc? This obviously will require a VPN or some other service to make it appear that my PC is in the US. As far as I know the Netflix addin for MC doesn't work for Netflix Canada.

I guess that in order to do this I will have to change my country setup from Canada to US - is this just a case or rerunning the MC setup?

The downside to this is that I will lose my capability to get guide data for Canadian TV channels for cable, or is there a hack that gets you around that?
 

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Wayne:

There is a Hulu launcher available that will launch the Hulu desktop app from Media Center. It works quite well.

Yes, you need to set up your PC as if it was in the US to access the Netflix MC app. You can change my multiple guide listings hack to essentially reverse the process (find your Canadian Guide ID, add that to media center, modify the scheduled task to switch to Canada, download, then switch back to US).

Another option, which I'm testing now, is to use TubeCore with PlayOn. That will provide a native media center UI for netflix, hulu, and most web TV stations and it works on extenders. However, it transcodes video so you'll see some lag and some quality loss. But it's slick!

Good luck!

Pete
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Another option, which I'm testing now, is to use TubeCore with PlayOn. That will provide a native media center UI for netflix, hulu, and most web TV stations and it works on extenders. However, it transcodes video so you'll see some lag and some quality loss. But it's slick!
I am currently running PlayOn on my SageTV server as it gives me access to Netflix (Canada) on all of my five SageTV extenders via the SageTV UI. It works however it is kind of slow and it is not a very attractive UI. If I do permanently switch to US services then I could use this for Hulu and Netflix as well as all the other stuff that PlayOn supports.

I was able to run the Netflix Canada UI on my Xbox but after a few days it stopped and wanted an Xbox Gold ID. I am not really a gamer so I have no need for that other than for Netflix and I don't think it is worth spending $10/month to get Xbox Gold just for Netflix. I would be better off buying a PS3 and using that as my Netflix plugin.

But I still have my old Win MC HTPC sitting in my main Home Theatre room so I figured I may as well use it for something other than a backup PVR.
 

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I dont know if its relevant to the discussion but i use Hotspot Shield to stream Hulu from my HTPC. Seems to work ok so far but i havent tried for more than a couple hours.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's good to know. I have used Hotspot Shield in the past but it has been hit and miss.
 

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@Wayne: search for vmcnetflix or vmcplayit.

vmcnetflix is an add-on for Vista Media Center that lets you hook up to your netflix account (this app is no longer being maintained though, so it may not work anymore), and vmcplayit is an add-on that links up to your PlayOn server, giving you an interface in Media Center (and it's supposed to work with media center extenders as well).

This is, of course, if you use Windows Media Center in Windows Vista. I've heard that these apps also work with Win7, but I have no experience with them there.

I haven't actually gotten either app to work, but I only gave them a 10 minute try a while ago. Worth a shot looking into them though.
 

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I am still looking for Netflix to work in my Win 7 HTPC environment and refuse to pay for XBOX Gold to use it on my 360.

However, I do have a 46" Samsung (650) that is internet enabled and the free Samsung Netflix app works very well. Nice to be be able to view Netflix without a computer or gaming device.

I am impressed with the resolution and clarity on a 46", but I do get some stuttering and I assume it is a router issue (maybe?). With OTA HD and this, I may just dump my HD cable service.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I am still looking for Netflix to work in my Win 7 HTPC environment and refuse to pay for XBOX Gold to use it on my 360.
Do you have the Canadian or US Netflix service. I believe there is a Windows 7 MC plugin for the US netflix. I have been trying Netflix Canada for a few weeks but I think I am going to switch to the US service since the selection is so much better.
 

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I have the Canadian service for my Samsung TV. I never tried getting the US service, perhaps I should have, but somehow I doubt it would work on the Samsung.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
In order to get US Netflix to work you will have to somehow make Netflix believe that you have a US based IP address. This requires something like a VPN or some other method like usvideo.org. And then you also need a US credit card to sign up, even for a free trial. It is a major hassle, but given the much better content it may be worth it and it allows you to use other services not available in Canada like Hulu, Amazon, etc if you TV supports them.
 

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I am still looking for Netflix to work in my Win 7 HTPC environment and refuse to pay for XBOX Gold to use it on my 360.
I was CHOKED when Netflix for 360 came along and it was a gold-exclusive. PS3 and Wii both get it at no charge, but here's MS making you buy Gold just for that. There's absolutely NO need for it other than the "watch a movie with friends" feature that puts a stupid row of seats and makes the screen smaller to look like a theater, and all your avatars sit in the theater to watch the show. As far as features go, it's about as useless as my nipples.

I was already a gold sub, but I have three xbox360's (I use them as extenders for media center) and the ONLY way to get Netflix on all three was to buy two more gold subs. (Well, that or put my gamer profile on a USB stick and move it around, but then I could only get Netflix on one TV at a time.)

I ended up buying the family pack they came out with (4 gold subs for less that the price of 2) since I wanted Netflix on all three TV's.

All that being said, the Netflix "app" for Media Center is definitely US only. I know in Vista as well that you couldn't use it on an extender (just the media center pc itself) and since I can't access it on my new Win7 box I don't know if that limitation still exists. My reading indicates that it doesn't, but since us Canadians get pooched on all the cool stuff anyhow it doesn't really matter.

And after all of that I'm considering dumping my Netflix account anyhow. :-S
 

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See this thread:
http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=137767

I had some fun playing tonight while the wife had to work late. Got US Netflix and Hulu working in media center AND on my xbox360 extenders.

While it does require PlayOn ($79 one-time, $39/yr for the first year then $19/yr after that, or $4.99 per month), TubeCentric ($7.99) and a DNS/VPN service (Starting from $5/month) it's still cheaper than a cable sub.
 

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I have the Canadian service for my Samsung TV. I never tried getting the US service, perhaps I should have, but somehow I doubt it would work on the Samsung.
You could get it to work by using a VPN service. You essentially use their DNS servers as your main DNS servers in your router, then everything behind your router would have access to all those US sites.

Optionally, if you set up a VPN you could use Windows Internet Connection Sharing to route traffic from your device through the VPN (Instead of just using DHCP, you'd manually program your device to use your VPN).

That is assuming, of course, that your TV isn't hard-coded to use ca.netflix.com. I could see them programming it that way for TV's sold in Canada.
 
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