TV on your PC opens up the curtains, Netflix comes to Windows

May 19, 2009

Netflix Tile in WMC UIThere are a lot of TV options out there, and consumers are increasingly having to jump from Web site to Web site to find their favorite shows, movies and sports that they frequently watch – all with a different experience each time. For some, this may mean remembering multiple URLs, opening multiple browser tabs, browser windows and even separate programs to get what they want. That’s why our goal is to make Windows Media Center the best place to experience TV on the PC, and one of the ways we’re doing this is to alleviate the need for getting your content from different places while offering a consistent experience.

Netflix UX in WMC_MoviesToday we’re happy to let you know that Netflix is now available in Windows Media Center, offering TV and movie lovers more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly on a PC with Windows. If you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate user and a Netflix subscriber, you can get started right away. Click on the green button, click on the Netflix tile under TV+Movies and begin streaming movies and TV shows instantly.

For a complete run down of the features and details, check out our nifty animated video below that gives you a complete overview of Netflix in Windows Media Center:

Netflix is the second recent content milestone in Windows Media Center, with the first being the Sports Channel, which offers a variety of interactive sports content from, FOX Sports, and more. Additionally, you may be aware that last fall, we announced the MSNBC News portal, which gives you the latest news, top stories, local weather and more. All of these offerings in Windows Media Center are aimed to bring your content into one place, and as we’ve showcased in previous posts, watching TV on the PC is becoming a preferred way to watch content. Take for example, a recent Forrester study which found that:

Cable and satellite providers reach roughly 100 million homes in the U.S., computer-based television viewing is growing, driven largely by adults ages 18 to 34 who like to watch content when and where they choose.

To further prove this point, we interviewed random Seattle locals to find out a) how they prefer to access their content, whether it’s through specific sites or via a one-stop shop location. Out of the dozens we approached, we hardly ran into anyone that didn’t watch TV on the PC, and as you might expect, the ones that wanted to share their thoughts had mixed answers. There might not be a universal preference for receiving content, because as the video demonstrates, people have preferences and a passion for how they watch TV on the PC. You can check out the video here:

If you’re interested in additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.


Case Study: Heading straight to the PC for TV

May 6, 2009

plug1As we’ve noted in the past,  several people are choosing to head straight to the PC for their TV content.  By now, you’re understanding the hype.

StreamingMedia also reported on this topic and chose to highlight two different people who are now relying solely on online video for their news and entertainment.  We thought their stories, albeit different, were compelling and extremely relate-able.  Here is what they had to say:

Kimberly, is a young medical student, which due to her busy schedule, was not able to frequently catch her favorite shows on TV. Here she further notes why she prefers TV on the PC:

She simply finds that online TV fits her life better. She can see the few programs she enjoys whenever she wants. While she’s considered getting a Netflix account, enough of her friends have one that it satisfies her need for occasional movies. Several of her friends have also made the switch to solely streaming video, and she thinks that young people are more willing to give up regular TV.

The second person interviewed is Luis, a family man looking for a cheap way to watch TV on his terms, turned to watching TV on the PC.  Once his family chose to go online-video only, he noted that the added effort to find streamed content encouraged his kids to watch less television and be more active, where as before they could just sit on the couch, turn on the TV and be tuned out. Here is what Luis had to say about his experiences watching TV on the PC:

“I don’t really plan on going back (to be a TV subscriber). If we did, it wouldn’t be for me; it would probably come from either my kids or my wife, but they seem fine, too…”

To further elaborate on the growing trend of watching TV on the PC, The Bulletin, a local Oregonian paper, noted a good stat:

  • Forrester Research released a report in January noting that while cable and satellite providers reach roughly 100 million homes in the U.S., computer-based television viewing is growing, driven largely by adults ages 18 to 34 who like to watch content when and where they choose.

What do you think? Now that we’ve shared the story of Kimberly and Luis, now let’s hear your story. Are you watching more TV on the PC? Busy schedule, finances?

Photo courtesy of The Bulletin

Opinions from NYC on the Future TV

April 30, 2009

We found this great video from BusinessWeek that interviewed locals in New York to see what they considered “The Future of Television.”


Interestingly, their answers similarly mirrored that of our TV on your PC “Man on the Street” video that we compiled a few weeks ago.

Everyone from the media to TV junkies are sitting back and watching the evolution of television unfold. Despite the recession, we’re finding that people are no longer just settling for traditional cable as they are choosing to upgrade to more premium services (on-demand, DVR, etc.) People want quality entertainment and most importantly, they want it at their leisure.

With our busy schedules, many viewers don’t have time to watch things at the programmed hour, so with the help of bonus features, watching our favorite shows and series will never be an issue. We’ve seen commentary from people noting that since they’ve made content and entertainment on their terms, they’ve found more time to spend with their families and focus on other things outside of the television.

On the flip side, for some who have chosen to stray away from traditional cable, they have also decided to eliminate the TV altogether and focus all their attention to the computer. People are now choosing to watch their TV on the PC by means of online video sites. What better way to multi-task then to check email, blog and correspond while watching your favorite shows?

To better prove this point, we’ll reference one of our TV on your PC sports club members who noted that…

“Over the last two years the DVR has saved my butt plenty of times, especially when my kids or wife are in the room. There really is nothing like being able to go back and watch what you’ve missed.”

As we see all these new offerings and services becoming available, the evolution of television will never be the same.

Check it out, let us know your thoughts. Do you agree with these predictions? What do you consider to be the future of TV?">

Windows What? Windows 7?

April 29, 2009

By now you’ve probably heard us talk about Windows 7 here and there. You may already be aware that Windows 7 is Microsoft’s next major operating system and the predecessor to Windows Vista. If you weren’t, no need to fret. You can check out the official Windows 7 Web site for a rundown of what it is and what it offers.  Once you do that, be sure to follow them on Twitter for regular updates on Windows 7 @MSWindows.

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Video is Here. Video is Everywhere.

April 27, 2009

It’s no secret that online video is under the industry microscope more than ever, as consumers are exploring new ways to find TV content online and companies are searching for ideal business models in a rapidly changing TV landscape. Some key findings and analysis this week from Nielsen, and an article from the Silicon Alley Insider, raised some interesting points regarding consumer behaviors toward online video. Specifically,  Nielsen’s measurement of the “most addictive Web video sites” showed Netflix taking the lead when it came to time spent per viewer, with a noteworthy 200+ minutes of viewership in February, while Hulu held the sixth spot (about 175 minutes per user). YouTube landed further down the list (less than 100 minutes per month) given its focus on shorter form content (though that may change down the road with their recent content deal).
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TV on the PC: Convenient for NHL Fans

April 21, 2009

hanzal-me-smallWhat’s the solution to generating more local media coverage of your favorite sports team if your hometown paper won’t? If you’re Travis Hair, then it’s starting a dedicated sports blog.

Naturally, Travis’s love for his favorite team, the Phoenix Coyotes, is extended on He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but like anyone else, he does have his opinions on certain topics, such as the trend of watching TV on your PC. Check out our Q&A with Travis below:

How come you chose to write about the Phoenix Coyotes?
Well, I’ve grown up here in Phoenix. Before the Coyotes moved here I was a fan of the Phoenix Roadrunners a minor league team here in town. Back in the day it was in the IHL but it’s still here, just in a different form. The Coyotes came here in 1996 I was instantly a fan, even if they had a funky looking logo. It’s been great for hockey in general as now local high schools have hockey teams, there are a lot more rinks around town and people see it as a sport. I started writing about them just last year because there just wasn’t any coverage of my team. The local paper would report on games here in town, but just little stories. Then when they were on the road the paper would just syndicate AP stories instead of sending a reporter with the team. I just wanted to get more information out there.
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The Industry Meets Again This Week

April 20, 2009

nabEmerging Internet TV and online video sites, such as the latest venture from YouTube, continue to shake up the TV industry and underscore the increasing demand for the flexibility to enjoy content on various screens including the PC: a theme that has taken over this year’s NAB Show 2009. At the annual event, which kicked off today, major players in media, entertainment and communications have come together to explore innovative means for “delivering next generation of content across multiple platforms – from televisions, radios and computers to phones, the big screen and beyond.”

We’re on-site at the show this week to showcase our own strides in user adoption by revealing that more than 13 million people are consistently using Windows Media Center in a given month. This is a number that has grown steadily over the past year following multiple content additions we’ve discussed here on the blog, including the NBC Olympics on the Go service, MSNBC News portal and most recently the Sports Channel. If you haven’t had a chance to check these content features out and you’re a Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate user, we encourage you click the green button in the Start menu.

As further testament of mounting interest in TV on the PC, a 2008 survey sponsored by Microsoft and conducted by Nielsen, along with CBS Vision, reported that 73 percent of respondents were interested in watching TV on their computer. Are you one of them?

To keep up with all of the news and trends that are shaping the future of TV/video distribution, feel free to check out for more information. And don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know what you think.