Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Return to Physical Netflix

For a while I had a post bubbling up in the back of my brain, a post about how, despite all the money I pay every month for cable and HBO and Netflix and Amazon Prime, if I want to watch a movie of any recent vintage the odds are my only option when it comes to streaming is to pay another $6-15 to watch it via pay per view.

If I was serious about just watching movies I could chuck all of those services, take the money down to Target every Tuesday, and just buy every new release on disk and probably end up spending less than I do now.

Of course, we don’t just watch movies at our house.  We watch shows produced on all of those services plus sports plus the news plus… hrmm… mostly re-runs of Big Bang Theory, which appears to be available on some channel on cable 24/7 so simply turning on the TV and hopping to a channel at random is likely to come up with an episode.

But I still want to watch reasonably recent movies when I want to and not for whatever long/short time period one of those services might deign to show it to me.  (There is also the issue with actually finding the movies.  When I use the Comcast search with “free to me,” “HD,” and “English” as search parameters I still end up with over 1,500 choices on a list I can see 9 at a time that won’t sort by “new shit I haven’t watched yet.”)

So my mind has been turning to old school Netflix, the disks in the mail version that we used to use regularly last decade.

I guess, technically, it is now.

A Netflix Company

However it is still linked to the Netflix site and my account for the streaming service is also the account for that, so I’m still calling it Netflix.

Anyway, this was how we used to regularly watch recently released movies, not to mention whole TV series.  We could burn through a whole season of 24 muy pronto thanks to chapter setup.  An episode was barely past 40 minutes sans commercials to start with, and when you could chapter skip past “previously on 24…” and the end credits, the whole thing dropped under 30 minutes.  You could get stuck into the hilarity of that show pretty quickly.

My brother-in-law, whose motivations in life beyond living and dying with the Green Bay Packers every NFL season remain a mystery to me, decided to give my wife a $30 gift card to Netflix for Christmas.

It seemed odd.  I mean, we subscribe to the streaming service, so it wouldn’t go to waste or anything, but I just wonder how that sprang to mind.

So in the post-Holiday clean-up I ended up with the gift card sitting on my desk, so I went to Netflix and decided to use it to reactivate the physical disk service.  Going for the two-disks-at-a-time option (I guess three is no longer an option) and Blu-Ray it looked like $30 would cover two months of service.

But I got a third month free.  It has been so long since we had disk delivery that I was eligible for 30 days free.  My old, overloaded queue was gone.  That was probably a good thing however.  So I went to the New Releases section and loaded up on new releases and Netflix started sending disks our way.

One of the good things about Netflix is that we’re very close to one of their distribution centers… and the HQ, which I pass every day… so if I drop a disk return in the mail on Monday we have the replacement on Wednesday.

So we will be on a recent movie binge for a while.  The first on the list was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which was visually stunning… I wish we had seen it on the big screen… but the characters were dull, the acting flat, and the plot uninspired, so it really only had graphics and Luc Besson weirdness going for it.  Worth a watch for the latter alone if you’re into it, but it was no Fifth Element.

We will see how long our dalliance with physical Netflix lasts.  I have fond memories of new disks in the mail and quick turn around and all that.  But I also know that from time to time our house would become a remote disk storage facility when we other things kept us from sitting down to watch the items we had waiting.  If it goes well I will be tempted to turn off HBO in favor of disks, if only because the final installment of Game of Thrones is now out in 2019.

Next up is War for the Planet of the Apes and the first season of the Starz series Outlander… so I guess it isn’t all movies.

Also, since we’re on about Netflix, we also watched Bright.  I liked it. But I was also a big fan of Alien Nation back in the day, and it had enough of that vibe to hook me.  I was certainly fine with the “screw any back story, just take it as is and run with it!” plan.  I like to figure things out as we go along and don’t need to be spoon fed everything, so appreciated that aspect of it.  However, I seem to be in a minority on that front.  The reviews are bad, often citing missing details, but Netflix has re-upped for a sequel.  I’m not sure it was that good, but Netflix needs content.

from The Ancient Gaming Noob

Daily Deal - Streets of Rogue, 50% Off

Today's Deal: Save 50% on Streets of Rogue!*

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Review: Pulstar (Switch eShop / Neo Geo)

Review: Review: Pulstar (Switch eShop / Neo Geo)

Not just a pretty face

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WARTILE Free Download

WARTILE Free Download PC Game setup in single direct link for Windows. It is an amazing indie, RPG and strategy game.
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Experience a living, breathing tabletop video game that invites the player into a miniature universe full of small adventures set in beautifully [...]

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Splatoon 2 Pits Action Against Comedy in Global Splatfest Next Week

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The whole world will decide

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The Warrior Of Treasures Free Download

The Warrior Of Treasures Free Download PC Game setup in single direct link for Windows. It is an amazing action, adventure and indie game.
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Indie medieval game, where player character is medieval knight. Player have to defeat skeleton army and beware [...]

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The Universim aims to revive the glory days of the god-game genre, and bring it into the new generation with fresh ideas and ambitious [...]

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Redout on Xbox One X falls short of the PS4 Pro experience

As powerful as it may be, not every release for Xbox One X can be a winner, but we genuinely expected more from Redout: Lightspeed Edition. The potential's certainly there: the original PC version of the game remains an excellent piece of work, but it's clearly a demanding title for consoles - only the PlayStation 4 Pro version can consistently deliver full 60fps gameplay. According to Microsoft's X-enhanced games list, Redout should be delivering ultra HD 4K on the new console. It's not, but that's actually the least of its issues.

As things stand, there seems to be a running theme of Redout over-promising and under-delivering on consoles. An interview with developer 34BigThings claims that the PS4 Pro version runs at checkerboard 4K with most of PC's epic settings enabled, while simultaneously claiming that Xbox One X would hand in native ultra HD with all visual presets ramped up to the max. That's an enticing prospect bearing in mind how beautiful the PC experience is, but all of our pixel counts resolve 1080p resolution only on both X and Pro consoles.

That's not necessarily a bad thing though. In a WipEout/F-Zero-style game like this, frame-rate is king, and stacking up the unlocked and wobbly base PS4 version of Redout with the slick Pro version offers up a clearly improved experience, with Sony's super-charged console handing in a nigh-on locked 60fps. Last September, 34BigThings told us that a 4K checkerboarding update would be deployed when we contacted them about the Pro's 1080p pixel counts, but looking at the game today, nothing has changed.

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Sky Ball Free Download

Sky Ball Free Download PC Game setup in single direct link for Windows. It is an amazing Puzzle and Indie game.
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In this game you will visit the heavenly islands. Manage the ball get to the final point without falling, while you decide to solve all kinds of [...]

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I spent Christmas in space

WARNING: This piece contains spoilers for Tacoma.

I've never totally understood why Christmas is a time for ghost stories, but please don't mistake my confusion for disapproval. I'm very, very happy to spike the schmaltz with something creepy. Which is why, between calculating volumes of red cabbage to braise and sloshing sloe gin on the wrapping, this last December I found myself playing Tacoma, 2017's best ghost story.

Obviously, Tacoma's ghosts are not actual ghosts - this is sci-fi, not some haunted house hokum. Instead, they're augmented reality reconstructions of the commercial spacecraft's vanished crew that you (as salvage-specialist Amy Ferrier) access on your way through the station, the game unspooling its story as you walk among these shades. The incidents seem to have been preserved at random, though that fiction is belied by satisfying arcs and telling details thanks to developer Fullbright's writerly chops; you can rewind and replay each one, moving to different points in the environment to eavesdrop on different characters.

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