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I’ve not hidden my love affair for Netflix both as a consumer and as a Silverlight developer and how they’ve implemented the technology.  Long before the instant watch came to the desktop and the XBOX, there were a lot of folks wanting the Netflix experience on their Windows Media Center boxes and extenders.  One such person was Anthony Park (who is now with Netflix as of this writing), who picked up a the MyNetflix media center plugin a while back.

Well, today Netflix officially has a Media Center solution for their customers.  I just got done firing my media center machine up and started the process of getting Netflix on the box.  It showed up under the Program Library and I followed the minimal instructions to get it working…restarted Media Center (not the machine) and boom, done.  I love how the branded experience of their application matches their online app as well as their overall brand identity very well:

Netflix Media Center Login

After logging in, I’m able to view my Instant Queue, DVD Queue, genre’s and new releases. 

Netflix Media Center DVD Queue

Once I find a movie from one of the categories not in my queues, I can even add it at that point!  Nice!

Netflix Media Center Add to Queue

Once you choose to watch a movie through the experience, you’ll notice something familiar – yep, that’s Silverlight powering the playback of the Netflix Instant Watch feature in Media Center.  Nice.  This is a great continuum story for the platform and for Netflix to be able to re-use their platform and their custom implementations in various areas: online (browser), XBOX, and Media Center.  Very cool to see this.  I still think the coolest feature of Instant Watch is how all the experiences are synchronized…I can pause anywhere and pick up another medium (XBOX) and start where I left off – awesome.

NOTE: It looks like at this time it is Media Center for Vista only and Windows 7 RC machines are not enabled.  Additionally, I am guessing that the same licensing rules apply for the media content, so probably only US customers. 

Kudos to the Netflix team for enabling this feature and extending their reach to where (and how) people want to view their media.  If you want to figure out how to enable it on your media center machine, you can watch this video (just try to disregard the creepy mitten-wearing hands…odd): Get Netflix on your Media Center.

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