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Netflix on TiVo

In late 2008, TiVo and Netflix announced something incredible: the ability to stream movies directly to your TiVo, for watching on your TiVo.

Netflix, Inc.
(click for a free Netflix trial)

This feature is groundbreaking for two reasons: it's free (more on what's required in a bit), and it's streaming, not downloading.

The streaming versus downloading issue is an important distinction. In downloading, which is how TiVoCasts and Amazon Video on Demand work, the content has to be downloaded to the TiVo before you can watch it effectively. With the streaming that this feature with Netflix introduces, you can begin to watch a video in moments. The quality then adjusts as the connection speed fluctuates. The feature measures your bandwidth and presents the best possible picture for the available speed.

The biggest limitation in this is that not all of Netflix's library is available for streaming. Currently, about 12,000 videos can be streamed to TiVos, which is roughly 10% of Netflix's total library. But there's a lot of good stuff in there, and most customers are pretty happy with the selection.

What you need to make this work

To stream Netflix on TiVo, you need a Series3 or TiVo HD. Three model numbers work here: TCD648250, TCD652160, and TCD658000.

That TiVo needs to be connected to a broadband network. DSL or cable or faster will work. The faster the connetion, the better quality the video on-screen. Wireless or wired connections should both be fine since they're generally plenty faster than the actual internet connection, so the aren't the bottleneck.

Then you need a Netflix subscription. These start at $8.99/month with unlimited streaming and one physical DVD at a time, and there are several other plans available. So if you already have a Netflix plan, you don't need to change it!

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