Before there was Netflix…

“… the world was without form.  And it was not good.”

For the past 6 months, I’m not entirely sure how we could have survived without Netflix.  I’m aware that I tend to overstate many things and this is no exception.  But humor me.

After our second child was born, life quickly returned to the cycle of: soothe baby, feed baby, burp baby, change baby, try to get some sleep, do laundry, feed yourself, feed the other kid, clothe everybody, go to work, repeat.  Normalcy tends (for a short while) to take second fiddle to survival, while coping mechanisms are elevated to a kind of Godliness.

One such favorite coping mechanism of ours has been Netflix.

Netflix on a Roku 3
Netflix on a Roku 3

Now before you go assuming the worst of us, let me explain.  Yes, it might be true that our firstborn knew (and accurately recognized!) the Netflix logo early on.  But that does not mean we let her watch too much.  It’s just a sign of very good brand equity by the marketing wizards.

Iris more or less equates the relic that is television to the media service that has become Netflix.  More accurately put, “internet streaming” is this generation’s “tv”; but when your company makes up 25% of all internet traffic, your name has pretty much been canonized among the likes of “google” and “tivo”.

Museum piece entertainment box
Museum piece entertainment box

Iris asked me today, “Daddy, did you watch Super Why when you were a kid?”

“No, when I was a kid, we only had black & white TVs.”

“What’s that?”

“Well,” I start.  “The pictures had no color.  There was no Netflix.  There was no Super Why and no Daniel Tiger.”

“Daddy, you only could watch Kipper?”

“Nope.  No Kipper either.  We had a show called Bugs Bunny.”

“Dad, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

The Roku 3
The Roku 3

At this point, I should also put in a plug for my favorite media streamer, Roku, which makes the Netflix experience even more heavenly.  But it’s not just a streaming box, which are a dime a dozen.  Roku was the very first to offer Netflix streaming, believe it or not.  It’s got tons of channels, but then don’t they all now?  No, what really makes this little black box so cool is how open the standard is.  Development is active and it’s the only box that has all the big content providers {1} (Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Crackle, Red Box, etc.).  My favorite is the Plex channel, which is a local media streaming database thingy.  But I’m getting distracted…

Coolest remote!
Coolest remote!

Roku’s master stroke was integrating Bluetooth wireless audio into their remote control.  The tech confluence is so buttery that I got two of them: one for my theater room, and another for our bedroom.

It’s the one in our bedroom that has been so fun for me lately.  While I’m rocking little Gussy to sleep at night, I jack in my Roku headphones and watch some Caprica on the bedroom wall.  So fracking cool.

Or when Iris needs a little TV break, she can do the same, all while her brother is taking an undisturbed nap on the bedroom floor.

After both kids are down, the wife and I retreat downstairs to the theater and watch some Netflix-streamed West Wing.

Teetering between a curse and convenience, the truly magical leap of Netflix and other internet media services is in how they find their way to your mobile devices.  For as many times as we watch on our connected TVs, we also take Netflix with us on either our phones or tablets.  Seamlessly.  The shows we watch from one device can be picked up where we left off in smaller footprint.

It’s a dizzyingly fun and powerful generation of entertainment.  One that vies for our attention, ever more so.  VCR?  What’s the point?  Cable TV subscription?  Nope, no need.

 

 

 

 

Footnotes:

  1. except for Apple’s, but then only Apple will ever stream iTunes Movies []

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