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The British “Netflix”

Netflix UK

Thanks to the new Xbox dashboard update some Microsoft users can now utilize the Netflix service in a party, with the movies synced up for you so everybody sees the same thing at the same time. Tonight I watched Shaun of the Dead and Monty Python’s Life of Brian in an Xbox Live party. It was a great evening and much fun was had by all. What made it unusual was that we all live in Britain and thus cannot use the Netflix service that US customers enjoy. No, my friends and I had to do it the ghetto way.

  • Party up
  • Get our DVD’s ready on a separate player
  • Get them paused at 00.00 on the timer
  • Count down from five
  • Press play

The worst part of this is that after fifteen minutes our controllers would turn off automatically and we’d drop out of the party. This led to me cradling the controller the whole way through both films, tapping at the d-pad every five minutes or so. I tried using my wireless headset, but the echo effect was horrendous (on a side note, I have never been able to use that wireless headset effectively). This can also be countered with a play and charge kit, which I’m now thinking of picking up.

We are getting some kind of connectivity with Sky TV and the movie channel that boasts over ONE HUNDRED titles! (That’s right, look impressed!) and there’s always the movies available on the Xbox marketplace. Let me tell you, if you like mediocre thrillers from 1997, this is your destination of choice. Murder at 1600 fans rejoice! Ultimately, with DVD’s now ridiculously cheap over here (the average classic title is £3.99 new on Amazon) this twisted, convoluted way of getting friends together to see movies will have to do for us for now. By the time Netflix arrives here, or our version, Lovefilm, extends to digital downloads with a set-top box that might be easily replicated in a console, here’s hoping the next Xbox will be out and Microsoft can help revolutionize British film-viewing habits. Mind you, I’ll be too busy zooming about the place on my hover-board and dodging Terminators to care.

I’m not sure I can rightly articulate how  green with envy we are in Britain at you Americans, with your Netflix, your reasonable prices and your abundant, tasty food. But as I munched on my boiled pizza, bowler hat on head and cup of tea in hand, watching two of the funniest British comedies ever made, my friends laughing in my ear and quoting the best lines, I figured; “Could be worse”.

  • I do love my netflix 🙂

  • We’ve always been poor relations in the UK for movies. Having to wait longer for DVDs to launch just so they could add German and French soundtracks/subtitles. Hello.. we speak English.. I think we can cope with the US versions!! This geographic breaking up of the markets never made any sense, and is only exasperated now things are going Digital. It would always have made more sense to have the UK in the same ‘zone’ as the US, except for the fact we prefer sex, nudity, and swearing to violence in the UK so the ratings would be a little messed up.
    That said, when we got it working, as manual as it all was, it took nothing from the experience of enjoying some great movies with friends. 🙂

  • Good and very accurate article! Lucky Americans!