Quick Tip: Change iTunes Buffer Size for Smoother Streaming

When I moved in with my old roommate he already had a router…a router that did not play nice with my Macbook Air. Browsing the internet was almost as painful as being on dial up, and streaming media seemed like an impossible task.

After a while of watching videos play in stop motion through iTunes, I decided that there must be something I could do to remedy the situation. After a poking around in iTunes I found out you could change the streaming buffer size. Changing the buffer size to “Large” tells iTunes to load more of the movie/song/whatever before starting playback, that way you experience fewer (or even no) breaks in playback.

To change your buffer size for smoother streaming:

  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Go to Preferences
  3. Go to the “Advanced” tab
  4. Go to the “Streaming Buffer Size” pull down menu. If you have a slow internet connection choose the “Large” option. If you have a fast internet connection (DSL or cable modem) select the “Small” option to have streamed media playback faster.

After I switched my streaming buffer size from the default medium setting to large, my videos definitely streamed a lot smoother. As always, have fun and good luck!

Netflix “Watch Instantly” Coming to Mac

I don’t know about you but my favorite corporate blogger is now Brent from Netflix – or as I like to call him – “The Bringer of Good News.”

Netflix announced on Wednesday the addition of 1,000 movies to its “Watch Instantly” collection, which on its own is a welcomed announcement. But at the end of blogger Brent’s announcement was this little gem:

And, for all of you Mac users (of which I am one) we’ve been busy working getting a solution that will allow you to watch instantly on your Mac. So hang in there – we’ll have something for you by the end of the year.

The only reason I currently have Parallels installed on my Mac is so I can run Internet Explorer in order to access Netflix’s streaming TV and movie library. It’s a good feeling to know that by Christmas I will be able to sever the connection to my home PC completely.

But perhaps even better news is the pressure this announcement places on Apple to improve the Apple TV experience. By increasing its library of streaming titles for a ridiculously cheap monthly price, Netflix is doing what we all demand but Apple refuses to do – offer an affordable subscription model for media. Let the competition begin…

Netflix to Stream 2,500 Starz Play Titles

Netflix is adding roughly 2,500 titles from Starz Entertainment to its “Watch Instantly” streaming service. The deal gives Netflix subscribers paying at least $8.99 a month access to content from the Starz Play broadband service as part of their subscription.

Though lacking in new releases, the Starz arrangement is nice shot in the arm for the Netflix service, which has been dinged for its dearth of decent content since it’s launch. It’s also the second major deal in as many weeks, with Netflix announcing it would get TV shows from CBS and The Disney Channel. All the recent additions will boost Netflix’s content library to more than 15,000 titles.

One thousand of those Starz movies are available now, including Spider-Man 3, Ratatouille and No Country for Old Men. The upcoming Starz drama series Crash, based on the Oscar-winning movie, will also be available.

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Netflix Streams Disney, CBS TV Content

The biggest drawback to the Netflix streaming service was its lack of quality content (unless you consider Improve Your Sailing Skills quality). But Netflix took a small step towards fixing that problem today by adding TV content from CBS and the Disney Channel.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix subscribers will be able to watch shows like CSI and Hannah Montana through the streaming service a day after they air on TV (just in time for the fall season!). Netflix has a similar arrangement with NBC for shows like Heroes.

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Q&A with Livestation CEO Matteo Berlucchi

Livestation streams TV content from around the world to its own video player. CEO Matteo Berlucchi explains his company’s business model, why live-streaming is important, and about his competition.

LG Introduces Streaming/Blu-Ray Box

We have one more piece of Netflix‘s set-top box strategy today. LG announced its Blu-Ray and streaming hybrid player. The LG BD300 will play high definition discs as well as stream content (not in HD) from Netflix and other sources directly to your television set.

The new Netflix/LG device is basically like training pants for the consumer. It keeps the familiarity of physical DVDs (a business Netflix predicts it will max out on in five years), transitions people to the high-def Blu-Ray format, and eases them into the streaming on-demand world.

This is Netflix’s third set-top box relationship (it sill has one more TBA). Here are the current options for Netflix subscribers to stream content to their TV:

Roku $99 Small set-top box that streams Netflix content.
Xbox $279 – $299 + $49.99 Xbox Gold Membership Game console streams movies through its Xbox Live service.
LG BD300 sub-$500 Plays Blu-Ray and streams Netflix content.

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Amazon PPV Streaming Coming Soon

Amazon will be unveiling a new video pay-per-view streaming service in the next couple of weeks, Jeff Bezos said today at the D6 conference. Details were non-existent (Amazon would only confirm the announcement), but one way or another, the move adds another player to the increasingly crowded world of home movie delivery.

You can watch Bezos make the announcement in this highlight video (skip ahead to the 3:30 mark):

Also today, Amazon Unbox partner TiVo said it would be using rival download service CinemaNow to provide Disney movie rentals to its customers. And streaming must be the new black, as Netflix showed off its Roku streaming movie box last week. Bezos even alluded to the crowded video delivery space, saying that because movies and music are so glamorous, they attract a lot of people.

Chinese P2P Streaming Platform PPLive Sued for Copyright Infringement

The popular Chinese P2P TV platform PPLive has been sued for copyright infringement by entertainment company Beijing Shidai Yingyin International Entertainment Co., ChinaTechNews.com reports, seeking compensation of 330,000 Chinese yuan ($47,000). This is the first time PPLive has been sued, but it’s part of a larger backlash against Chinese P2P platforms.

PPLive is hugely popular in China. The service reportedly had 85 million users in October, and it currently offers access to several hundred streaming video channels as well as hundreds of on-demand shows. Most of those are Chinese programming, but PPLive also broadcasts sports events from around the world, including NBA and European soccer games — a feature that has made the service popular with sports fans overseas as well.

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