Monthly Archives: July 2011

TheSocialGeeks on Google Hangout

TheSocialGeeks went live this week with their first video recording in Episode 37 and not only talked about Google Hangout, but used it for the recording as well.  Jump over to the site and watch the HD version on YouTube or subscribe via iTunes to one of the hottest social media podcasts around.

We will be adding many guests, so get on board, find us on Twitter, Google Plus or wherever to join in a future show.

TheSocialNetworker Episode 24 – Google+ Setup

I have been following along all of the blogs as they talk about how Google+ functions. Perspectives on what it offers over Facebook and comparisons to past networks like FriendFeed are deeply commented on. But no one really showed the new, average, non-social media early adopter how to set up and begin using Google+.

This screencast walks through:

  • The very first Welcome screen
  • Verifying or editing your public Google profile
  • Creating circles
  • Understanding security around the circles
  • Hangouts
  • Stream basics

From there we will publish some further tutorials and commentary as needed.

You can subscribe to the podcast series or watch below in HD quality from the Spiked Studio channel on YouTube.

Follow along on Twitter or join me on Google+

Netflix – how to pick the best plan for you

Netflix is testing new ways to maximize revenue by creating different package choices for DVDs, streaming and a combination of the two. They just launched yet another Netlfix logochoice to the mix this week. Here is how to gauge what plan is best for you.

Unlimited Streaming

This plan at $7.99 a month allows you to connect streaming ready devices and apps like the Xbox, Wii and across iOS and Android. You can also pop open the webpage at any time and stream away from any computer.

The downside is that it works only in the USA and Canada, forcing you to have a VPN capability when traveling. You are reliant on bandwidth constraints, speed and maximums for the month. Look at the end where I talk about bandwidth settings.

This plan is best if you need only an occasional movie on DVD that can be rented from Redbox and do not mind that not everything stays in the on demand world they created. Too many times I have seen movies/shows available, added them to my queue and found that they have been removed from streaming. I am not sure what benefit Netflix gets from removing content from the stream instead of growing the library.

Unlimited DVDs Monthly

This is a new plan released this week from Netflix. For $7.99 per month you can now rent unlimited DVDs, one out at a time. Keep in mind the maximum you could rent in a month is about fifteen if you assume you could ship one back and have them ship to you the very same day. I would think 10-12 per month on the rotation basis would be expected.

If you do not have the bandwidth or only travel international, this plan makes a lot of sense. Also, if you only want new movies faster, this plan rocks. Streaming is behind in getting movies available after they leave theaters.

Limited DVDs Per Month

Netflix also offers the ability for $4.99 per month to have one (1) DVD out at a time to a maximum of 2 rentals for the entire month. I do not think this works for anyone since for the same amount you could rent 5 from Redbox.

Starz Play Only

This gives you no DVDs per month for the $6.99 per month, but only unlimited Starz and Starz Play channel and streaming. You do not have access to the entire Netflix catalog.

Unlimited Streaming and (XX) DVDs Per Month

This is where it gets confusing comparing the plans to the above. With these plans you get the unlimited streaming (see bandwidth controls below), Starz Play and some DVD amount rental.

  1. One DVD out at a time plus streaming – $9.99 per month
  2. Two DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $14.99 per month
  3. Three DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $19.99 per month
  4. Four DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $27.99 per month
  5. Five DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $34.99 per month
  6. Six DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $41.99 per month
  7. Seven DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $48.99 per month
  8. Eight DVDs out at a time plus streaming – $55.99 per month

This falls into the best of both worlds if you always seem to rent movies from Redbox during the month. If you rent more than two in a 30 day window but do not never more than one at a time, then the very first option is fully exploitable.  You get free shipping, a queue for on demand streaming and rentals allowing you to grab movies within a day or so of them becoming available.

Moving up to 2 at a time is too much of a jump.  If it was around $12.99 a month it would make more sense. I know we are talking a couple dollars per month but I can see a hesitation in myself at the leap in pricing. I will gladly wait for the next to arrive.  Having another in my hand simultaneously is not worth it or the higher plans.

Manage Streaming Video Quality

If you go into your settings for Netflix you can control the maximum output they will provide to your devices.  You have only three choices, but they can prove beneficial to making sure you can continue to use your Internet for the month.

  1. Good – up to .3GB per hour
  2. Better – up to .7GB per hour
  3. Best – up to 1GB per hour or 2.3GB per hour for HD

My Recommendation

After reading through all of the choices you have, grabbing the unlimited streaming with one DVD out at a time for $9.99 becomes the logical decision. This then includes your game units (Xbox, Wii, PlayStation), your computer and mobile devices.  Starz is available for streaming. Plus taking a DVD along for a trip or catching the latest release.