Windows Media Center is a media player that comes with Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate and Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate and Professional. Windows Media Center has the ability to stream Netflix movies with the installation of a small plug-in. Microsoft offers a plugin that works only in Windows Vista and Windows 7. There are also third party plugins that work in Windows Vista and 7. At this time, there is no plugin that will stream Netflix on a Windows XP Media Center Edition PC. To stream Netflix in Windows Media Center, you will also need a high-speed Internet connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second and a Netflix unlimited subscription plan.
Stream Netflix Movies and TV with the Microsoft Windows Media Center Plugin
Microsoft’s Netflix plugin for Windows Media Center is powered by Microsoft Silverlight. To install the plugin, open Windows Media Center. Scroll down to “TV + Movies.” Click on the “Netflix” icon to the left. Click “Install.” Click “Open Website.” Then click “Run.” In the next screen, click “Install.” A new screen will prompt you to install Silverlight. Click “Install Now.” Ensure that the check box beside “Enable Microsoft Update” is checked. Click “Next.” In the next window, ensure that “Restart Windows Media Center” is checked and click “Finish.”
After Windows Media Center restarts, enter your Netflix login information in the fields provided. If you don’t have a Netflix account, you can select “Start Free Trial” to set one up. Ensure that the “Remember Me” box is checked. Click “Continue.”
When the Netflix application starts in Windows Media Center, select “Instant Queue” at the top of the screen. If there are no movies in your Instant Queue, you may click the “Search” button to search for movies to add in Windows Media Center. If you have your computer hooked up to a TV and have a remote control for your computer, you can also use the onscreen keyboard to search for movies or TV shows. Type in a keyword of a movie, TV show or actor you’d like to watch, make sure that “Watch Instantly Only” is checked, then click “Search.” When you find a movie or TV show you’d like to watch, select its entry in the search results. Click “Play” or “View Episodes” to watch the movie or TV show right away, or click “Add to Instant Queue” to watch it later.You can also browse movies and TV by genre and by new arrivals in Windows Media Center.
Stream Netflix Movies and TV with vmcNetflix and vmcPlayIt
The vmcNetflix plugin will allow you to stream Netflix movies and TV in Windows Media Center in Windows Vista. The vmcNetflix plugin supports extenders such as the Xbox 360. It also supports search and parental controls. On the vmcNetflix download page, select the x86 download if you’re running the 32 bit version of Windows Vista. Select the x64 download if you’re running the 64 bit version of Vista. To find out which version you have by click the “Start” button, right-click “Computer,” then select “Properties.” By “System Type,” you will see which type of operating system is on your computer. When the download dialog opens, click “Save.” Select the “Downloads” folder on your computer and click “Save.” When the file download finishes, click “Run.” Click “Next.” If you accept the user agreement, select the check button and complete the installation.
Open Windows Media Center. Navigate to “Online Media” and click “Program Library.” Select “Programs by Name.” Click the vmcNetflix plugin which appears in the list. Type in your Netflix login information, select the check box beside “Remember me on this computer” and click “Login.”
Login failure is a common issue in vmcNetflix. If you cannot resolve this issue, you can also watch Netflix in Windows Media Center using vmcPlayIt and the PlayOn service. You must have a paid subscription to PlayOn Premium and download and install the PlayOn software to use this service. To complete the setup process, download and install vmcPlayIt. Save the file to your “Downloads” folder, then click “Run.” Complete the installation, then restart Windows Media Center. Go to “Online Media” and select “Program Library.” Click “Programs by Name.” Select “PlayOn via PlayIt.” Select the Netflix icon on the right, then select “Instant Queue.” You can browse your Netflix Instant Queue by the top 50, in alphabetical order or by genre.
For more information on this topic, read How to Stream Instant Netflix Movies with a Wii Game Console and How to Stream Netflix Movies and TV on an HDTV.