Netflix Streaming, the Internet’s changing our Brains, and Cable goes Online

I’ve been virtually absent from ZNF for the last two weeks, and my backlog of posts is growing out of control. So, in an attempt to catch up, here are a few related items I’ve found interesting of late.

EngadgetHD is reporting (via Joystiq) that Netflix has plans for an all-streaming service in the near future, just as Brent hinted here over the weekend. Bye bye, little red envelopes. Hello, Watch Instantly. Suddenly the online video phenomenon feels like a snowball rolling downhill. 2008 brought primetime shows to the Web en masse and a slew of media extenders to market. According to a marketing exec I spoke to from VoloMedia recently, we also crossed the 70% online video threshold in 2008, as in 70% of online users have consumed video on the Web. Popcorn, anyone?

Meanwhile, it turns out that all the time we’re spending online may be physically changing our brains. (Yes, the aliens really are coming for us.) According to Oxford neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, constant screen time may be forcing us back into an infant-like state where we need continual stimulation to remind us we exist. Esoteric stuff, but keep in mind there’s always someone crying doom over the latest technology. Just remember to get out and deal with real people on a regular basis, and I’d wager your brain will survive the onslaught of the inter-tubes.

Finally, after talking last week about cable’s plans to bring its own content online for existing subscribers, it appears the move may be happening even faster than we thought. Comcast says it will start a service tentatively called “OnDemand Online” before the end of the year. Soon you’ll be able to watch cable TV on your computer, and even stream it from your PC directly to your TV! Or, wait, you could just watch it on your TV in the first place. Ah, convergence.

4 thoughts on “Netflix Streaming, the Internet’s changing our Brains, and Cable goes Online”

  1. I’ve been waiting for a streaming only option for Netflix. I just won’t use them if they must put something in my mailbox. It’s taken a long time to get my mailbox to be for “junk only”.

  2. So we’re going to have bandwidth caps and large bandwidth downloads with Comcast. Sounds like a good recipe.

  3. This seems like a bit of a non-event – obviously Netflix is going to offer a streaming-only plan at some point. Were they just trying to reassure their impatient customers or send a message to their competition?

  4. Actually, they were probably sending a message to their shareholders and to get the studios thinking how they might profit from a relationship with Netflix. Also, the CFO was talking at a media conference so it was a natural topic of discussion. Don’t think it was intended as an ‘announcement.’

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