The Ottumwa Courier

April 10, 2013

Netflix


The Ottumwa Daily Courier

---- — Mary and I watch a lot of movies, both at the theater and at home. With satellite television, the movie channels are abundant, and they have high-quality movies. Anytime, day or night, I can sit down and find a pretty decent movie. In fact, some of them, like “Million Dollar Baby” and “Out of Africa,” I’ve watched so many times, I find myself mouthing the words. The trouble with satellite movies is that it’s on their schedule, and you can’t pause or rewind.

Consequently, we have a wall full of DVDs and VCRs. I even went so far as to purchase one of those Bluray players (on sale) thinking that would surely indicate to friends that dropped by that I was up on the latest gadgets. I don’t think I impressed anyone.

A couple of people told me about Netflix, but I couldn’t quite understand what it was all about. All I could think of was another monthly bill ($7.99). Plus, I had read that the company was having financial difficulties.

However, these Netflix aficionados pointed out that the downloadable movies, jillions of them, they assured me, came right in over the Internet and were rewindable and pausable. Ah, ha. They even assured me that my Bluray player was Netflix “compatible.” Well, I did do something right.

I do enjoy a good movie in the evening before bed, when my brain is numb and non-productive. “Vegging out,” I believe is the term. However, I must admit, I was getting tired of “Water World” and “Meet the Fockers.”

I took a big risk and visited one of my friends that had Netflix. I wanted to see how he had his system hooked up. It didn’t look that tough, and I understood the basic concept. Netflix comes in over your Internet service, then the signal is transmitted in some fashion to your television. However, he warned me, and got real serious: “Don’t plan on getting anything done once Netflix is installed.” In addition to movies, there are also documentaries on every subject imaginable, children’s movies for the grandkids, you name it. You can spend months in front of the tube and not see the light of day.

I paid him no heed.

Getting signed up for Netflix was pretty simple. In a few seconds, I had it playing on my computer. Getting the signal from the computer or router to the television was a different story. In short, it took me three days. It seems there are innumerable ways of accomplishing such a feat, depending on your hookups. There are wireless connections, ethernet connections, HDMI cables and antennas, and a myriad of settings and codes. Plus, there are no real clear-cut directions. (My friend neglected to tell me he had hired someone to do his setup.)

I was real proud of myself for “chatting” online with a tech. I learned what an HDMI cable was.

Mission accomplished! I am now the proud owner of five remotes. Mary and I sat right down and watched Doctor Zhivago. (We had seen this as teenagers at the Paramount Theater in downtown Des Moines and wanted to revisit the emotions and feelings of 50 years ago.) Doctor Zhivago has since been remade and stars Keira Knightley — not quite the same effect as Julie Christie and Omar Sharif.

Of all the movies I’ve since watched, I believe I like the Doc Martin series the best. I can sit down with supper and watch a 45-minute episode, laugh, cry and enjoy myself thoroughly. Then I pick a movie.

I had my taxes done recently. My accountant noted that I looked tired. “Are you not sleeping?” he asked.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.