February 01, 2013, 8:30 AM —
Today marks the release of the Netflix original series House of Cards (it's a remake of the 1990-95 British show of the same name) and it's apparently something of a coming out party for Netflix. This isn't the first Netflix original series (Lilyhammer came out just about a year ago) but for whatever reason (the $100 million price tag perhaps?) pundits seem to be watching House of Cards a lot more closely.
Unlike Hulu, Netflix doesn't follow the traditional TV pattern with its series. You can watch all of season 1 today, if you're very determined. I really like this policy; I just don't understand why you'd trickle out your content to match a model built around scheduling and advertisers.
Anyway, to celebrate the launch of House of Cards Microsoft is opening up Netflix access to all Xbox 360 owners. Normally only paying "Gold" members can stream Netflix on the Xbox, so if you're a Silver member and have been wondering what all the fuss is about, this weekend you'll get your chance to dive into Netflix. This isn't just for viewing House of Cards; all of Netflix will be available.
Of course, you still have to be a Netflix subscriber, but you can sign up for a free month if you're a new member. So there's that taken care of.
And if you check out Netflix and like it, what then? My advice is to go out and buy a Roku. For not much more than you'd pay for a year of Xbox Live Gold you can get hardware that'll stream Netflix (and a lot of other content) for years to come. You've gone this long without Xbox Live Gold, don't sink a lot of cash into it just for Netflix.
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