All I Want for Christmas: Streaming Netflix

12/27/2010 02:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's always hard finding the right gifts for people, especially your boss, who appears to have everything. Well, except the ability to stream Netflix through her BluRay player. I know she's not alone. Without my tech savvy husband to save the day, I'd be clueless as well. With Netflix's recent announcement of streaming-only accounts (guess they're trying to phase out physical DVDs, something we did three years ago), there are going to be plenty of people who received a new device last week who are now in the same boat. To that end, since it's the season of giving, I decided to pick my husband's brain and share exactly how to get your system up and working. Consider it a little Christmas miracle.

1) First things first: You need some type of box to connect to your TV to stream the files. You're probably gonna get one for Christmas if you don't already have one. Can be a BluRay player with ethernet or wi-fi (look for the Netflix compatible logo), any gaming console (XBox, Wii, Playstation3), Tivo, Roku or the new $99 AppleTV. All of them need to be hooked up to your television and connected to your home Internet connection either via an ethernet cable or your wi-fi network. Follow the instructions that come with your device.

2) Then you need a Netflix account. Once you've signed up, you'll need to go onto their website and add movies/TV shows to your Instant Queue. Add everything you're interested in. You can skip this step if you're using a gaming console or AppleTV as they have built-in navigation. BluRay players do not. If you don't have anything in your queue, you'll be staring at an empty screen. Believe me, it may be a bit time consuming to do this up front, but will be a godsend later. Even though you can search from some devices it's far from easy or intuitive and watching things instantly is sort of the whole point. Unfortunately, not everything is available for instant download (i.e. all the Harry Potter films), so if you want to watch more current releases it might be best to sign-up for the account that also includes DVD shipping, instead of streaming only.

3) Turn on your device. If using a BluRay player make sure it doesn't have a disc in it. Using the onscreen menu, find the Netflix app logo and click on it. You will be prompted for your email address and password that you used to set-up your account. Once entered, everything you added to your Instant Queue should appear. Click on what you want to watch and enjoy. It works just like you're playing a DVD, you can pause, fast-forward or rewind. If you're watching a television series it will even remember which episode you're on, which is super cool in our opinion. Everything stays in your queue until you remove it, so you can watch your favorites over and over again without having to re-upload them.

4) Don't forget to set-up your account on your iPad, mobile phone or computer. Just download the app, sign-in and begin watching. Your account should work seamlessly on all your devices.

5) Happy Holidays!

- Lisa Dinsmore