Ramblings of General Geekery

XBMCFlicks in Canada

I recently cut the cord, as they say, giving up cable TV in favor of Netflix and generally doing more productive things otherwise (which is easy since Netflix up here in Canada doesn’t have nearly as much content as in its home country). The problem was then to figure out how to access Netflix’s streams at home.

The web interface works well enough but is obviously not suited for using from the couch (even with that very handy Rii remote). The other official options are devices that I don’t have, except for the Xbox360 and the Wii. I haven’t tried it on the Wii yet, but I know I certainly don’t want to use my Xbox360 since it’s loud as hell and I’d need to wait for it to boot up before I could watch anything… so I went the unofficial route, as it’s often the case with guys like me.

I started with Boxee, since it’s a lot better than XBMC when it comes to apps and its Netflix app looks very nice. The problem was that it’s only supported in the US at the moment (except on the Boxee Box itself). I tried tweaking the app’s code to make it work in Canada and eventually got that somewhat working, but it was a lot more effort than what I expected (maybe I’ll post about that later if I get it in a state I’m happy with, unless the Boxee guys actually release an update that fixes the problem). Still, it was a nice way to keep Python programming fresh in my mind.

I then reverted back to XBMC, which I’m a big fan of, and its XBMC-Flicks add-on, which lacks style but is at least functional and supports Canada. Still, there were a few blocking issues so I had to go in the code and change a few little things. I uploaded my fork on Github, so you can grab it from there and try it for yourself if you’re a canadian XBMC/Netflix user. Those fixes should be integrated into the offical add-on soon anyway.