Walt Mossberg

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Mossberg’s Mailbox

Streaming Video to a TV

Q:

Is there a device that would enable me to watch streaming movies from Netflix directly on my TV, without using a computer?

A:

Yes, there are many. A small portion of Netflix’s huge catalog is available for streaming, as opposed to viewing on DVD, and the company has struck deals with various makers of set-top boxes and other TV-connected hardware that allow these movies to be played directly on a TV. Among these are the Roku digital video player, TiVo digital video recorders, and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles. The simplest and least expensive is the Roku, which starts at around $80. A complete list is at netflix.com/NetflixReadyDevices.

Q:

I’m going to graduate school, and need a PC mostly for word processing. I am not interested in gaming, movies, etc. I am looking at the Asus UL20A. Is that a good idea?

A:

I haven’t reviewed this model, but, if you’re comfortable with its keyboard and screen, you should be fine using it mainly for word processing (though it’s capable of many other tasks). However, there are many competitors in this size and price range, and, unless you have already done so, I’d suggest shopping around to make sure the Asus is the best choice for you.

Q:

Which version of Windows (XP, Vista or 7) runs best using Apple’s Boot Camp?

A:

I have run all three just fine on an iMac using Boot Camp, Apple’s built-in feature for booting Mac hardware into Windows when you like instead of into Apple’s (AAPL) own operating system. However, I would suggest Windows 7. It’s much better than Vista and much more modern than XP.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox and my other columns, free of charge, at walt.allthingsd.com.

Write to Walter S. Mossberg at walt.mossberg@wsj.com


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