Stuff

I know many tune in to Chiriquí Chatter to read something related to living in Panama. Sometimes they find it and sometimes they don’t.

It seems I get wrapped up in projects and, as is normal with AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder), I start something and get distracted and get caught up in something else.

I have several such projects. This post is related to my current distraction (Apple TV and NetFlix).

Thanks to my friend Omar in Panama City, I activated my subscription to NetFlix and am in the free first month trial. I can already tell that it is a keeper.

I guess this is somewhat related to living in Panama because one of the questions I am asked the most by email is “What do you do for entertainment?”.

Certainly, there are many activities to do when away from home in Panama. There are a plenty of historical places to visit, many beautiful places to see and the challenge of learning to acclimate yourself into the culture of Panama.

Still you are going to need other entertainment as well. Intellectual entertainment may be more of a challenge in a country where English is not the primary language. When you go to movies in Panama, you will find some movies that are in English and are dubbed into Spanish. This is particularly true with children’s movies. Some will be in English with Spanish subtitles.

Radio will be, for the most part, entirely in Spanish. That will mean you will have to have access to your music source to listen to other than Latin music.

Likewise with TV. Obviously, the primary audience for the carriers of TV in Panama speak Spanish and therefore English broadcasts are limited. Licensing requirements also mean that many of your favorite broadcasts can’t be broadcast in Panama unless the companies pay a fee. Guess what? The market isn’t there to justify their doing it.

You may receive some Sunday football in English and others only in Spanish. These are some of the things that will require an adjustment if, if you are going to be happy.

Luckily the Internet is providing some other options. Your favorite music, in your chosen language, is available. I have been using the new iTunes Radio to listen to my favorite artists.

For movies I have relied on BlockBuster in David, and Cable Onda. Neither of the options are without there own problems. With cable, you are held hostage by the current programming that is on and whether SAP is providing English. I find that often what I want to watch on Cable Onda is only in Spanish.

With BlockBuster, you must have a DVD player that is capable of playing the region listed on the DVDs. I don’t think Blue Ray has that limitation, but non Blue Ray DVDs do. The US is region one and Panama is region 4.

The way current technology is going, I double if DVDs are going to exist more than a few more years. Most new PCs are eliminating the DVD drive from the manufactured unit. Everything is going digital. All media (audio, video and printed) is going digital.

Ebooks are becoming the norm and no longer the exception.

Because of the digital revolution, NetFlix has become a wonderful option to those of us living in Panama. The limitation that will affect being able to use NetFlix or not will be the speed of the Internet connection one has. My Internet speed in David is more than adequate.

I have a friend in the Volcan area that is using Planet Telecom and he also is using NetFlix without problem. However, if you are living in an area that depends only on cellular, you will be out of luck.

Now that I have provided why one might be interested in using NetFlix, what have I learned in the last few days, that I hadn’t expected. First let me describe how I am using it.

I created a Unlocator account and have stored the DSN addresses into my router. That allows my Apple TV, which is connected via Ethernet to the router, to be able to utilize the US NetFlix. Without it, my selections would be different. My Apple TV utilizes an HDMI connection to the TV which delivers digital should along with high definition video to my TV.

The quality of the broadcast is phenomenal. However, what I am most impressed with is the sound. I have the sound connected to a surround sound system and the difference between the same movie on Cable Onda and NetFlex is immense.

I have spent more of my time watching documentaries. I have gone to so few movies since leaving the US, that there are more than I can possibly watch.

I had wondered if NetFlix was worth it because I had used Amazon Prime in the past and cancelled it. There is no comparison between Amazon Prime and NetFlix in my opinion. I am hooked.

UPDATE: I just read Omar’s current post and guess one option mentioned above may be leaving. They are closing in the US and it will be interesting to see how long they hold out here.

9 thoughts on “Stuff

  1. I am curious as to what is different with the US selections on Netflix as I have never had a problem finding tons of programming in English. Just curious. If you are a die hard football fan like Til and I are, I recommend Game Pass. Granted it is $200 a season but we get all our Bears games, as well as all the other games in English.Other packages are cheaper if you only want a certain team’s games. And the best part is that we can watch the night game the next morning. Game Pass is only available to persons living overseas and as our computer is connected to our TV, we get amazing HD, high quality games. As my mobility is limited Netflix and Game pass are musts in our home. Plus I have been extremely happy with Cable Onda and HBO. Hmm? Maybe we ARE addicted to our TV. 🙂

  2. I can’t say how much difference there is between the US and Panama versions in NetFlix. On difference appearantly is that there is more Spanish Subtitiling available with the Panama NetFlix. That makes sense.

    While I would like to have more English football broadcasts, I don’t have the $200 to get it. I watch it in Spanish. I have found that sometimes the HDTV channels and the regular channels for HBO and other premium channels will be different in that sometimes I can get English on one and not the other.

    I guess what I am finding I like the most is being able to watch a program when I want to watch it and not have to see it when it is scheduled to be shown. If I need to take the dog outside, I can pause NetFlix and un pause it when I return.

  3. Regarding your comment about region codes on DVDs and standard DVD players: we learned years ago that there are hacks available to program your locally purchased (region 4) player to play region 1 DVDs. Do a search for your make & model of player and you may be surprised how many sites pop up.

  4. That is true for some players and not for others. However, the DVD is getting ready to go the way of the Dodo just like the video tape formats.

    DVD players that play Region 1&4 are cheap now also.

  5. You may have AADD, but I suffer from a much more severe affliction…it’s ADOLAP! That’s the acronym for Adult Deficiency Oh Look A Puppy! disorder.

  6. There is a huge difference between Panama Netflix and US Netflix. None of the shows I watch regularly are available in Panama. The selection is much smaller in Panama and the shows are fairly lame. I’m presently watching The Walking Dead, Andy Griffith, Dragnet, and Alfred Hitchcock, and have recently finished Sons of Anarchy and Revolution. A big plus is no subtitles. I will have no problem paying a monthly fee when Unlocater starts charging.

  7. I disagree that Panama Netflix is lame. We get hundreds of movies in English and all the Netflix original programming, and series from The Twilight Zone on through the years. No we don’t get some shows but I think we get enough.. And as for subtitles, I don’t even notice them anymore. After awhile it is like white noise. I do know that my puppy is very happy that his needs aren’t put on hold!!

  8. We are moving to Boquete in January. Just as the new season of Downton Abbey
    starts. We are currently living in Connecticut and get Channel Thirteen the NY PBS TV station on our Comcast Cable. Is there any way to get PBS stations? I know Downton Abbey is on Netflix, but not all PBS shows are available.

Leave a Reply