Last night, I was listening to the soundtrack of “Zabriskie Point”, a 1970 film about counterculture in the U.S. It features Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia.
This morning in the den, I was reading about the two untrained lead actors of the movie and their own story, which is probably more interesting than the plot. I didn’t see this R-rated film at the theater in 1970, even though I was of age, barely (“R: Restricted – persons under 16 not admitted unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian.”)
Here’s how I got to watch it today, all without leaving the couch:
First, I checked to see if it was available on Netflix. It was on DVD, but not streaming.
Next, I looked on YouTube, It was there, but in a dubbed French version, or English in 12 separate parts.
I then found a torrent of it in .avi format, 672×288 resolution. Windows Media Player claimed to acquire a codec to play it, but it played sound only. That was OK, I wanted to see it on a big screen anyway.
I put the file in the public folder of the laptop I was using, then brought up the free TightVNC Viewer. It let me take over the desktop of a more powerful Windows 7 PC in our office. Acting as that computer, I copied the .avi file over to it from the laptop.
I already had the free Handbrake conversion utility installed there. The process of converting .avi to .mp4 format took only a few minutes. MP4 streams well to a Roku box.
Then I put the file in the proper naming and filing convention for Plex: /Movies/Zabriskie Point (1970)/Zabriskie Point (1970).mp4.
I brought up the Plex channel on the Roku in the den, and there was the movie, with poster art. When you click to play, the Plex channel software on the Roku talks to the free Plex Media Server software running on the computer, via our wifi.
I’m now watching it, not having stirred my haunches, except for coffee (I’ll get some exercise later today). So far, so good. It looks and sounds great.