Like most folks, I like streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and a few other places instead of subscribing to cable TV. When I want to watch something in the living room, I use an older Roku set-top box to access most of the content I want to watch. Sometimes, however, I want to watch video files from other sources, usually in formats not natively supported by my Roku. In these cases, my usual streaming services don’t have the content available, leaving me two choices: watching on one of my computers, or plugging an HDMI cable in to my laptop and watching from my TV that way. For occasional viewing, that’s an alright option, but why not find something better? After all, I’d love to be able to use my laptop for something more than just streaming a video.
I’ve used a few different virtualization platforms, including VirtualBox, Windows Virtual PC, and Parallels for Mac. The first use of VM that I can remember is using VirtualBox on Windows XP to log in to multiple Runescape accounts at once. There were probably smarter ways to do what I needed to do, but it was still a fun experience.