Netflix: The Instant Experience

    A while back Netflix went from a DVD by mail rental company to a movie provider.  They did this by expanding into the instant streaming market. I have been a Netflix subscriber since 2002. I have watched the company move from DVD’s to their first step into streaming up to today. At this point Netflix’s Watch Instantly has become a product they can advertise alone rather then an after thought.

    I access my Instant queue in two ways. One via a computer attached to an lcd and the other through the Xbox 360 attached to the same lcd. Each way has its advantages over the other.

Computer Interface

    Using the computer is as easy as going to Netflix via Internet Explorer and choosing a movie to play. Through the browser you can go to your INSTANT QUEUE and chose a movie you have already chosen to watch at some point or you can browse through their selection and chose something new. This is an ability I like and from what I have read is available in some standalone viewing devices.  When you select a movie to play it moves you to a new page, gauges your network speed and begins to play the movie inside the window. You have to choose to have the movie play at full screen. When the movie completes it brings you back to the window and you can chose to go back to browsing.  If you are watching a TV series or anything with more then one episode it will go back to the window and automatically begin to play the next one.

XBOX 360 Interface

    To use your 360 to watch movies you need three things. A Netflix subscription,  an XBOX Live Gold subscription, and the small program to run the movies that is easily downloaded to the Xbox. Once you have downloaded the software you are required to log into your Netflix account on a computer and authorize the Xbox via a code provided to you by the Xbox. Once your device has been authorized you can run the Netflix software on your 360. The software will bring you to your INSTANT QUEUE. A picture represents each movie/series in your queue. To enter the movie you just select it by clicking the A button. The interface is smooth, easy to use, and eye catching. Unfortunately through this program you ONLY have access to those movies you have put into your queue. You do not have the ability to browse for new movies. When you chose a video to play it checks your network just like the computer but when the video begins playing it is immediately set to the correct size for you television. If you would prefer to stretch the video to fill the screen multiple options are given to you to do just that.

Conclusion

    Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature is a movie watching option I would recommend.  However you chose to watch it: Computer, Xbox 360, or another device they have continuously upgraded the experience and added more content.  Movies and series are begin added regularly and they even have deals with companies such as CBS to watch brand new shows the day after they air.  I watch Numbers usually through this method weekly.  They also are working to get older seasons added. Using Numbers as an example they started with just season and have worked backwards-adding seasons 4 and then 3.  In the end I expect to see all five seasons available.  I find that I watch the instant videos so more often then DVD’s allowing me to lower my subscription to one DVD out at a time.  The single DVD rather then the multi-DVD subscription I had previously saves money.

Positive Features

Computer Xbox 360
Ability to browse movies Interface is smooth and more eye catching
Continues right into the next episode More video viewing options to fit your screen