App O’ The Mornin’: Netflix App Review

No, it’s not a game, but I’m giving myself a little topic leeway on Fridays, and I’ve been waiting for this one for a year. (Also: it’s relevant to Apps, Xbox, and Wii.)

I’m a huge Netflix junkie. Back when DVD was first launched, I wrote quite a bit about the format and the technology. I published a lot of reviews and amassed a fairly large collection (about 1800 discs).

The flatlining economy has largely ended my days of DVD collecting, but Netflix has jumped in to fill the gap. I’m a big fan of their “Watch instantly” option, which offers a sizable chunk of their content as streaming video. When this was just possible via my laptop, I didn’t really bother. But when they added streaming to televisions through any Xbox Live Gold account, it became far more appealing. (You can also stream through Wii, but the resolution is not as good.)

Since Netflix hadn’t created their own app, I was still unable to manage my queue via the iPod Touch, but I assumed they’d get around to it eventually. Boy, did they!

Now I know what took them so long. Not only does the new Netflix app (just released yesterday) allow you to browse, add, and delete titles from your instant queue, but it streams the instant queue straight to your device! Sweet gorilla of Manila!

Screen capture from iPod Touch running Netflix app

Now, my entire instant queue can follow me anywhere I go. I’m not a huge fan of watching video on tiny screens, but I know others are, and I’m simply amazed that Netflix was able to include such a powerful feature.

Now for the negatives: am I missing some hidden feature, or does this App not allow you to manage your regular queue at all? I also can’t find any information on what has shipped, what’s been returned, and other account data. This needs to be fixed.

The App is free, and simply ties in to your existing Netflix account. The queue features work fine, and the video streams without any hitches. If you have a Netflix account, then this will be one of the most powerful media apps on your device.

UPDATE: I’m reading through the reviews for this, and some people are complaining about crashes and skips. This hasn’t happened once to me. I suspect these are users who have minimal free memory. You can’t run a heavy media application with 20 MB of free RAM. Use an app like “Free Memory” to see how much memory is available, and close some background apps.

My experience was based on watching video via a WiFi connection. Obviously, variations in cellular signal strength will effect streaming.

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