Netflix and Game Consoles

With the news that Netlfix is coming to the iPhone and has just come to the Wii, a quick review is in order. This post will focus on the game console versions of Netflix’s instant streaming feature. The consoles are the Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii.

I am waiting for my Wii disc to arrive, so I will briefly discuss it here. From what I understand, you must use a Netflix streaming disc. You need to use your computer to add to your queue, but if it is anything like the PS3 version you can add selected new releases from a menu.

I just activated my PS3 disc. I waited a few weeks to activate it because I am not really interested in having to know where the disc is at all times. I figured PS3 could handle an installed Netflix app. I want to test it to be sure, but it looks like the disc is mandatory. I poked around a bit last night, and saw what I expected to see. There is a decent menu interface for browsing your instant queue. The new releases are easy enough to navigate as well. I need to brush up on which buttons do what, as I ended up backing out of Netflix over and over while testing them out. I imagine once I learn the correct ones to use I won’t have such a problem.

The winner of the bunch is the Xbox 360, however. Xbox Live customers get a built-in Netflix app. You don’t have to eject whatever game or DVD you were watching to switch to Netflix. The interface is similar to the PS3, but the lack of the disc is really convenient. The only downside is the requirement of an Xbox Live account. Netflix isn’t free, so having to pay for another service to view it is a little annoying. Since I am an Xbox Live member anyway this isn’t a deal-breaker.

Of the three consoles, I prefer the Xbox version. I am not sure if I will have much use for the Wii, since the video quality isn’t as good as the PS3 or Xbox. I am interested in trying it out though. The PS3 version is certainly usable. I just don’t want to have to use an extra disc. The disc-free Xbox 360 offers the same convenience as the PS3 and then some. Whichever device you choose to use for Netflix, it saves you from having to hook up your computer to your TV. Of course there are other options, but more on those later.

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