I have had the iPhone application for a while and haven’t used it but I’m watching my students take their Intro to Econ midterm and thought this would be a great time to start wig a short post.
Netflix recently announced it would stream movies to it’s customers via the PS3 starting next month. Currently, Xbox360 users have the option. Sounds great but PS3 users can already stream by using the web browser built into the PS3. I use it to watch shows on Hulu (which apparently is going to start charging for their service soon, much to my disappointment. No free lunch indeed.) It is not easy to navigate or type in URLs with the controller but for something simple like watching a video, it works okay.
Apparently this will be a little better quality (the system is supposed to vary the quality of the video based on the speed of your internet connection, and will provide DVD quality if you have a fast internet connection) but the number of titles is still limited to what it is now when streaming online with a computer or the PS3 browser. No major new releases are available to be streamed. Only 1 of the 20 movies in my Netflix queue has the streaming option available.
And for at least a few months, PS3 users will have to insert a disc to enable the streaming function. (This does not count as one of the discs you can have out — it’s a freebie.) Sure, it is probably easier than the built-in web browser but it will be annoying to have to switch out discs when you want to watch a movie. Next year, Netflix plans on having the software built into a PS3 firmware update. If you have a PS3 and Netflix and want to explore the streaming option, go to Netflix, click on the streaming video, then explore the different player options — click the PS3 and you should be able to find the option to put yourself on the list to have a streaming disc shipped to you when they are available in a few weeks.
When I first heard about the option I was excited. But the more I learn about it, the more I think this is just a minor improvent over the status quo — the only real difference is better picture quality and hopefully a more navigable interface. But I guess if it were a really significant improvement, like expanding the list of streamable movies, they would start raising prices. And the last time they did that, for Blu-ray, I had to cut back my purchases.