Netflix recently announced they would be releasing a disc that let you play Netflix Instant Que movies directly on your PS3. All you had to do was sign up and get a free disc. The discs have already shipped and I’ve had a little bit of time to play around with it.
The disc does not recognize as a PS3 game as I had expected, but instead of a movie disc. BluRay’s BD-Live features enables a lot of new abilities for physical media, so I believe this makes up the backbone of the disc. However, I did place this in a Blu-Ray capable PC. It loaded up as a standard BluRay movie, displayed the Netflix logo splash screen, then froze the software. I may continue down this path just to see what else the disc offers.
As far as using the disc on the Playstation 3, it will prompt you to visit the Netflix website and enter a hardware identification code that thge PS3 displays on your TV, once you do this, it will log you in to the Netflix system. Your queued movies will be available, along with several lists of new releases ande popular movies.
The interface is very similar to the web-based interface that Netflix offers, with horizontal sliding tiles. Unfortunately, I found it to be very slow and clunky. This process could have been made much more fluid, and scrolling through large lists seems to take it’s precious time. Netflix passes on key information about videos watched, or if you were part way through watching a movie, it will even offer you the ability to resume the movie from where you were on another device (Xbox or web-baed player).
The video controls the output resolution of the playstation, and while I have not checked on any high definition video content, it seemed to work well for widescreen and completely standard definition (4:3) videos that I have watched.
Friday, while tinkering, I had run in to an interesting problem. I tried to watch a movie on my Xbox 360 – for some reason, no matter how many times I stopped and rebuffered the, the audio never came through. When I tried on the PS3 Netflix disc, the video played, but there was a few seconds of delay in the audio. I did not proceed to check the video on the web-based player.
Pressing the triangle button during movie playback will bring up the familiar DVD/Video controls of the PS3, but pressing the wrong button will take you back to the Playstation’s XMB, not just back to the Netflix Menu.
While I think the Netflix disc is a good start, the better decision would have probably been to make it more of a PS3 game disc, rather than a BD-Live disc. This way, patches and title updates could have easily been applied to the disc – I do not know if BD-Live affords them the same options. A new discmay have to be manufactured every time they want to change the format, it seems as though it could become very costly. All in all, I want a little more experience with it, but it’s a decent little addition to my netflix playing abilities (my 360, my PC, and my PS3 all hooked up to the same TV!). I was glad to check it out, but I don’t expect to get up and pop in my disc every time I want to watch a movie that’s supposed to be “On Demand.” I’ll most likely stick with the Xbox 360 client.