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Netflix PS3 Walkthrough/Review

Ah yes, another Netflix article! The 360 has had Netflix integration since November of last year, and it was very limited in terms of capabilities. Now the PS3 and the 360 offer about the same service, but with the PS3’s online service being free, there’s no prerequisites like having to be a Gold member. Ever since then, though, I had always hoped the PS3 would get Netflix integration as well. Though it’s not integrated into the XMB (yet), Netflix finally made it to the console.

The above video is a walkthrough of Netflix on PS3. On my previous video, I was comparing the time it took to load up certain aspects of Netflix on both the 360 and PS3, which had very similar results.

This time around, it’s basically a complete walkthrough of Netflix on PS3, including what you can do in the browser. I also fixed my autofocus, so it doesn’t constantly get blurry, which helps a lot, but the picture quality isn’t all that great :/. I’ll get an actual camcorder one of these days! Anyway, onto the review itself.

For starters, the one downside is really just having to use a disc to watch the instant streaming movies. It’s no big deal, since you do the same to watch Blu-Rays and other DVDs, as well as play games. Integration will be nice, though. You may also want to keep track of where the disc’s sleeve is, since they send them out in the same kind of packaging as their regular DVDs and Blu-Rays (with different markings, such as the PS3 logo, etc.).

As far as managing your lists on the PS3 web browser, it is possible, just a little limited. You can’t use any of the drop down menus, so you can’t really choose a specific genre, but the most popular ones will show up on either the Browse DVDs or Watch Instantly pages. From there, you can browse through those and add movies like that. To add movies to the Instant Queue, you first have to open the movie’s page, since the drop down for the “Play” button doesn’t show. on that screen, the “Add to Instant Queue” will be available. You can also search by title on in the search field if you have a specific movie you want to watch and/or rent. For more options and browsing capabilities, nothing will beat the PC, though. Hopefully Netflix will have a PS3 portal on their website in the future to make the other options available.

Loading up the disc is relatively quick, though, it takes about the same amount of time to go from system boot to the program being loaded up on both the 360 and PS3. The disc does take a while longer to load, but the 360 takes a while longer to boot up, so it comes to about even. The disc itself enables BD Live functionality to access the streaming. On initial use, you must enter in the code the disc will give you onto Netflix’s website, and they will pair up with one another and the disc will automatically recognize it so you can start streaming after it’s been enabled (this is standard for all Netflix-enabled devices).

After the disc loads, the main menu will then have lists, such as “Instant Queue”, “Recently Watched”, “Comedies”, etc. On the genre-specific lists, they only show up to 100 titles in each (as well as “Newly Available” lists), even if, say, there are over 100 titles available to stream (in which case, your best bet would be to search through the list in the browser or on a PC to see titles that aren’t listed in the disc’s list). One suggestion I would give would be to build a list on the site first.

As far as movie selection goes, there are 1000s of titles you can instantly stream, which is great and leaves for a LOT of options. And they’re adding more movies all the time. Browsing through the lists may seem a bit sluggish at first as well, but you get used to it pretty quick. On occasion, though, while going through titles in the list, it may start back at the beginning of the list for no apparent reason, which is an annoyance. Anyways, if you’ve rated enough movies, other movies will give you ratings based on your preferences, which is what will show when you select a movie and it brings you to the synopsis screen. If you’ve already seen the movie, you can rate it in there as well. Some movies also have an HD stream (a little icon will show near the MPAA rating under the synopsis), which has an amazingly clear picture for streamed media. For some reason, I haven’t been able to see HD streams available through PC, though, which is weird.

As for movie playback, depending on your connection, it takes roughly 20-40 seconds to load up a video, whether it’s Standard of High Definition. One issue folks have is with standard definition videos is they cause the PS3 to send a signal to the TV letting it know that it’s 480i/p and that it should be a 4:3 picture, so the TV will automatically adjust the picture settings to 4:3 (which squishes the picture), so make sure your TV’s settings aren’t automatic and you force 16:9 in the settings. This will disable the automatic aspect ratio adjustment and bypassing the issue.

For picture quality, this solely depends on your connection. For SD streams, if you’ve got a relatively slow connection, or you’re trying to watch movies on a cable connection during peak hours, you could potentially get a bit of artifact issues going on. Wireless connections can also cause similar issues if the strength isn’t that high, so be warned there. I have a good, fast, stable, wired DSL connection, so my streams are always DVD quality for SD and crystal clear on HD. I switched to wired because my wireless connection isn’t that strong and it caused a couple loading and artifact issues there, so I know from experience.

For HD pictures, like I said, the quality is immensely better than SD. This causes movies to have a slightly higher loading time, but it’s definitely worth it. Of course, if your connection is a little slower, the video might have to be buffered every once in a while, which is kind of annoying. Once I switched to the wired connection, I don’t have that problem any more, though.

If you skip through the movie, and it goes back to video playback after pressing play, you may get a few artifacts showing up for a couple seconds, but they soon go away and the picture becomes clear again, as shown in the video above. Other than that, the picture quality is nearly perfect, and for those of you who switched from PlayOn to the Netflix disc will agree that the picture quality is heaps better than PlayOn’s quality. If you have a good connection, you definitely won’t be disappointed with the quality at all.

Also of note, if you have movies on your instant queue that aren’t available any more, on the website’s Instant Queue list, it will be labeled under the “Save” option, so it’s saved to the list in case it becomes available again, or you can just remove it from there. I usually just remove it, but if it’s a movie you really like, go ahead and keep it “Saved” in case it becomes available again.

[review pros=”Excellent picture quality
1000s of titles
Ability to manage Queues on browser
Relatively quick loading times
” cons=”Limited browser capabilities
Slower connections will reduce image quality
Uses physical disc
List browsing will sometimes go back to the beginning of the list
” score=95]