Review: Netflix PS3 app a winner

Streaming is here. It works, it's convenient, and it changes the game.

Netflix PS3 App review

Netflix PS3 App reviewNetflix today made available its disc-less app for owners of the Sony PS3 (and Nintendo Wii). In short, it’s a winner. The interface is clean, load times fast, and it does everything you’d expect without overly complicated layers of menus. Just be sure you have one of the “unlimited” plans on Netflix (which start at $10.99), otherwise you will get a “device not supported” error message.

In my hands-on test, I’d say this is a rather nice solution for families looking to get instant streaming access to a large collection of movies, television shows, cartoons and documentaries. It’s everything you’ve come to love about Netflix, without the hassles of mailing discs (which beget the hassle of driving to your local Blockbuster in the apparent stone ages that was the 2000s).

Installation is a snap. Starting today a Netflix app icon appears under the “Video” menu. I clicked on it, and the PS3 rapidly downloaded the app, and it was installed in less then a minute.

Next, I entered my Netflix credentials. A bit of a pain using the PS3 on-screen keyboard, but presumably I only need do this one time.

Netflix App on PS3 now availableAfter Netflix authenticated me, I was presented a clean interface. Movie icons appear on the right, and a menu on the left. I tested the navigation and found it instantly intuitive. This is flat-out simple. Yet the designers did a nice job of making it easier to navigate hundreds of movies (faster I found than the native PS3 movie store). Choices to navigate include: Suggestions for You, New Arrivals, Genres, Instant Queue, and Search.

I navigated to Genres, then Action, and pulled up Iron Man. From there I clicked on Instant Stream, and within seconds the film was streaming to my PS3, and Mr. Stark himself was enjoying a nonchalant desert cruise in a Hummer.

Once streaming, a movie can be paused, and resumed using a conventional press of the Ps3 controller “x”. In addition, thumbnails are accessible when paused to enable rapid fast forward to certain scenes. I found the performance impressive, and never felt that any of the load times were frustratingly long – the PS3 Netflix App is zippy.

Netflix thumbnail navigation is fast
Netflix thumbnail navigation is fast

For Television episodes, such as Dexter for example, an episode guide pulls up a convenient listing of all the episodes for that particular season. Again, everything worked extremely well.

I’ll continue to play with the PS3 App. One thing I couldn’t figure out was how to access HD streams and Dolby Digital 5.1. In my tests I could only get SD with stereo stand, albeit quite nice. For me, this will be essential as who doesn’t want the full Hollywood experience?

The Netflix PS3 app is a winner. Things are going to get interesting with Apple TV ($99), Roku ($59), and now Google TV devices entering the fray. And let’s not forget the darling of streaming, Hulu.

A low risk prediction: the lifespan of Blu-Ray is going to be extremely short. Streaming is here. It works, it’s convenient, and it changes the game. Netflix is on a roll, and thanks to their new App, my PS3 just became an even better media hub for our family.

Photo tour: PS3 Netflix App

Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 11,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Watch us on Amazon Prime or subscribe to Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.
  • Mirmont211

    indeed,what about 5.1 and HD?

  • Rah

    Does PS3 upscale SD video?

  • Mizzac

    Blu-Ray will not die soon, streaming quality is no where near what you get with Blu-Ray. You may not notice it on a sub par smaller screen, but those with large HD projectors or HD Televisions, can tell a diff from BluRay & Streaming. IMO Streaming is good for TV shows, and catching up on Family Guy, but not quite hollywood ready… I watched Iron man on Blu-Ray and then watched the streaming netflix version and it looked dull… The blacks where mosaic and it lost A LOT of detail (please note that I am being extremely anal, and most will be extremely happy with streaming quality) I just dont think Blu-Ray will die soon.

  • Anonymous

    I just streamed Heat in 1080P HD with 5.1 surround… it looks and sounds awesome. This is by far the best Netflix streaming option available right now.

    • Mirmont211

      thx.i searched Heat and saw the HD & 5.1 i know what im looking solved my “why the h#$l isnt this working” problem.

      • Mirmont211

        p.s. Matrix Revolutions,very nice=)

  • Not quite changing the game yet for me. Really slow and errors – I’m thinking Netflix servers are overloaded. Interface looks nice though! I’m sure they’ll get performance fixed quickly. They should turn all the old Blockbuster locations into data centers…

  • Skrap

    I think the interface could use a bit of work. I find it quite lacking for what I expected from a partnership with Sony. It’s slow and clunky. It Looks hastily designed. The indicators that say whether or not a video is HD or not are non-existent. I would still rather watch on my PC, or Xbox. Which is a shame.

  • Chris G

    I’ve been streaming PS3 Netflix using their required disc for most of a year. Is the app anything different in interface? Or is it just that I no longer need the disc kept in the PS3?

    We ditched Cable TV last December in favor of Netflix and an antenna.

  • Goes

    I did not need to put any credentials after installing the application. It just took me to my account, after being verified, I assume.
    The interface needs improvement though, as mentioned in a different post, you can no longer tell if the streaming will be HD or SD, you can not also see the dated the movie was produced in the quick look view when selecting the movie, and you get a drop down menu with some information, unlike the information when pointing a computer mouse.

  • Halex

    This APP is total crap. I like the disk version much more. The interface is plain stupid and lagging all the time.

  • Odd. My interface on PS3 looks nothing like these screen shots… I can’t even access a list of “genres” Have to scroll up and down a seemingly random list of film categories. Also, there is apparently no way to tell movies that have 5.1 or 1080p video. Only way I know is to start playing the movie then hit “select” and check info in top left.

  • Chris G

    Ok. I downloaded last night. I like some things and some others are a downgrade from the disc version.

    I like the 2 rows in my instant queue. I love the scroll button to move across the queue quickly. What I don’t love is that you can no longer wrap around your instant queue from back to start again.

    It is well done for the most part and I’m happy to now be able to keep grand turismo in the ps3 at all times instead of the streaming disc, but it is not perfect.

  • Packersfan21297

    terrible. mine wont even stream movies

    • Officemax82

      Might be your internet connection not the PS3

  • User

    Love the app, need more HD content. Oddly, the movies mentioned by this article and commenters are no longer avail fir streaming. e.g. Iron man, heat.

  • User

    Love the app, need more HD content. Oddly, the movies mentioned by this article and commenters are no longer avail fir streaming. e.g. Iron man, heat.