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Netflix on PS3
PlayStation 3 owners can now watch Netflix movies with their PS3, thanks to a new service from Netflix. You have to be a Netflix subscriber, but there’s no other obligation or extra fee. In this article, I’ll describe how it works, what you need to do, and how well it performs. If you have a PS3 and subscribe to Netflix, you really should get in on this.
Prior to Netflix enabling this service, I was seriously considering buying either an expensive Blu-ray player with Netflix support or getting one of those Roku set top boxes in order to watch streaming Netflix movies on my television. I even debated buying an Xbox 360, but my wife shot that one down pretty quick since I already own a PS3 and a Wii. Since Netflix has expanded streaming support to the PS3, what they’ve done is helped to make the PlayStation 3 the ultimate multimedia home theater system.
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How it Works
Originally, the way this system worked was that Netflix would sends you a disc that you must have in the PS3 in order to watch movies. When you first inserted the disc and played it like a movie, it will pop up with a code. You must then visit Netflix.com/PS3 and enter that code, then it registers your PS3 with your Netflix account. From there, it takes a minute or two for things to sync up. It’s a one-time setup and that’s it. The only stipulation was that you had to have the disc in the drive to play movies.
You can now watch Netflix movies on a PS3 without needing the disc. Just browse to the video section on your PS3 and you'll see the Netflix listing. It's a quick 18 megabyte download that installs a local copy of the Netflix software, then you can start watching your movies. I love not having to take my game discs out any more.
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Once your system has been setup, you can browse through hundreds of movies and TV shows via a simple menu system. It looks different than what you see in your web browser, and it does not have the pop-up info screens. Instead, you get the box cover and title of the movie, then you have to click on the name to get more info. If it’s a TV series you want to watch, you can select individual episodes, which is nice. If you have ‘instant viewing’ movies in your queue, you can access them here, or just openly browse by category.You can even search my title with the new download version, which is something you couldn't do before with the disc-based version.
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Performance and Picture Quality
My PS3 is connected via a wireless internet connection, and sometimes I think it could be better, but it works well enough for online gaming. I did notice that it took a good minute or so for all the movie box images to show up while I was browsing the online selection, but it seemed to get better as I went along. It could just be that a lot of people are trying out this new system at once and Netflix’s servers are handling a lot of traffic.
I tested a couple of movies and a TV show and was pretty impressed with the results. The sound only came through in stereo, but that’s just what you get on a PC and is not a big deal. The overall image quality is good, and I would compare it to watching a non-upscaled DVD on a HDTV. There is some pixelation of small items on screen and that makes for a few jagged edges in details, but you get the same thing while watching on a PC. The TV show (The Office) said that it was in HD, but the picture quality certainly didn’t look it. I think my connection speed failed the HD test and it reverted back to standard definition.
Basically, the picture quality is just the same as it is on a PC.
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The Future of Home Entertainment
Sure, the movies aren’t crystal clear Blu-ray quality, but I am willing to forgive a lot considering that it is streaming over the Internet. This is the future of all home entertainment, whether you realize it or not, and I am really excited to be in on this early phase of it all. On-demand movies and TV are going to be the next big thing, and I applaud Netflix for their effort to provide their customers with this excellent new feature, especially when there is no additional charge.
For more information, visit Netflix.com.
- Images courtesy of Netflix.com.
- Author's personal experience with Netflix on a PS3.