Netflix on PS3: Disc-Free Instant Streaming's Pros and Cons
Besides having one less disc cluttering your console, the new Netflix boasts high-def streaming capacities (at 1080p, for geeks) and a new, streamlined interface. Gone are the days of the enhanced scrolling dock -- now the layout is a nice, organized grid that lands the user on their Instant Queue. From there, pressing "square" gets you a list of personalized categories (your author apparently enjoys "Witty Sci-Fi" and "Action Movies with Strong Female Leads"), and "triangle" nets a traditional, alphabetical search. The D-pad now has a larger function -- hitting "down" expands personal choices and categories, while "left" and "right" act as a select and back button, respectively.
Not being able to filter HD movies isn't the only issue in the new system: the world of disc-less watching is great, but it still takes a while for the Web Queue and the PS3 Queue to match up. For instance, adding something on your Queue using the computer may not appear on your console (but if you remember the movie, you can still search for the title). For some reason, each genre only hosts 75 movies to browse through, though there are way more options. If you have a movie in mind, direct search is the best option: it's a shot in the dark to see if your preferred title is even featured in a genre. Adding stuff to our instant Queue, as mentioned earlier, was very simple; deleting, however, was not. The interface got totally confused, refusing to update the grid and leaving the titles for each selection frustratingly wrong and the old titles still in tact. Lastly, we can't see any reason why top-rated comments don't appear with movies, as nothing is more time-consuming than having to pull out the computer to get any feedback on what you are about to watch.
Overall, the Netflix experience on the PS3 is vastly improved, though still has hiccups and difficulty linking between Netflix.com and your device. We'd love to see a Netflix as robust on the PS3 as it is on the Web, and we are certain one day it'll get there. For the time being, we are glad to chuck another disc and continue to stream the dream.