Netflix + Xbox = Awesomeness

Date Fri, January 16 2009

A very informal review for you folks. Netflix and Xbox recently joined teams so that Netflix subscribers who also own an Xbox (and are connected to Xbox Live) can watch videos form their TV. Now, this is a really useful service for me – it works in conjunction with the “Watch Instantly” feature which allowed Netflix users to watch unlimited amounts of streaming content on their computer, instantly. Because the software never worked on my computer, I was never able to use it. Now that it is available on the Xbox system.

I like this set up because it’s easy to use. Even I can navigate to the Netflix option in Xbox Live which gives you a code and URL to initially set up the account. If any of the titles in your queue are available to watch instantly, they will show up on the Xbox. Netflix shows how easy the steps are on their site:

Already have an Xbox?

To watch instantly on your Xbox, you need the following:

  • A high speed Internet connection
  • An Xbox Gold LIVE membership
  • A Netflix unlimited plan

If you have these, go to your Xbox menu, download and install the Netflix application from within the Video Marketplace, then go to activate your device. It’s that simple.

There have been a few complaints about availability of titles to which I must say STFU. Because this is available to Netflix users and the Watch Instantly program has been going on a while, we all know that not every title is available. No news there. However, Netflix is constantly adding titles. When we first set up my Netflix account with the Xbox, I was not able to watch Dumb and Dumber but, about a week later, it was released. While not every title is available, it’s only a matter of time before the movie or show you really want to see is!

Lastly, this is a much better bargain than downloading anything from the Xbox Live Marketplace with Microsoft Points. Since I was already paying for Netflix, I have not had to spend any extra money for this service. You can easily spend $1.50 or more on anything flick in the Xbox Live Marketplace because the conversion isn’t very clean. I did a random sampling of some TV shows on the Marketplace and the average price is over $2.00. My Netflix plan is about $17/month with unlimited Watch Instantly. Spending that same amount of money in the Xbox Live Marketplace will grant you, on average, less than 8 flicks. With Netflix, I get unlimited DVD mailings and instant clips.

Price aside, it’s great to be able to watch on the TV, too. Netflix is compatible with a new wave of Netflix-ready devices, including more than just the Xbox 360. I’ve always had problems with my monitor settings when it comes to watching videos and being able to watch on an actual television is definitely a much better option. In my experience, the sound and picture quality was fine; I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a DVD but I am not obsessive about that. There was no glitching or lagging and I really enjoyed the service.

If you are an Xbox Live Gold and Netflix subscriber, there is absolutely no reason not to use this service. If you currently purchase video downloads from the Xbox Live Marketplace, I would highly advise stopping and investing your money in a Netflix account instead.

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