Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Netflix on PS3: It’s About Time

by Eric Stewart on Nov.08, 2009, under Technology, The Internet

Something I’ve been waiting and hoping for for some time is to be able to access Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” catalog on my PS3.  Well, it’s happened.

You have to order a free disc from Netflix (it doesn’t count against your other discs and you aren’t supposed to return it), and of course your PS3 has to have access to the Internet.

A lot of the articles I read about this poo-pooed the requirement that you have to use this disc any time you wanted to watch video from “Watch Instantly”.  This to me isn’t a big deal (as watching BlueRay movies tends to require putting a new disc in the drive, and this is like one disc that gets me access to 100s of videos), and there were suggestions that that requirement would be waived in future updates to the PS3 OS.

It does make it a lot easier to watch what you want to watch via “Watch Instantly” if you’ve already set up your WI queue from a web browser on a regular computer.  At this time, there’s very little lag time between changes on a laptop to them showing up on your PS3.

Quality on Verizon’s FiOS using the FiOS wireless router was as best as could be expected: The video (in the small segments of a couple of movies I watched) appeared to be DVD quality on my HD screen.  Here’s the kicker, for those of you who aren’t as technically savvy as I am: This quality is going to be heavily dependent on the quality of your internet service provider and their feed to your neighborhood.  Older installs of say, cable based systems, particularly if everyone in the neighborhood is using it, might see some degradation of the video quality.  Dare I say it?  You might even see some momentary “rebuffering” freezes in the video you’re watching.

For best quality, if at all possible, I would suggest having your PS3 using a wired Ethernet connection to your router.  Wireless (particularly if your system is G capable) should be (and in my quick tests, was) fast enough, but you can eliminate issues with interference or distance issues if you’re using a wired connection.  And of course, if you’re downloading large files on other computers, it’s conceivable that those activities will impact your Netflix video stream quality.

So, eventually I’ll get around to watching Primer, and we’ll see how it goes.  My girlfriend is often playing on SecondLife when we watch movies, so it will be a good test to see if SL gets worse than usual (she doesn’t have the best laptop) or if her SL impacts the stream from Netflix.

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