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Netflix 2.0 on Xbox LIVE

Netflix seems to be updating its interface on the new Xbox LIVE update coming tomorrow. Why I think this is significant is that it finally adds the ability to browse titles and add them to your queue sans PC… Currently, you have to leave the Xbox 360, pull up your desktop/laptop and add new titles to your queue. The Netflix interface on all current BD players, televisions and the Xbox 360 only allow you to watch the current queue. This change marks the next big step for Netflix. Now I’d like to look forward to some more improvements:

Additional Content from More Studios
Now that Netflix has penetrated the top four television manufacturers, it is becoming much more attractive for studios to add content to this incredible distribution model. I, for one, would even welcome intro commercials in order to gain more “free” content.

Surround Sound Audio
It’s past time for Netflix to add, at the very least, surround sound to its streaming movies. Dolby Digital tracks are available for all content currently in Netflix’ Watch Now library, they simply haven’t included this encoded content in the stream. Whatever technical hurdles exist, this is one area that Netflix absolutely needs to leapfrog before it truly dominates other set-top box streaming content in this arena.

Additional High Definition Content
It’s an HD world. If Netflix truly wants to dominate the living room it will have to increase the amount of HD content such that it is the dominant standard for all streaming shows. At present, HD makes up a very small percentage of the total available streaming content.

I’ll be excited to check out the Xbox LIVE interface tomorrow to see how well it performs. Of all the changes promised, this is the one that affects my viewing habits the most.

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  1. Andy S
    August 10th, 2009 at 13:11 | #1

    I’m in the preview, and while it’s an incremental step on queue management, MS decided in their Apple-like wisdom that they know better what you want than you do, so they limit your browsing to only the top 50 titles in each category. There is no search feature.

    http://www.joystiq.com/2009/08/04/microsoft-you-want-form-over-function-with-xbox-netflix-us/

    “I think when people come to Xbox they’re not really looking so much for functional, they really want to have fun, they want to be wowed.”

    Facepalm.

    I assume they think searching is clunky on the controller, which I can agree with. However, it still should be an option. Heck, they should just use it as a marketing tool for the chatpad they already sell.

    I agree on all of your needed improvements, but I’ll add searchability from the interface to that.

  2. bbf
    August 10th, 2009 at 18:20 | #2

    I’ve been using the new interface as well as one of the beta users and although it is limited like Andy S says, I’m not as negative about it as he is. Search would be nice, but the way it has been improved is a vast improvement over not being able to add anything at all throught the 360 interface. I would much rather have this interface now, then wait for MS to figure out how to get title search to work well for most users.

  3. Andy S
    August 10th, 2009 at 23:39 | #3

    Oh, I’m not completely negative on it. It’s not bad, I was just irritated with a half way solution. It’s an upgrade, but that MS quote was typical.

    However, I just read another piece where it sounds like the problem is more than the Xbox platform currently doesn’t handle searching very well. That might be the root cause of them limiting search for Netflix.

  4. August 13th, 2009 at 09:31 | #4

    Tried it last night. I agree with bbf – it’s pretty good. I don’t mind the lack of search but I’d like to see maybe some sort of user defined categories rather than scrolling through. Still, I can’t wait to try out the party function.

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