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Summary:

Netflix started to send out a first shipment of Wii disks last week, making it possible to access its watch Instantly online video on demand offering on the gaming console. A few Netflix customers have already shared their first impressions, and the verdicts are mixed. There […]

Netflix started to send out a first shipment of Wii disks last week, making it possible to access its watch Instantly online video on demand offering on the gaming console. A few Netflix customers have already shared their first impressions, and the verdicts are mixed. There are complaints about the video quality, which is much lower than on other Watch Instantly platforms, but others are pretty happy with what’s possible.


Dave Zatz dug up this video review
of the service on YouTube that, albeit being a little slow and at times suffering from low video quality itself, shows off a lot of the functionality of Watch Instantly on the Wii. Marcus Penn, who shot the video with the help of his cell phone, appears a little underwhelmed by the video quality of the service, explaining that some titles looked much better on his Tivo’s Netflix client.

Newteevee reader Matt Hendry sent us his own take on the service, and he was much more forgiving: “(T)he experience is great overall and there was no buffering on my DSL connection like I get with my PC with Netflix and streaming shows on my old Xbox via XBMC,” he wrote, musing that Netflix must have done a lot to optimize streaming for the Wii. One should note that Wii streaming is done at a much lower bit rate that PC-based streams, which could explain some of the buffering as well.

Hendry did complain about the lack of volume control, and also took issue with the fact that there are no parental controls available for the service. We asked Netflix about this, and the company’s VP of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey got back to us, explaining that the company currently doesn’t have any direct parental control features for Watch Instantly, be it on the Wii or any other platforms.

What’s your take on Netflix on the Wii? Are you bothered by the lack of HD, or happy to finally have another way to access Watch Instantly? Let us know in the comments!

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Connected Consumer Quarterly Wrap-Up (subscription required)

  1. As someone who connects his laptop via HDMI to my TVs to watch on-line video, this would represent a major step-backwards.

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    1. Mitch Manor Tuesday, May 4, 2010

      “As someone who connects his laptop via HDMI to my TVs to watch on-line video, this would represent a major step-backwards.”

      Netflix doesn’t stream HD-content to PCs, so what difference would an HDMI cable make?

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  2. As someone who likes to read his articles without snarky comments from gramatically challenged egomaniacs, the previous comment would represent a major step backwards

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  3. If it’s not a feature for techie nerds, it’s just not worth doing. Thank you, Mike Wyman, for helping us see the light.

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  4. I agree with Mike in some respects (and shut up Piker you didn’t say anything good) that this is like offering us a hamburger when we already have steak. However, it’s cool to offer people another option, no matter if it’s subpar or not.

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  5. Find the PQ to be comparable to SD video delivered via DirecTv or Comcast On Demand services – i.e. anywhere from not as good as to almost as good as SD DVD. And honestly, I don’t see much difference at all in SD video btwn the Wii version or either 360/PS3′s version.

    The HDNet Hunter Thompson doc “Gonzo” (while only in 480p)looks about as good as a regular DVD. The Road Warrior looked more YouTube-ish, less DVD quality. Most TV eps looked fine. IF this is your only Netflix option.

    If I really HAVE to stream HD Netflix content, I have a PC & Mac that can both handle that. Or better yet, just wait for those Blu Ray discs they keep dumping in my mailbox (still better than any streamed/DL-ed HD content).

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    1. Thanks Jeff! Any idea why different shows would look better or worse?

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  6. Okay, folks, please keep it civilized!

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  7. Interesting Info on the GBATemp forums about the Wii Disk .

    http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=217241&st=15

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  8. DSL 3mps + Wii 480p Netflix + 720p TVs = really great quality. Widescreen newer movies looks like upscaled DVDs. No lag time. In fact, kids watched downstairs while I watched Spartacus B&S upstairs!
    Based on this experience and as long as Netflix keeps theirs servers fast, I have no need for ‘true’ HD. All you gaming fanboys can go fly a kite.

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  9. So far this is much more convenient than plugging the MacBook into the TV every time we want to watch content. We streamed a muppet movie to the TV over our Wii and the PQ was fabulous. The lag time between clicking a link in the Netflix browser and getting the next page to load is way longer than on any PC. Overall, for free, this is great. Cheers to Netflix for increasing the value of my $10/month subscription.

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    1. The convenience factor is what I’m interested in. I already connect my MacBook to my TV via HDMI to watch Netflix and, frankly, I’m getting a bit tired of it.

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      1. I’ve got to agree with Mike here – the convenience factor is huge for me. I have connected my MacBook Pro to the TV, but my overall setup is such that this can be a bit of a pain (and forget about getting my wife to do it when I’m not around and she wants to watch something from Netflix). The Wii is there and requires nothing more than making sure the right disc is in – and so far, the quality has been just fine.

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  10. I have a PS3, which has a similar feature, and I enjoy streaming Netflix from a gaming console as a opposed to attaching my laptop to my TV.

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