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Summary:

The Instant Queue used to be the only way to watch videos from Netflix growing online catalog, but devices like the Xbox, the PS3, the Wii and Roku all have added search and catalog browsing in recent month – and the days of the Queue are numbered.

netflix instant queue

Good-bye, Instant Queue, we hardly used ya: Netflix is working on other ways to bookmark and display favorite movies as part of its online video offering and could eventually retire its current Instant Queue model, according to comments made by the company’s chief product officer Neil Hunt over the holiday weekend.

Hunt wrote last week on Quora:

“The queue is optimized to DVD shipping, and we think its a poor vehicle to remember interesting content to stream. We are planning a round of exploration of simpler, more natural “remember” functionality.”

Netflix has been using its Instant Queue ever since it started its Watch Instantly offering in January 2007. Users can add movies to the Queue through the website much in the same way they control the list of titles they’re requesting for rental on DVD.

The Instant Queue also used to be the only way to watch Netflix videos on many devices, but most platforms have switched to a more universal approach in recent months, offering users the ability to browse the entire Netflix catalog as well as search for specific titles. (Check out a video comparing Netflix UIs on different devices below.)

However, there is still a number of legacy devices that depend on the more simplified Instant Queue approach, so we shouldn’t expect it to completely disappear overnight. It’s also unclear yet what exactly Netflix wants to use to replace the Queue. Again, Hunt:

“Can we find a solution that increases utility, or does the pure “click-and-watch” interface win for the majority of users?”

What’s your take? Should Netflix get rid of the Instant Queue completely, or does it need a more flexible solution to mark movies and TV show episodes for later viewing? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. I personally use the Instant Queue but I have to admit that I find it a little less than ideal for keeping track of TV shows that I tend to focus on. Since I watch them through my Blu-Ray player I’m assuming that any change will require some firmware update to take advantage of that but I’m definitely in the camp that it could be a great move… as long as I can finally browse all the titles from that interface like I can with Amazon On Demand.

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  2. i use instant streaming alot,i would hate to see that go away,i think a more flexible solution would be good,or something in between what they have now and something new

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  3. Netflix in Canada does not have an instant queue. I’ve never used Netflix with it. In my experience it needs something to bookmark videos and TV shows for watching later. I often stumble across a movie that I want to see, but not right now. By the next time I sit down I have forgotten what the movie was and it drives me crazy.

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    1. I bet you lose your keys a lot, too, LOL!!

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    2. They either need to add the Instant Queue feature to the Canadian Netflix or hurry up with their “new solution”.

      Having no way to bookmark content to watch later makes the service almost unusable.

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    3. I think this is the most annoying aspect about Netflix in Canada.

      I don’t have time to browse through the whole library every time I feel like watching a movie. When I do, I see a bunch of movie I’d love to see, but then I forget about them. I could jot them down somewhere to remember, but I shouldn’t have to. It’s kind of lame we don’t have this feature yet.

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  4. Worst idea EVER. Honestly, do they actually ask customers how they use this? I use Instant Queue to sort out what’s safe content for the kids, so they can pick something to watch if I’m not immediately available. There are use cases for the Instant Queue beyond what order to ship physical media in, and maybe it would behoove Netflix to ask customers who ARE using it on streaming only accounts how and why they are using it.

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    1. Cyndy, NF has always done what is the worst for the customer and best for the bottom line. Haven’t you been paying attention? They will continue to give us less while charging us more.

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  5. Instant queue is a throwback. Netflix is leading the way. If they have a better vehicle for streaming access, I’ll try it.

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  6. I actually like Instant Queue. Searching requires me to know what I want to watch. Browsing requires time. Instant Queue sites between those extremes.

    I use it as a shelf. I tend to watch a lot of foreign movies and TV series and I can’t always remember which ones I’ve seen, where I’ve left off or how to spell some titles. Instant Queue allows me to do that.

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  7. As an avid user of Netflix Instant Queue, I have to agree with Neil Hunt. I think it is awkward and could do with smoother interface.

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  8. I use both the DVD Queue and The Instant Queue all the time,its really the easiest way to save titles for later viewing when I am browsing the different movie categories ,for me its a really bad idea to simply eliminate this feature.

    I used the friends features and Top 10 lists also.
    It would seem that Netflix does not care about what certain groups within their customer base think. Like mainly the ones who can think well enough to actually use the features which they offer!
    The large majority,(it appears),barely know how to turn the computer on,let alone use available functionality.

    I vote for keeping the Instant Queue!

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  9. yup instant queue is now gone i got on xbox live and no instant queue. checked online and there is only a dvd queue i for one used it and will miss that feature

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    1. I still see it on the website, but that Xbox UI is a disaster. Half the images are missing; the “Likes” are kludgy, and the whole thing is a mess. Even my kids can’t figure out how to find their stuff, which I consider the true test of a UI fail. They can ALWAYS figure stuff out faster than I can.

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  10. The original poster is a dumb ass the’re trying to get rid of the dvd queue and mailing dvds to people by mail. They want more people to stream there content instead of using a physical disc.
    By 2015-2016 they hope to get rid of the feature of having to ship people discs. They even offer a discounted plan for people that have a instant streaming account, instead of a account where you get dvds shipped to you.

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