November 23, 2008 // 2:08 am
- At the risk of sounding like a forum troll, I have to say, I'm not too impressed with the implementation of Netflix on Xbox 360.
The service, which is available to Xbox Live and Netflix -subscribers, allows you to stream movies to your TV via your Xbox 360, and on paper, it sounds ingenious.
Indeed, that's why I -- along with many others -- was so excited when Microsoft announced this forthcoming feature way back at E3 in July. Unfortunately, Netflix for Xbox Live users is now here, and it's not all it was cracked up to be.
For starters, the selection of streamable movies is lackluster. Netflix users who have used the service's "Instantly Watch" section know that there aren't an incredible variety of movies to pick from. There are few new releases available. Instead, the selection is composed mainly of films like Mission to Mars, The Abyss, Superman: The Movie, Batman Forever and Scarface.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with these movies. Some of them are actually great films. But I've already seen many of them, and I was more excited about watching new releases. Moreover, as an HDTV owner, I'm disappointed by the scarcity of good high-def content provided by Netflix.
The other issue lies in the interface. Instead of being able to browse Netflix's collection on your HDTV with your Xbox 360 controller in hand, you have to manage your Netflix Queue via your computer. It's a minimalist setup that nearly feels like a hackjob. The whole thing could have been designed so much better, ideally allowing users to browse Netflix without having to go to their PC to Queue-up whatever they want to watch.
Netflix's presence on Xbox 360 isn't a total disaster, though. Its selection of TV shows, like The Office and Heroes, is better than its movie half. Furthermore, there's a lot of potential here. No doubt, the underwhelming collection of movies is due in part to legal and licensing constraints.
I expect -- or at least hope -- that in the coming months, the selection will steadily improve. If that's the case, maybe we'll have the Netflix integration on Xbox 360 that I had dreamt of not too far down the road. But for now, I'm not impressed.