While it was no secret that Sony and Netflix have been toying around with a native, hard drive based app for quite some time, the best the PS3 contingent could hope for in their Netflix experience since the Netflix disc was initially sent out late last year was a net gain in time: that using the clunky interface from the Netflix disc took less time than watching the desired video. That didn’t always happen.
As of next week though, that’s (mercifully) no longer the case.
As originally revealed by Eric Lempel, VP of Network Operations, on the PlayStation Blog, starting Monday, October 18, PlayStation 3 users can watch all of the Netflix Instant content without use of a disc. See the announcement video here:
As can be readily seen from the video, the entire UI has been redesigned and optimized, making the user experience significantly better by a wide margin. It seems to take a cue from PS3’s horizontal Xross Media Bar navigation in that the menu hierarchy populates to the right as selections are made.
The update also brings 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and 1080p playback (note: the video states 1080i playback, but this was later corrected in the PS Blog post.)
From what can be seen in this preview video, it seems to jump far beyond the capability of the current Xbox 360 Netflix experience, particularly in terms of search (in that it has one.) However, I admit to being partial to the NUI-optimized setup of the Netflix app that was released to the preview bunch; we’ll see how everything stacks up when the app is officially launched next Monday.
Oh, and the best part? It’s free. For all PlayStation users. I officially have no need for PlayStation Plus. (Well, until I bit the bullet on Hulu Plus, anyway.)