I’ve recently taken a free trial from Netflix UK with the intention of evaluating it as a replacement for Sky Movies. In this review, I note whether it is a capable replacement for Sky Movies. This review focuses on Netflix UK (because that’s where I am). I have no experience and cannot comment on Netflix US.
I have a couple of devices I can play Netflix on, but last night I chose to try it on my Wii console (because I couldn’t be bothered to connect my laptop to the TV). I am thinking it is time to shift my TV to Virgin Media (due to my flaky Sky+HD box) and VM want a wallet busting £30 per month for the Sky Movies Collection.
If new movies are what you are looking for, then Netflix UK isn’t (currently) for you. But if you are happy with a classic, good movie, then Netflix UK might well deliver what you are looking for. The wife and I chose “Top Gun” – ok, so its old, but it also has a good mix of slushy valentines feel-good romance with a bit of pure missile-firing gun-toting F14-flying action with a great 80′s sound track!
Sure, perhaps the selection of movies on Sky are a bit more modern, but lets face it, if a NEW movie is what you are looking for then Sky Movies probably isn’t right either – you have to use Sky Box Office or rent a DVD/Blu-ray from Blockbuster (both of which cost). Netflix UK comes in at £5.99 per month which is far more palatable than £30.
On to the experience. The movie loaded very quickly indeed and over my 30Mb Virgin Media broadband connection, there was zero buffering. Picture quality was, I would say, near DVD and looked great on my 42″ plasma. The only problem with playing it through the Wii was the lack of a proper surround sound track, but since Top Gun is a film of the 80′s and “Dolby Stereo in selected theatres”, a 5.1 surround sound experience probably wasn’t an option anyway. The Wii also limits the picture to a Standard Definition one – not Netflix UK’s fault though.
Overall, we were very happy with the experience. Browsing through the list of (maybe) 300 odd titles available on Netflix UK it is clear there are loads of movies I want to watch (either for the first time or again) so the lack of bang up to date new movies doesn’t bother me that much. I would prefer to be able to send a higher quality picture and surround sound to my TV/amp and to do that I will need to connect my laptop or buy a dedicated home theatre streaming computer/device. Neither of which is Netflix UK’s fault. Bottom line, for casual watching, the Wii easily met the requirement – the Wife knows how to switch it on and load Netflix without having to connect the laptop to the TV and this may well drive more usage – particularly as she found three series of The Only Way is Essex and if she wants to watch that, its going to be without me in the room!