Netflix, Inc. released their first iPhone OS app that allows users to access their Netflix accounts and stream content directly to their iPad. The Netflix for iPad app was the first thing I downloaded to my freshly unboxed iPad. The very thought of streaming movies and TV shows from my Netflix queue filled me with such anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed.
Show details in the iPad Netflix app.
After installing, I just put in my Netflix account info and had immediate access to everything I can access via the website. In fact, on the surface, the app appears to be just a duplication of the site. You can search for content, browse by category, check your account, and view and manage your queues. With the exception of some jumpiness while navigating, the experience was familiar. The interface also seems like it was enlarged slightly from the website, which looks blurry, especially compared to the crisp graphics elsewhere on the iPad.
Where the app really hooked me was when I accessed my instant queue, hit “Play,” and was streaming one of my TV show episodes from the comfort of my local coffee shop! The video started within about 5 seconds and looked decent — not any worse than the quality I get at home. Once the video was playing, I was able to scrub backward and even forward. The app supports the iPad video interface, so dragging downwards while scrubbing adjusts the scrubbing speed for quick jumps or precise playhead adjustments.
Viewing your Netflix queue.
Choosing a television series title in the instant queue list seemed to randomly pick an episode, but after testing several series, it seems to pick up on the last episode watched (on any device) at the last watched spot. To choose a specific episode, tap the title, then “More Details” from the popup. All the individual discs and episodes are listed on the details page.
The Bottom Line
So far, the Netflix app delivers what it promises. After only two days of playing with it, the one feature I’d like to see is more oncreen information while the video is playing. It would be great to see what video is playing, especially when watching a TV series, and having a synopsis displayed would also be handy. As long as public networks can keep up with the demand, Netflix on the iPad will be my friend for some time to come.