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Netflix Streaming: PS3 vs Xbox 360

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netflix ps3 vs xbox 360 comparison

Now that the PS3 has the ability to stream content via the popular online rental service Netflix, there is one less bullet point for 360 fanboys to hold over PS3 owners’ heads. We at WingDamage.com love both consoles, and wanted to do a fair comparison of the Netflix service on each of them.

They each have their pros and cons, and we wanted to share those with you.

Both versions of Netflix start you off with the queue of streamable movies you have added. They are in the order you added them to the queue and can be much more easily setup when on your computer.

You can now add movies directly from the console interface via recently released lists, most popular by category, etc. To get the full catalog of streamable content, you will still need to go to the Netflix website, as the console interfaces are limited to these pre-chosen categories.

PS3

netflix-ps3-movielist

For reasons that the Netflix company can’t yet divulge, but which probably involve some sort of exclusivity deal, you need to get a physical disc to put in the PS3 while you use the streaming service. Getting the disc is extremely easy. All you do is login to your Netflix account and put in a request. I had mine within two days.

netflix-ps3-disc

When you boot up the PS3 version, you see your queue. Next to that is a list of other sections: your recently watched, recommended, and popular titles in various categories like “TV Shows”, “Action Movies”, etc.

I prefer the look of the interface on the PS3. The images are a lot bigger, showing off the cover art of each title. Hitting down on the remote will give you more information about the title, allow you to hit play, rate the title, etc.

netflix-ps3-movieinfo

Sorry for the Quality. Photos of the TV aren't the greatest.

My biggest qualm with the PS3 version is the browsing. You can hit the skip button on your remote to jump ahead several titles or over to skip one. However, holding down the over button (at least on the PS3 remote control) does not make it quickly scroll through the titles. You have to either go one by one or skip a bunch at a times.

It is a strange interface choice that I hope they will fix in an update.

Xbox 360

netflix-xbox-instantlist

The 360 version of Netflix streaming requires a small download to install the launcher. You must also have a Gold Account to run it. This is one area where the PS3 has the advantage, as no additional fee is required. The convenience of not having to swap discs is a pretty big selling point for a lot of people, and I’m sure most 360 players that are online have gold accounts by this point anyway.

I’m not a huge fan of the look on the Xbox version. The tiny preview images that overlap let you see more titles on the screen at once, but it just doesn’t look quite as good.

There are also fewer categories to search from beyond the queue you have added yourself. However, the navigation is set up better in that you can actually hold down left or right to quickly scroll through titles in addition to using the skip button to jump ahead in the list.

For some reason, every time you hit over it makes that generic 360 navigation “bong” noise though. I usually end up turning the volume way down on the TV or muting it while I search through titles because of this.

The Verdict

Either version of the Netflix Streaming service is worth having. They give nearly equal functionality, except for the minor differences mentioned above.

After using both of them, I do prefer the interface on the PS3. However, if you have Netflix already and either of the consoles, you have no excuse to not set them up for streaming.

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