Netflix Mac Streaming Mini Review

I’m not going to do a huge write-up on the newly added Netflix Streaming for Mac feature since you can read a million other in-depth reviews on how Netflix streaming fairs against other services of the same sort. This is just a brief summary of what I encountered when finally getting to use this feature on my MacBook Pro.

Netflix announced, last week, that they were brining their streaming movie/tv library to Apple computers, which is great news for me since I haven’t had a PC capable of streaming anything in years. For the record I have a Macbook Pro, Core2Duo 2.2ghz, 4gb ram, etc etc… so it’s fairly powerful. My only complaint about it is that it runs a little sluggish since I installed Leopard on top of Tiger, meaning I didn’t wipe the computer and do a clean install (I may break down and do that soon). So I fired up Netflix after hearing that Mac streaming was available only to find that it apparently isn’t available to everyone yet.

After doing a little searching I found that there is a beta program and in order to get accepted all you have to do is click a button. So I was accepted and ready to start streaming the thousands of videos and TV shows that Netflix offers… well, not quite yet. I had to dowload the latest version of Microsofts Silverlight, which is what Netflix uses to stream the movies. No big deal, the download took about a minute and installed quickly. Now time to stream movies.

It’s extremely easy to stream movies, just find the movie you want to watch, whether it’s in your queue or not, press “Play” instead of “Add to Queue” and the movie starts playing. The first movie I tried streaming was Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic (it was at the bottom of the queue), and it looked pretty good. I blew it up to full screen and it reminded me of watching a non-upconverted DVD on my 56″ HDTV, meaning it wasn’t the greatest quality, but definitely watchable without a problem. Next up was a TV show whose title escapes me at the moment, but the quality of this one was sub-par, barely watchable. I didn’t leave it on the screen long enough to see if it cleared up or if it was my internet connection (which it very well could have been), but it was riddled with artifacts and almost too blocky to watch. On to The Office (UK), this one was just as good as the Sarah Silverman one, no problems, very watchable.

So after only testing 3 streams it seems as though most of the video is pretty watchable if you don’t want to wait for the DVD to come in the mail. I would get a cable to hook my computer up to the TV because I hate watching movies on my laptop, but the Xbox update this month will take care of that for me. But I’m looking forward to being able to watch some of the older movies on my queue while waiting for Netflix to ship me Blu-rays. And I’m especially looking forward to the Xbox 360 update this month so I can start streaming HD movies!