First Impressions of Netflix Wii Video Streaming

Dave Zatz —  March 29, 2010

Marcus Penn took his brand spanking new Netflix Instant Streaming disc for a spin on the Wii.

As a Blu-ray owner, he doesn’t appear entirely satisfied with the video quality. However, even though the Wii is only capable of standard def resolutions, using component cables (480p) should provide a nicer experience than running over composite (480i). Unlike the PS3 and Xbox 360, I don’t believe there’s a television-esque remote available for the Wii. Yet Netflix (or was it Nintendo?) nicely integrates the Wii’s motion controller into the experience… Watch Marcus slide his queue around. (Of course, the directional pad can also be used for more traditional control. Which may be more efficient. For adults.) Unlike TiVo and Roku, but like the 360, the Netflix Wii experience enables genre-based browsing of content beyond your queue.

All in all, this seems like a decent upgrade for dual Wii/Netflix customers the low, low price of zero dollars.

12 responses to First Impressions of Netflix Wii Video Streaming

  1. Hey that’s pretty cool for Wii owners that don’t have another HD netflix source available.

    I’m always surprised how smooth and intuitive the UI is on Wii content, and this 3rd party Netflix app is no different. Considering the Wii doesn’t have the horsepower to fling HD graphics around like a 360 or PS3, it sure does a great job at maintaining a quickness and fluidness. Goes to show you that set top box manufacturers don’t need to make chipsets on the caliber of 360’s or the PS3’s cell processor. They should take a lesson from Nintendo, who can at least develop a solid performing box for an affordable cost.

    Interesting how smooth the Wii plays video, but yet they choose not to include a DVD player app with the Wii. You have to hack the wii for that… not that it really matters anymore anyway.

  2. Having played with Netflix on the Wii on Friday, I was surprised by how intuitive it is. The video quality isn’t that bad either over component cables (DVD quality).

    That said it doesn’t do HD so I won’t be using the Wii for Netflix. Actually I don’t really use the Wii for anything these days. I originally wasn’t going to request the Wii Netflix disk, but I can’t pass up free things. :)

  3. My Wii is now hooked to the old second TV in the bedroom. It’s perfect for this. I can lay in bed and browse all of the different categories. I love it!

    When is TivoHD going to create a Netflix app that does this??

  4. Glad y’all liked the video. The last few seconds got cut off, but it wasn’t anything too important so i wasn’t going to go back and record it all over again.

    My only remaining question: is the account auth tied to the disc or to the Wii? Example: I take my disc to a buddy’s house and throw it in his Wii. Do I have to add yet another auth to my Netflix account? It isn’t hard nor a big deal, just curious.

  5. I’m pretty sure it’s tied to your Wii. And IIRC, you can only have 5 devices “Authorized” during any one year. So be careful with how many devices / computers you activate.

  6. The disk not tied to your Wii or Netflix account the Disk contacts the Netflix servers and then creates a game-save file and generates a code that you use to activate the device .You can have up to 6 devices tied to an account including your PCs.

    People with modded Wii’s are loading the scrubbed image on USB loaders and you can download the netflix .iso via bittorent and burn a disk .

    http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=217241&st=15

  7. FYI – Roku is currently beta testing an update UI that allows genre-based browsing of content beyond your queue.

  8. I find it to be pretty odd that so much of the video review and comment base has to do with complaints about Nintendo Wii’s handling of HD content. Let’s all consider the fact that……. news flash:

    Netflix doesn’t stream HD on its “Watch Instantly” portal.

    And that’s regardless of the hardware it’s being played on, so everybody let’s settle down. The difference in video quality between Sony PS3 Netflix streaming and Wii Netflix streaming is so small I’d have to consider it to be negligible. Wii’s component cable is more than capable of handling the video coming from Netflix’s “Watch Instantly”, and that’s what we’re talking about here.

    Let’s also not mince words here. How Wii’s Netflix streaming service measures up to a TiVO is irrelevant because the two are entirely different. One is a device and the other is a service, so you might as well be comparing Wii Netflix to an iPhone or a VCR while you’re at it. In fact, only four (4) things are necessary to this review, and amazingly, none of them were mentioned so I’ll mention them here:

    #1) The whole idea behind Netflix streaming (and perhaps one of the reasons BluRay is not doing as well as predicted) is the fact that many of us believe that entertainment that’s not in HD is just fine, and may even prefer streaming as it’s convenient and commercial-free.

    #2) Microsoft Xbox 360 users require an Xbox Gold Membership to stream Netflix movies. This is $8/month, but can be reduced respectively if a user agrees contractually to 3, 6 months, or a year of service in advance. This, of course, is so long as they have a Netflix account.

    #3) Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii offer Netflix streaming for free so long as they have a Netflix account.

    #4) Sony’s PS3 and Nintendo Wii require users to have a “Netflix Instant Streaming Disc” inserted while movies are being streamed.

    So here’s the skinny: if you have an Xbox with HD hookups, a high definition television, a T1 connection, and a Gold Membership because you play games online anyway, then there’s no real issue here. Enjoy watching streamed movies on your Xbox without the back-breaking chore of inserting the Netflix disc, and if you’re the kind of Joe with bionic eyes that can spot minute differences in negligible bit rate quality then consider yourself blessed to have pampered yourself with the very best.

    For the rest of us, Netflix on the Wii is no different than it is anywhere else. The quality is just about the same, and inserting the Netflix disc is no more difficult than inserting the discs for store-bought games. Also, if you’re like me and you had Xbox Gold for the sole purpose of streaming Netflix movies, then enjoy some extra money in your pocket! Let’s not complain about free things anymore.

    -J

  9. The Netflix HD versus SD streaming difference in quality is much more than negligible. Otherwise, to each their own. I agree it’s a nice (free) perk.

  10. It takes FOREVER for me to stream in a show or movie, then once it gets to a certain point it has so stream some more. What am I doing wrong?

  11. about not being able to stream in HD…..THATS A LIE!!! I was steaming in HD on the 360 (netflix actually has a HD instant section).

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