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The story

Netflix, the hugely popular US movie and TV streaming service took longer than the QE2 to cross the Atlantic, but when it did, it brought a catalogue of movies to stream on smartphones and tablets for a subscription charge, as well as a collection of homegrown shows including Top Gear, The Inbetweeners and, er, The Only Way Is Essex.

The experience

The Netflix Android app lets users get unlimited streaming for a monthly subscription charge – which means streaming movies as often as you like, queuing up for future viewing and even accessing from multiple devices. Navigation is pretty straightforward – you can browse by genre or by a search box if you have a more specific request. (One comment we’d make is that the Netflix catalogue has to expand significantly if this service is to succeed – we found that many favourites and current films were sadly missing). There’s also the option to resume half-watched titles from stop position (this works cross-device) or tap up your queue of titles. You can also, inevitably, share your viewing habits with the world via a Facebook hook-up and rate your titles for smarter recommendations. To get the best out of Netflix on your smartphone or tablet, however, you’re going to have to find yourself a stable Wifi connection. The picture quality will degrade to ensure seamless playback, so if you’re in a 3G area with intermittent strengths, you might think you’re watching CCTV footage from Crimewatch. When you are in a bandwidth sweetspot, however, you’ll find that the playback is silky-smooth and that the (albeit limited) HD content is well-rendered. [Not a valid template]

The bottom line

Although choice could be wider and picture quality is variable depending on your connection, this points to a brave new world of movie consumption – services like this could eventually spell the end for DVDs.

User reviews

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28th Feb 2012

Unlimited movies and shows for a monthly fee


the good

  • » Thousands of movies and shows in your pocket
  • » Easy search, select and share

the bad

  • » Choice could be wider
  • » Picture quality very variable
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