I'm a longtime subscriber to Netflix and when I recently bought a Wii machine (my second) I was excited to take advantage of the Netflix offer of watching movies through a Wii disc they provide. One of my few complaints about the Wii is that it does not play standard DVDs (at least not out of the box), and so this option through Netflix seemed like the next best thing. Turns out it's even better.
If you're already a Netflix subscriber, getting the Netflix disc is free - just request it from the Netflix website. I received mine within a few days and from there I simply popped it into the Wii like any game disc. It took a few minutes to connect and sync up with my Wii account, and from there I could browse my Instant queue or other movies and TV shows available for streaming.
UPDATE - The Netflix application is now available for download from the Wii store. Once you download the Netflix application (which is free of charge), there's no need for the disc at all. Simply open up the Wii channel and start watching. If you already have the disc, you don't even have to send it back.
The interface is easy to use and quickly becomes familiar - a natural fit for the Wii controls. You can add movies to your Instant queue or start watching immediately. Video quality of the streamed content is excellent - I noticed little difference from playing on a standard DVD. I did notice some compression on the audio, a slightly tinny quality to the sound, especially in scenes where the sound is particularly loud or dense. It's to be expected to have some loss - this content is streamed over the Internet, after all - but it's worth noting. It doesn't detract much from the experience in my estimation.
The interaction is simply seamless. If you have to stop a movie partway through, you can turn off the Wii and come back to it a day or a week later and it remembers right where you left off. If you're watching a multi-episode show, it remembers what episode was next. If you need to move back or forward, you can either click arrows or literally drag the playbar forward or back as needed. And once you're done, you can remove the movie from your queue. When you long into Netflix through your browser, you'll find that what you just watched is now waiting for a rating and anything you add online will show up in the queue on your Wii as well.
I love the idea of Netflix, and having movies available for streaming at no additional charge just takes it to the next level. I've downloaded Netflix Instant movies on my laptop as well, and while it worked just fine, this is an entirely improved experience. It's pretty simple - if you're on Netflix and you've got a Wii, you owe it to yourself to try this. I guarantee you'll find it worth it.
Just an update to my earlier review of Netflix on the Wii - now you can download an application that renders the Netflix Wii disc unnecessary. The app is free and the interface is roughly the same, without inserting a disc. They finally added a search feature, too, so you can now find anything you're looking for. Still a great service - we use it all the time. Frankly, its good enough that if Netflix ever gets their whole library available for streaming, it will probably render … more
The Wii has an “Internet Channel” from the main menu. Within this channel is a list of blocks used for access and browsing. Netflix will become one of those channels. One thing Wii users need to remember is that Netflix has a monthly subscription fee, so using the Netflix channel costs at least $8.99 per month, depending on the type of subscription service the user selected when signed up.
In the Wii Internet channel, the user can choose Netflix. In this window, a list of movies is shown. Click a movie and start watching on the big screen. This choice outweighs the small computer screen or laptop. Using a Wii for streaming movies also requires broadband access, which most viewers have. This option is definitely worth the Netflix fee and the cost of a new Wii gaming console.