Hands On With Netflix Streaming For The Wii: It's Mostly Excellent

CHART OF THE DAY: Netflix Watch Instantly Streaming Video

Netflix customers can now watch Netflix’s instant streaming movies and TV shows on Nintendo’s Wii.

It’s nice, but not perfect. For example, to access the service, you need to still need to use a disc, which Netflix provided for free. And there are a few other quirks. But overall, it’s excellent.

And with the movie industry moving gradually toward streaming — and the Wii being the most popular video game console in the U.S., with about 30 million of them out there, it could be yet another boost for Netflix subscribership.

Of course, it won’t help if the Wii-Netflix experience blows. Luckily, that’s not the case.

Here are our impressions on Netflix on the Wii after playing around with it:

  • The navigation is annoying. Using the Wiimote isn’t a lot of fun to browse for something to watch. Flipping through the titles isn’t the most efficient way to find movies. We haven’t been able to find a search function, so we couldn’t just look for “The Office Season 1” to see if it’s on there.
  • The standard def isn’t a killer, but it sure is a blast from the past. After getting accustomed to high def, watching the movies and shows on Netflix are bit of a blast from the past. The darker colours, fuzzier edges, etc. remind us of watching shows taped on VHS. This is a Nintendo Will limitation; not Netflix’s. (Using component video cables could help, too.)
  • Overall, we’re happy with it. It’s much more convenient than plugging a laptop into the TV. And it provides another good reason not to own cable. It’s another nice entry point for Netflix’s streaming service.

Here’s a gallery of what Netflix on the Wii looks like >

Boom, the disc arrives and you get excited

It's just a Wii channel...let's not think about the last time we played Wii Fit, onto the movies!

Let's do this!

This is how you control the navigation. Looks easy, but it's sort of a pain in the butt.

Here's the basic navigation. Movie covers that flip across the screen.

If there's an option to view these as a list or some better way, we didn't see it.

Here's the menus that pull down from the top left.

In general, the screen didn't blank out or struggle to load. On the laptop, our browser regularly crashes when we fire up Netflix View Instantly.

When you find the movie you want, here's the screen you get. No option to watch a trailer or a tease to decide if it's for you.

Using the plus and minus buttons fast forward and rewind the movie. These worked very well in our experience.

Overall, we're happy to have this as an option, despite the flaws.

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