A few weeks ago I decided to try out Netflix’s Watch Instantly service by watching Stan Lee’s Lightspeed, the made-for-TV movie about a government agent turned super-speedster. It’s been on my queue for a while, and I figured I’d free up the slot for something else.
Ultimately, I was really impressed — with the service. The image and sound were very clear, and the movement smooth, even with the window playing fullscreen. I don’t think I noticed a single glitch through the entire 90 minutes. I am annoyed that it’s both Windows-only and and Internet Explorer–only, which is why it’s taken so long to try it out…but aside from that, the only thing I really missed was fine control over fast-forward and rewind.
I kind of expected it to open in a separate window, rather than in the browser, but there’s a button to make it full screen, and it automatically adjusts the video size to fit the window.
The movie itself? Not so much. It was cheesy and — worse — dull. I took a break halfway through and wasn’t sure I really cared about coming back to finish it. Heatstroke was better — and I mean that. I’ve posted a review of Lightspeed over at my Flash blog, Speed Force.
I’ve since watched one more movie through the service, The Evil Dead, which wasn’t quite as good in terms of picture quality. It was blurrier, and compression artifacts were very noticeable in darker scenes. I expect a lot of that is just due to the age of the film: it was done in 1981, and who knows when the digital transfer was made. Plus of course 90% of the movie takes place at night.
I think they’re beta-ing a Mac option based on Silverlight… probably no Linux yet though. 🙁
I’ve been considering getting one of the set-top boxes that supports the Netflix streaming so I can run em straight on the TV. Might actually get me to fork out for a Blu-Ray player if it also plays stuff over the net. 😉
If only I didn’t have to have five different boxes to play everything… 😛 (Currently up to cable/DVR, DVD, AppleTV, and the Wii.)
As for the set-top boxes, Netflix is advertising a couple of Blu-Ray players now, so I’ve been sorta thinking if I can get one box that handles Netflix, Blu-Ray, and DVD, I might go for it. Eventually. Should probably get an HD TV before getting a Blu-Ray player.