I must say I’ve been damn surprised at how well it works. The picture quality is consistenly BETTER than cable and on par with DVD. My wife and I decided to try the 8.99 plan with Netflix and we’re sold. Works like a champ with no issues during hours of movie viewing. New releases are generally not availible on it but you can get them in the mail.
This may be the thing that really helps them compete with BBs instorexchange action.
We’ve been using this since it was available. In fact, we’re streaming Battlefield Earth right now to watch with the Rifftrax. Our instant queue has 155 items currently, and we find new things to add daily.
I just started streaming Netflix to my 360 last week, and I have been very impressed with it as well. I have been catching up on 30 Rock episodes, and they stream in HD which looks really good. Many of the movies come through in HD, and even the movies that are not in HD still look good.
I am also on the $8.99 plan, and I have been very happy with the service so far.
I stream Netflix on my TiVo and I’ve been pretty impressed too. The “HD” streams look about as good as upscaled DVD to me (on a 52" Sharp LCD), but not as good as real HD. The non-HD streams are noticeably worse (not up to DVD standard, far worse than real HD), but still certainly watchable.
They do make it hard to know which ones are HD. There’s a section of HD titles on the website, but in my experience it seems that not all of the HD titles are listed there. And as far as I can tell, they don’t actually tell you whether it’s HD or not when you’re looking at the details for the title (or in the queue). So AFAIK there’s no way to be sure what’s HD without trying to play it. I don’t know how it works on the XBox, but on the TiVo, when it’s loading it shows a “quality” indicator which will say “HD” for HD titles. “HD” should probably be in quotes everywhere it’s used in this paragraph, since it’s not really full HD quality. Also, none of the titles have 5.1 surround audio (pretty much standard on any DVD, HD cable channel or BluRay), which is an annoyance.
Also, beware of titles that “expire” from your Instant Queue. I’ve lost quite a few that I was hoping to watch because I didn’t get to them in time.
When you’re looking at your Instant Queue, in the Notes column, it’ll say something like “Available Until January 20, 2009.” If you don’t have anything in your queue with a note like that, you probably don’t have anything that’s going to expire soon. I have only 2 out of 52 in my Instant Queue expiring. I also have a bunch in the “Saved Instant” section at the bottom; I believe those are titles that have already expired.
Once they’ve expired they can no longer be played in Instant at all (though they may become available again later). As I understand it, this is a limitation being imposed by the studios, but I don’t know all of the details.