How does Netflix streaming selection work, anyway?

I’ve been using the $7.99/month Netflix streaming service for a few months, and I’m finding myself a bit confused about finding stuff I want to watch. Basically, it seems that it started out with them presenting me with a small subset of the available material, and as things have progressed they “suggest” other things I might like based on what I watch and the ratings I give. But I can’t seem to watch anything that they haven’t actually “suggested”. For example, last night I posted on my Facebook page that I’d just watched Pixar’s “Brave” on DVD (I bought the physical DVD), and my mom commented that she has it in her Netflix queue. My mom’s comment boggled me because I have specifically searched for Pixar movies on Netflix and have come up completely empty, leading me to assume that Netflix simply didn’t have a licensing agreement with Pixar.

How do I find a movie/TV show that isn’t among the “suggested/recommended” material? I haven’t found any way to simply search all of Netflix’ available content. I’ve searched for specific movies and gotten no result, only to have that same movie “recommended” to me after watching something similar. Why not just let me pick from a complete list?

Your mom must have the DVD plan either instead of or in addition to the streaming plan.

Netflix’s content also fluctuates depending on their various contracts. There are a number of third party sites that keep track of what is coming to instant soon, what is expiring soon and what has just expired. I know that the interface on the Wii is a lot suckier than the website also.

THere are two queues. One for streaming and one for dvds-by-mail. Your Mom has Brave in her dvd by mail queue.

I don’t know of any good ways to search via my streaming interface (Xbox) but if you go on their website there are plenty of options to sort and search their streaming catalog if you play around a little bit.

Also, there are good third party websites that help you navigate the catalog. I forget the names of them offhand but someone will be by shortly to provide links.

The stream to my smart TV has a search feature, but it sucks. I often search on google instead (movie title/Netflix) to verify that they have it.

You don’t need to use Google to search Netflix’s database. Just login to your Netflix account on your PC, and you can search their available listings and manage your queue. Note that stuff gets added to and deleted from their streaming service all the time, so just because a movie or show is available today doesn’t mean that it will be available tomorrow.

Are you watching the streaming on your computer, or on your TV through a device? The ROKU Netflix search feature has gotten a lot better and has a bunch of suggestions based on other things watched.

Yeah, I should have mentioned that I watch the streams in my browser (I don’t own a television).

There should be a button on the verb strip across the top that says “Watch Instantly” and you’ll get a bunch of popular or new streaming suggestions. If you click any to add to your queue you’ll get additional suggestions similar to what you selected. All of the additional suggestions displayed should be able to be streamed.

However if you do a title or actor search you have to keep an eye out for the blue “instant” box

Not necessarily. She might have been taken by one of the “Not to be confused with…” rip-off movies. I seem to recall seeing something about “Kiara the BRAVE” or some such.

I saw that as well. It does say in the blurb immediately that it is in no way related to Pixar’s Brave and unless the OP comes back and tells us his mom remembered a very different movie than he saw, I’m going to assume she watched Pixar’s version.

It makes browsing Netflix’s catalog much better. IMHO that is.

It’s faster to use google if I’m just trying to figure out if they have it.

A-ha! When I’d looked there previously, it just showed me a list (well, a grid) of the same titles that were already appearing on my main page, so I hadn’t checked back there. Looking again just now, I clicked on a category and there were a whole lot of other choices. So maybe it’s just a matter of giving it time to populate the list.

I just heard back from my mom - it is indeed the disc in her queue, not the streaming version. She’s also a Pixar fan, plus my niece (mom’s grandaughter) is an adventurous little redhead much like the main character — our family is strongly Scottish on both sides, along with my niece’s dad’s family — so we’ve all been looking forward to this movie since we first heard about it. So not much chance of confusion :slight_smile:

FYI, I saw Brave over the weekend, via a Netflix disc, and I was not enthralled by it. It was OK, but not really compelling like the best of the Pixar films.