Netflix user inteface - is this infomation accurate?

Fired up my WDTV last night to watch a horror movie. Netflix however, had different ideas. “Goofy Comedies”? Check. “Visually Striking Movies”? Check. Gripping Crime TV Dramas"? You bet. But no horror movies. And no option to chose them. So I decided to chat with a support tech. What follows is excerpts from the chat:

DANTE: I’m watching Netflix through my WDTV Live, and I would like to watch a horror movie. But “Horror” is not one of the options. How can I navigate through to choose genres?
NETFLIX: What you can do is check out the Horror section from the website and add all the movies you’d like to see on the WDTV, then fool around in the taste preferences to mix them up! And rating more horror movies will definitely bring the Horror genre back in no time!
DANTE: So there is no way to just surf through a genre and then sub-genres on the WDTV?
NETFLIX: Right, devices have limited amount of space on them allotted to Netflix and tries not to take up all the space and severely slow the WD streamer down.
DANTE: I don’t understand what you mean by the device having a limited amount of space allotted to Netflix. Can you elaborate?
NETFLIX: On the computer you can browse through all the genre selections and even sub genres but not on WD devices, nor any other device like PS3 or even Smart TV’s, and that’s because of the app that Netflix uses, it accesses the servers but can not put all the information onto those devices at once
NETFLIX: Not enough memory, too much data for one to handle, if you will.
DANTE: The WDTV is showing me 36 rows of movies, from “Comedies” to “Movies with a Strong Female Lead”. Each row has up to 75 movies. Let’s say an average of 50 movies though. That’s 1,800 movies. Probably some repeats though, so let’s call it 1,000, just to be safe. How many horror movies are currently in Netflix’s catalog?
NETFLIX: Let me take a look here
DANTE: I don’t understand how moving through genre to genre is MORE memory intensive than showing me a list of 1,000 movies (none of which are ones I want to see right now).
DANTE: My point being, why can I not choose amongst ALL the movies I’m paying a monthly fee to access?
NETFLIX: I totally know where you’re coming from, and believe me it is baffling that not all the genres are available on certain devices, heck all I see on my PS3 are “because you watched” genres, It shows you the genres that you have been recently watching movies from in some way.

So my question is, am I being told the truth, or is it basically Netflix’s way of saying “You’ll watch what we damn well tell you!”

I think it’s more along the lines of “Our apps for non-PC devices aren’t designed properly, so they can’t offer all of the functionality you get from our website, but we’re not allowed to come out and say that so we make up some technical jargon and hope you aren’t smart enough to figure out that we’re BS-ing you”.

I don’t know the answer, but the tech is right you should be surfing the web to find the movie you want to watch. Just not their own site… use (a third party catalogue of netflix).

Here’s instantwatcher’s horror page.

After you find what you want, just search for it on the netflix app on your TV. Voila. I use my phone for this and find it much more convenient.

Using two devices and separate searches rather than looking at a list is “more convenient?” You must be using a very strange definition of that word.

I see no reason for Netflix to be lying here. They already have a problem with customers being unsatisfied from limited selection, they are not going to want to make that problem worse.

Yeah, they’re having the same problem a lot of companies are - the apps for a million different devices suck.

I’d say the Netflix rep has no clue what he’s talking about*, because this makes absolutely zero sense:

When you access Netflix with a browser it also accesses the servers but can’t put all the information onto the computer at once, either. And it doesn’t need to. It pulls the data in pages. The Amazon app does it that way, so there’s no reason the Netflix app can’t do the same thing.
*Actually, it’s possible he knows darn good and well it’s a flaw in the way the app was designed, but he’s required to hand out the official company line.

“That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.”

Yeah, it sounds like you got caught between a poorly designed app and netflix’s need to come up with wacky and inventive categorizations based on 2 and a half movies you watched over the last month.

Thank you! I don’t care about horror, but Netflix’s interface is awful, even on PCs. I’ll check this out.

You’re welcome, but be warned, it’s not convenient enough for Time Winder. Lol.

Watch it, Time Lord. If you want your TARDIS to go when you aim it (or even where it’s needed), don’t pick a fight with the TimeWinder..

The more I look into it, the more I realize that Netflix has invested heavily into its own recommendations algorithm, and they are damn well going to stick with it. Every online review/commentary I can find takes Netflix to task for it, but as far as I can tell, Netflix don’t care.

I think the rep is more or less right. I don’t know how WDTV works but when you open Netflix on Roku (the Roku 1 anyway), it loads about 20 categories, each with 50 movies max. Those 1000 movie images and titles, plus the queue that can be a lot larger, probably take up most of the Roku’s memory to display. It’s limited on how many categories it can display.

The flaw is that they don’t have a way to select genres through the app. The fix is to select the genres to be displayed through the website so the horror category will show up on your WDTV, or to try and find a horror movie using the search feature.

Be happy the level of suck is only that high. My dad gets Netflix through his BluRay player. As far as I could determine, there is no way to search or add movies to his queue through the app at all. It has to be done from his computer. There was also no way to disassociate the device from my account, which I had set up to give him an idea what it would be like, and change it to the new account he set up for himself. I had to do a hard reset of the DVD player, which meant reconfiguring all the other apps as well.

I understand the memory thing, but that doesn’t explain why they couldn’t add a search function like Amazon does.

Last week, I finally broke down and bought a cheap PC to dedicate to my TV. My TV has Netflix, Hulu and Amazon built in to it, but fuck, the user interface sucks so bad, I’d rather just use the PC.

Actually, the Amazon interface is pretty decent, but Netflix and Hulu suck balls.

Netflix on my Roku has a search function. Is it just searching the small catalog that’s on the device or is it accessing Netflix’s servers? Anyone know.?

Something else I just thought of:

If I use the Netflix that is built ion on my TV, it wont even down load all the episodes of a certain show. Even if that show is on the selected few.

For example: ST: TNG, episodes 76-99 are missing on my TV, but if I use the computer, they’re all there.

Pretty sure it’s hitting the servers. I’ve searched out movies that would never be in my displayed categories.

Our Blu-Ray Netflix app has a search function that searches everything. But you can’t browse every category.