Netflix Canada – Wii Application Review

As I mentioned a few days ago, Netflix recently released a native application for the Wii.  This means that you no longer require a disc in order to access the Netflix service.

The Wii may not be the best way to access Netflix, but it will probably suffice for many.

Before I get to the review I just want to apologize for the pics.  They are about as crappy as they can get.  🙁

Installation:

Previously, to run Netflix on a Wii, it required the use of an application disc (as shown in my earlier review).  The disc is no longer required, now you simply need to head to the Wii Shop Channel and download the new Netflix application.

At the time that I took these pictures the Netflix app was still being shown on the home page as a “New” application.  This may not be the case any more.

If you don’t find a link to the application right on the home page, you may need to do a search.  Using the term “Netflix” should bring it up.

The application is free to download and you can choose to save it on either the Wii system memory or a SD card if you happen to have one installed.

As you would guess, a Wii Remote (Wiimote) is required to control the application.

Once installed, the application is listed on the Wii home screen, just like any other application.  If you happen to have a lot of applications installed, you may have to scroll to the right.

When opened, you are greeted by the same launch screen as you got with the Application Disc.  In fact, from here on in, most of the behaviour and appearance is the same as the previously reviewed Wii application disc.

The activation screen may have changed slightly in appearance, but the function is the same.  In order to activate Netflix on the Wii, you need to enter the activation code using a computer on Netflix.ca (under “Your Account & Help” (top left) and then “Activate a Netflix Ready Device”).  If you have more than 6 devices activated, you will need to de-activate one of them before you will be allowed to add another.

Functionality:

Once activated, you are taken to the Netflix home screen and from here on in it looks and behaves just like the application disc did.

The home page still “features” giant cover art representing the available movies.

Hovering the pointer over a section will open a pop-up window with the name, rating, time and summary.

Making a selection brings you to an information screen about the movie.  Here you will find the name, Netflix rating, parental rating, year, length, summary, cast, director and movie type.

When browsing Netflix on your PC, you are able to select names from the cast, director or type in order to bring up other movies featuring the same actor, director or type.  That is not possible on the Wii (or the PS3 for that matter).  Here, your only options are to rate the movie (1 to 5 stars), play the movie or go back one screen.  I find this to be a major limitation.

The in-movie interface has not changed.  Pointing the Wiimote at the screen will bring up the semi-transparent GUI.

If you are not interested in the movie options presented on the home page, you can also locate movies by catagory….

or by using the search function to look for a particular title…

If you have configured the parental controls to restrict a certain rating, this is what you will see if you try to bring up a title using the search function that exceeds the allowed rating….

If you want to change the Parental Controls, you will need to do so from a computer since you are unable to access Netflix account settings from the Wii application.

To change the Parental Controls, access www.netflix.ca on a PC, go to “Your Account & Help” (top right) and then “Change parental control setting” under MANAGE ACCOUNT.

Picture quality is unchanged.  The image is soft and the colors muted.  I didn’t notice any pixelation and the sound is limited to 2 channel stereo (Wii hardware limitation).

In order to exit the application, simply hit the “Home” button on your Wiimote and choose “Wii Menu”.

Controls:

Conclusion:

I would personally recommend using a Home Theatre PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 to access Netflix from your home theatre.  If this isn’t an option and you happen to have a Nintendo Wii, then by all means give it a go.  It is better than nothing and functionally it works fine.  The picture quality is acceptable and the system is easy to control.

ComputerAbuser

  1. Is the movie/television selection any different from PS3 or XBOX?

    Or is it all the same.

    • I don’t have an Xbox to test with so I couldn’t say for sure, but when I have a few minutes I think I might compare the Wii, PS3 and PC to see if there is any difference in selection.

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