Monday, May 11, 2009

Netflix Instant Queue - On Demand Movies has created an Instant queue to complement its late fees-free DVD queue. Netflix's Instant queue streams a subset of the Netflix movie collection over the Internet for instant viewing at any time and without delay. We watch movies from Netflix's Instant queue by connecting our MacBook to our LCD TV using Apple's DVI to Video Adapter and Apple's Audio Adapter. offers a similar movie download service but it is not compatible with Mac computers. The following are features that make Netflix's Instant queue compelling.
  1. No movie previews - Watching a movie from your Netflix Instant Queue is about as instantaneous as it gets because the movie automatically starts and does not include any previews.
  2. Pause for a break - Pause a movie or close your web browser and Netflix returns you to the last viewed scene.
  3. Try movies with no commitment - Netflix's Instant queue is ideal for watching obscure movies and TV shows because there is nothing lost if you do not finish the movie or show. On the other hand, a poor movie choice in your DVD queue results in a two day wait while that movie is being replaced.
  4. No added cost - The Netflix Instant queue comes with no additional cost and is available on most of their monthly subscription plans.
  5. Reduce clutter of depreciating DVDs - DVDs are steadily losing their value with the advent of Blu-Ray discs and online movie downloads. What's more, Blu-Ray discs are likely to lose their value once online movie downloads provide HD quality. Thus, using an online movie service means you will not be collecting a set of rapidly depreciating DVDs and Blu-Ray discs nor paying for an expensive Blu-Ray player.
Blu-Ray discs should do well for a little while because online movie downloads still have some limitations. The following are limitations of Netflix's Instant queue.
  • Limited selection - Netflix's Instant queue only includes a small subset of its DVD library. Most of the movies available for instant viewing are a year old or older. So far, the redeeming selection of the Instant queue has been the availability of all four seasons of The Office.
  • Reduced picture quality - Our Internet connection allows us to watch movies from Netflix's Instant queue at Netflix's highest quality resolution. However, the picture quality is less than what is experienced with a DVD or Blu-Ray disc. Specifically, the reduced picture quality becomes a factor for fast-moving action movies but is less noticeable for comedies and dramas.
  • No special features - Instantly downloaded movies do not include director commentary, deleted scenes, subtitles, or any other bonus features typically found on a DVD.
  • Connecting your computer to the Internet can be expensive - Netflix streams online movies via devices like Xbox 360 and TiVo. However, those devices are expensive and connecting your existing computer to the Internet can be complicated and/or expensive too.
In sum, Netflix's Instant queue is worth a try if you can easily connect your TV to the Internet and, especially, if you are interested in watching episodes of The Office.


  1. This is great for Netflix. I've never used them before but I'm glad to see this technology succeed. I remember a few years back when Netflix first entered. Blockbuster launched their own mail based video rental system and let its customers drop off the DVDs at their nearby store without the hassle of sending them back through the mail. Everyone thought that was going to be the nail in the coffin for Netflix but boy have things changed. I just heard on the news about a month ago that Blockbuster is within a year of going bankrupt. Whether that happens or not, it just goes to show you that you shouldn't be scared to take on the big guys. It seems like the first thing you hear from someone whom you are pitching them about an idea is "what happens when you competitor does the same thing". Funny thing is, the larger a corporation gets, the less agile they become. People tend to forget that or don't consider it most of the time.

    PS. It's good to see you blogging again. Keep up the great work! :)

  2. Thanks! I had a co-worker in the summer of 2000 using Netflix but she was way ahead of the technology curve. I think DVDs and Blu-Rays are going to suffer the same fate as CDs and I agree that it is cool to see a smaller company out-duel a larger company.

  3. I've been using this for a couple months, and I love it! The quality difference is definitely noticable (especially when compared to blu-ray), but for junk movies, or old TV shows, who cares. Rhinestone, watch that winner on netflix instantly!

  4. Yeah, I forgot to mention the old classics like "Rhinestone" that are hiding in the Instant Queue :)

  5. It's funny that you say an XBOX 360 is expensive when you also say that you have an Apple computer.

  6. Philip, I was saying that getting your TV connected to the Internet can be expensive for both an XBox 360 and a Mac.