As you might know, Sony’s PS3 got its disk-less Netflix client two days ago, as soon as Microsoft exclusivity for XBOX 360 expired. Because Sony had some time to spend for their implementation, they had the chance to do it right, but did they? Let’s take a look and let the screenshots speak for themselves.
One of the pre-requisites of the new Netflix client for PS3 is the firmware 3.50 which also enables support for 3D Blu-ray content. After you upgrade to the latest firmware, you will see a red Netflix icon in the Xross media bar. Selecting it will prompt to download the Netflix applications and a minute later you are in business. The activation is a tad different that other Netflix media streamers and it doesn’t prompt you to go to a PC to input a code. Instead, you’ll have to input your Netflix user name and password. Upon sign in, the new Netflix client is waiting for you.
The changes are quite drastic. First of all, the native client is much faster than the disk one and obviously much more polished. There is a greater number of categories available and navigating and selecting a category will open another menu with sub-categories. The detail level is higher than any other Netflix client I have seen and I have to admit it is very easy to use.
Sony also didn’t ignore search (as Google TV amazingly does) so you can search for any movie you want in Netflix’s extended library. The user interface is polished and easy to navigate.
Beside an improved user interface and faster load times all around, PS3 gets 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus treatment for some movies, as well as 1080i and even subtitles. If things are going this way, we’ll soon see Blu-ray discs replaced by streaming on Sony’s own console, not that we complain about that.
With the native Netflix addition and also supporting HULU Plus, Sony PS3 becomes a quite important player by itself in the media streamer categories, being in direct competition with Apple TV and Google TV. Let’s not forget also a DLNA client which can play any movie formats up to 1080p via PS3 Media Server and you might realize you don’t really need any other media streamer box in your Home Theater System. Let’s not forget that PS3 160GB is currently available at Amazon for $299 and includes both a game console and Blu-ray player, for a price similar with Google TV Logitech Revue which doesn’t have these features. And PS3 has a much better netflix implementation.
We are currently waiting for Microsoft move and see if they have any intention of enabling XBOX 360 Netflix client for everybody, not just the Live Gold members.