Netflix Arrives on TiVo Today

Dave Zatz —  December 8, 2008 — 30 Comments

Hot on the heels of a system software update, and as promised, TiVo Series 3, HD, and HD XL subscribers who also partake in an unlimited Netflix plan will be able to stream a wide variety of video content at no additional cost:

This morning subscribers can browse through an expanding library of more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes at www.netflix.com, add them to their Netflix Instant Queue, and then watch them on TV with just a click of the TiVo remote. Movies are streamed from Netflix through TiVo DVRs via wired or wireless broadband connection and a Netflix Queue-based user interface. The library includes titles from every genre, with a modest selection of HD content available as well. Both standard and HD titles are expected to grow in the weeks and months ahead.

As you can see from the video above and pics below, I’ve spent some time with the service over the weekend. While the hybrid Netflix+TiVo interface isn’t as snappy as my Xbox or Roku boxes, receiving Netflix digital video on a DVR ~a primary television set-top box~ is extremely significant. Also notable, this represents the first time TiVo has facilitated high definition Internet video. As with all current Netflix implementations, fast forward and rewind are atypical – scrubbing is done via thumbnail images and requires rebuffering of the content. I also encountered more periodic buffering than on my other Netflix devices, though this particular Series3 isn’t ideally positioned for wirelessly accessing my router. So I’m not sure if it’s a TiVo issue or a network issue.

While the new service offering is quite cool, especially in light of the zero cost to existing subscribers, Netflix still lacks a stellar lineup of current, big budget, blockbuster video – making TiVo’s HD support most exciting for me… assuming Amazon will offer better quality rentals shortly. (Having said that, Netflix does have a nice selection of foreign and indy flicks plus a good deal of television content. The recent Starz relationship has also enhanced the catalog.)

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30 responses to Netflix Arrives on TiVo Today

  1. FIRST! Kiddiing. Nice post Mr. Zatz, though I enjoyed the language from your weekend email a bit better…

  2. I reserve “H-f*ckin-D!” for personal emails and use here in the comments. Post content is syndicated to respectable publications that don’t appreciate that sort of language. ;)

  3. Dang. I got the system update, but no Netflix in my Video On Demand menu. Can’t wait to try it.

  4. Go the update today took, but Video On Demand claims to be down for a Scheduled Maintenance. I guess no one watches movies on Sunday nights.

  5. Also a note, tons of Netflix streaming assets expire Jan 1. I don’t know if those will be the same ones available on TiVo, but a large percentage of my Watch Now queue is going to disappear on Jan 1, so I’m glad this update came out so soon.

  6. Dave,
    Great news. I’m expecting you to tell me the sling box app for the ipod is available any day now ;)
    Nice mention of your site in Tekzilla a couple of weeks ago.

  7. Fred Beiderbecke December 8, 2008 at 7:55 am

    I am not a NetFlix subscriber.

    Looking at the plans, it looks like I need at least the 8.99 plan, correct?

    Does that mean I can do as many movies/tv shows as I like, but can only do one at a time?

    This looks very interesting.

    Fred

  8. A update this AM… my hardwired living room TiVo is doing much better hanging onto the stream.

    Gear, I doubt we’ll see an iPhone/iTouch Sling app this year. The clock is ticking on Blackberry too, but I assume that’s much closer.

    Fred, I believe any Unlimited plan includes unlimited streaming.

  9. wow i seriously don’t care about christmas now.

  10. Apple TV has supported HD rentals for months. Now if they just had a larger library…

  11. I’m waiting for AppleTV Take 3… ;) Actually, with Boxee out there was thinking maybe a used Mac Mini off ebay would be a nice living room STB. EyeTV, Boxee (w/ Netflix), and FrontRow. But I believe iTunes video is ONLY HD on AppleTV. Hm. Vudu still offers the best HD video rental experience, for those willing to pay. I hope they manage to hang on.

  12. Dave, you are correct: iTunes HD rentals are only for Apple TV. That explains why there isn’t more HD content for iTunes.

  13. If only they could get some decent content…

  14. Does the 8-second instant replay button work? Does it have to rebuffer?

    This is my most missed thing when watching AppleTV versus TiVo. When somebody mumbles, the 8 second instant replay is great to go back and see what they said — annoying and tedious to do with AppleTV.

  15. doesn’t seem to buffer very well. video starts and stops (going to the menu, where I need to click “resume playing”!?!) every 30 seconds or so.

  16. J, trick play does require rebuffering. :/ Anon, sounds like a network problem.

  17. I may just become a Netflix customer again. HD content looks great with no stutter at all. HD is good on the upstairs THD running across a SlingLink too. I’ve got 12MB DSL so I’m sure that helps. Now if they just add more newer and HD content.

  18. So much for works great.. After watching on the 2nd THD I can’t go back to the 1st. I even rebooted the 2nd one and still won’t work. Even deacivated the 2nd box and still no go, guess I’ll have to reboot #1 too..

  19. Dave – Are you or anyone else here having an issue of your TIVO not even loading into the “Video On Demand” section? I seem to be looped, as I click on “Video On Demand” and the TIVO hangs and then goes back to TIVO Central. When I did get to Netflix, I started watching a movie and within a minute, it stuttered, paused and jumped back to TIVO Central. Strange, and now I cannot get back into Video on Demand. Thoughts? Help?

  20. I just tried the Video on Demand choice on my S3, and got a screen that indicates a “scheduled maintenance” is taking place.

    It seems more likely that they’re swamped.

  21. 1. Very satisfied with the quality of both HD and SD

    2. Very dis-satisfied with the fact that only the primary account holder’s queue registers… I have 3 tivo’s and 3 user profiles on netflix

    3. Wish ability to browse titles existed…

    4. Wish there was more HD content…

  22. It loaded up fine for me (30 Rock, season 1) but the audio is off by a half-second or so from the video. It makes it kind of hard to watch.

  23. Actually, I take that back. It didn’t work that well… About 11 minutes in the application just died and brought me back to TiVo central. It let me resume, but the audio is still unsynched.

  24. I just downgraded my cable package.

    Kept all the sports channels and gave up premium movie channels and added phone.

    Now I’m signing up for netflix.

  25. Tuesday night, still ‘down for maintenance’. Another home-run for Tivo. Not.

    Between these types of issues and the stuff I’m reading about Tivo adding commercials to paused TV, it may be time to give up that nice (and tired) interface for a MUCH cheaper cable HD-DVR. Tivo, I’ve been patient. VERY patient. But you continue to disappoint and manage to keep increasing your rates. Seems like we’re seeing what happens in this market and economy when you don’t deliver what people want….GM….ahem….FORD…..ahem….

  26. I cant say I have had a problem the last two days…I have watched 3 episodes of the office, all in HD and had zero crashes, freezes or audio issues. I have to say im very happy with this app so far

  27. No problem here. At least I don’t think so. I enjoyed the Pixar documentary last night. But with everyone talking audio/video sync issues I started to wonder if it was slightly off. Not sure if it was or if I was seeing things due to the power of suggestion. Either way, I enjoyed the (non-HD) flick.

  28. It’s worth noting that the Xbox implementation of Netfix also supports HD video, though it’s worth noting that I haven’t been able to get HD quality streams from either over the past few days. Frankly, I think the Xbox implementation is slicker, and I’m frustrated that the Netflix interface on TiVo hangs off of the sloppy and uninspired new Video on Demand menu.

  29. I have never subscribed to NetFlix.. I have always had USENET .. ;) However, the free trial and the performance of this on the TiVo has compelled me to cancel my USENET subscription and get the 8.99 package. See MPAA, give people a viable option and they will stop doing things the “other” way…

    Just got finished watching Season 1 and 2 of The Office in 16×9 HiDef goodness… amazing…

    Now I just have to hope charter does not decide to cap my cable modem. Now that the Internet offers competing content delivery at this scale, seems like such things as caps would fall under some sort of monopoly law or something…

  30. Watched some of this yesterday. The audio/video sync issue got worse and worse as the video went on, until it was around 2 seconds delayed in the sound. Pausing/restarting did not help.

    Also, fast forwarding the service once made the entire Tivo lock up, I had to cut power to reboot. This is definitely a buggy app.

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