Archives For Netflix

Netflix has been working on a mobile app for Android devices for some time, but hasn’t released anything yet due to the lack of system-wide DRM (digital rights management) on Android phones and tablets. Now the company is showing off Netflix streaming on Android devices using Qualcomm’s next-generation processors.

VentureBeat covers the deal that seems to suggest Qualcomm chips are the first ones that will be fast enough to reliably stream content, but that’s not exactly true. Netflix apps work pretty well on iOS and Windows Phone 7 devices. But Qualcomm is building DRM and security features directly into its next-generation chips which will make it possible for Netflix to stream content without worrying about piracy.

MobileCrunch has a video of the app in action after the break… or rather, in inaction, since the wireless network at Mobile World Congress wasn’t reliable enough to actually stream any video. But you can check out the demo of the user interface. Not surprisingly, the app looks a lot like the Netflix app for the iPhone. Read the rest of this entry »

The folks at Netflix ran a most interesting post yesterday on the company’s technical blog (via ReadWriteWeb). According to the director of engineering, one Netflix device is responsible for roughly 50% of total API calls. The same device, however, isn’t responsible for a comparable level of streaming traffic. In order to cut down on the “chattiness” level, the Netflix team is looking at redesigning the API for greater efficiency. And while the engineers are at it, they figure they’ll play with reducing overall payload (bits delivered) at the same time.

It’s great that Netflix is planning to improve its API, but the story certainly makes me wonder: which Netflix device is causing all that trouble? Is it one that continually drops signal, as some have reported with their TiVo boxes? Or is it one with a more advanced and therefore more demanding UI, like Dave’s favorite, the PS3? Netflix certainly won’t name names, but perhaps somebody else out there has an educated guess. I’d say it’s not the Roku given how long the little-box-that-could has been out, and the fact that API requests started seriously spiking only a few months ago. Anyone else willing to speculate?

netflix-players

ZNF friend Tech of the Hub has round up a variety of Netflix streaming hardware for comparison. They’re not the first to go down this path, but they are the most recent. Although I’d have liked to see an Xbox 360 in the mix, the Roku, Apple TV, Wii, PS3, and TiVo analysis is thorough… if subjective in many respects.

Tech of the Hub concludes the Apple TV provides the best experience. However, I’d argue the continually updated HTML5 PS3 UI and higher quality content puts it at the head of the pack. And we can probably all agree that TiVo has the most dated Netflix interface, yet the app’s limitations are significantly offset via TiVo’s universal search capabilities and “input one” position on the television.

At the end of the day, the best Netflix player is the one you have around. Fortunately there are quite possibly hundreds of devices to choose from.

Boxee announced today that its Netflix app has been delayed because of Netflix security requirements, and I joked on Twitter that maybe the company’s misfortunes are the fault of the “oxi” sound in its name. After all, Moxi didn’t do too well with its retail efforts either.

However, in thinking about it further, I realized there are other parallels worth drawing between Boxee and Moxi. Both companies introduced revolutionary products that got a lot of people jazzed about a new paradigm for watching TV. Both ran into challenges around content security – Boxee with content distributors/producers, including Netflix, and Moxi with CableCARD. (CableCARD installation issues hamper retail DVR success, and Moxi initially also had no VOD offering because of CableCARD limitations.) Both companies got their products to market after multiple delays, but missed the window when their products were truly innovation leaders.

Perhaps Boxee can succeed where Moxi has failed. But as the GigaOM folks point out, it’s always a challenge to meet the demands of a conservative content industry while still appealing to early-adopter consumers. Netflix has managed it so far, but only by getting the timing just right. Boxee has to do the same.


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Netflix will be publishing ISP performance stats, in regards to HD streaming rates, and their first batch is up. While the chart is colorful and somewhat interesting to ponder, I’m not quite sure anything of significance can be divined from these numbers (nor am I clear on Netflix’s objective here).  The typical assumptions appear to play out… cable is generally faster than DSL which is generally faster than (throttled) wireless. As a customer, I’d think performance would be dependent upon and identified via one’s data plan… and one’s home network, which Netflix may not be in a position to monitor. Additionally, they’re not breaking out DSL versus fiber connection from a company like Verizon that offers both.