Quick and Dirty: Netflix on the 3DS


Today marks the day that Netflix is available on 3DS. Almost seems like perfect timing with their recent plans to try  and encourage people to only do streaming. But if you are similar to us, you likely already have a Netflix app on every electronic device you own, so why would you bother with downloading it to a portable device that only has Wi-fi? It can’t be good, right? Hit the jump to get my quick impressions.

The first thing that I noticed was a bunch of error messages and another message stating I was too far away from my wireless router. It was the same location that I downloaded Link’s Awakening and about 45 feet away from my Wi-fi source. But when I moved closer to it, the app started to work.


One of the first things you will notice after you do the easy activation routine is that the menu is in 3D. It doesn’t add much to the experience but at least it shows Netflix is taking advantage of the feature. When scrolling through the selection of movies, the box art is not populated as they appear on the screen but they do fill in rather quickly. If you don’t know what you want to watch, you could find yourself scrolling a lot but that is a similar con to other versions of this app. And after you select a movie or show it even gives users the option to turn on subtitles before starting if the movie is foreign. But now for what you really want to know, how does playback work?

It took about 20 seconds to retrieve and start playing a non-HD movie from under 5 feet from Wi-fi source. Took about 10 seconds for a TV show. When I moved to the previous mentioned sitting section, booting up a TV show took almost 20 seconds.


Navigation during playback is the same as other Netflix applications with those boxes of frames displayed horizontally. Press the A button to pause, play, and accept. Do not press the B button unless you want to exit out of the video and go back to the menu. When in the paused state you can use the control pad to slide one box over and use shoulder buttons to slide groups. R & L is also used to jump a group of titles on the main menu screen which comes in handy with long lists. I skipped ahead about 30 minutes in a movie and it was very quick to buffer and get to that point.


And the last aspect on everyone’s mind, quality. I found the picture quality on all of what I watched to look quite amazing. It is obviously not HD quality or on par with the iPhone 4’s Retina Display but other than that, I am 100% satisfied with the video quality. In emails to the Flixist staff, I likened it to about watching SD Netflix on an HDTV. Sure, it isn’t HD but it more than gets the job done.

The 3DS Netflix App won’t be replacing anyone’s iPhone or my PS3 anytime soon but it does exactly what it is supposed to do. You get movies and TV shows wirelessly on your handheld system with a decent navigation system. It looks good on Nintendo’s small screens but the picture quality can go only so high. The real reason to be excited about this is when Netflix ads 3D movies/shows which are said to come soon. I’d imagine Resident Evil: Afterlife to be among the first since it is already streamable. And I am sure there are plenty of people who will giggle over the fact that you can watch soft-core porn on a Nintendo handheld now.

*All photos were taken from an iPhone 4 at the best I could with one hand. All of the images have a brightness level 1 on the 3DS, Ghostbusters was taken at brightness level 4.