When Microsoft launched Windows 8 in New York last month the firm told Pocket-lint that it was being careful to get good apps in the store. It went on to tell us that that the apps you have when you launch are crucial to the success of your ecosystem.
Until launch, we hadn't seen the Netflix app, there was no pre-launch beta, unlike most apps, so we had no idea what to expect. So when we first fired it up, we were blown away by what we saw. Like all the Netflix apps on mobile devices, the format is similar each time, but the firm seems to play to the platform's strengths better than any other. That means the apps don't look the same on each device, but always look good on whatever platform you favour.
- Windows 8
- Free (requires subscription)
- Windows 8 store
Load it up, and a few seconds later you're looking at that traditional Netflix grid. If you've loaded it before, you'll find the stuff you're part-way through listed first. From here, you can resume playback or browse through content suggest for you, based on your history and the votes you've given to shows.
As with all Netflix apps, the quality is very good. Netflix uses a global setting to define what quality video it pushes to you, so if you think you aren't getting the best, have a look on the settings page to make sure it's set to "best". And like all the Netflix apps, there's also a short period of time at the start of playback where you get low-quality video, but it soon increases. We've watched video on Netflix that's higher quality than some broadcast TV. We'd prefer that the software dropped you in with high quality first, rather than building up to it, but it's generally quick to sort itself out.
Searching is easy too, if you have a Windows 8 ready keyboard, press the search button and the dialogue will pop up, with Netflix automatically highlighted for you to search its library. If you don't have a Windows 8 keyboard, it's easy enough to hit the bottom-left corner with a mouse, or to swipe in from the right to get the charms menu.
Although Windows 8 is designed for touch, as long as you have a mouse with a scroll wheel you can navigate around quite quickly. Moving the wheel moves you left or right, which gets you around the newly horizontal user interface found in all Windows 8 apps.
In terms of library, there's not much to say here that hasn't been said before. Netflix is strong in TV shows, and a bit weaker in movies. But even so, there's lots to see, and more than enough material to keep you happy and glued to your TV/computer for a long time to come.
Netflix costs £6 a month, which is a remarkably smart sum of money as it feels insignificant. The app is free too, so there's nothing extra to pay if you're a subscriber. Even if you aren't a subscriber, it's interesting to see that this app has really brought Windows 8 to a new level.