Netflix movies very slow to load - but fast on an iPad
Netflix lets you watch movies on your TV using your Wii and also on your computer using InstantWatch, which relies on Silverlight technology from Microsoft.
It works great through the Wii but it's pathetically slow on a computer with Silverlight (which I am convinced is the problem). You can expect to wait 5 - 10 minutes to load up the movie when using Netflix on your Mac or PC computer, and you can expect to wait another 5 - 10 minutes for the movie to "buffer" itself at least twice during the movie.
I've tried it on both Windows and Mac computers using both Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer browsers. Same results. It's definitely a problem with the Silverlight viewer and not the Netflix streaming service because it works great when viewing movies on your TV using a Wii.
Netflix movies fortunately still load very fast on an iPad using the Netflix app from iTunes. It took only a few seconds to load up a movie on my iPad, and I didn't experience any of the slow buffering problems that plague the PC/Mac viewer.
Once the movie was loaded on my iPad, it played almost instantly with no additional buffering. I was able to fast forward and it was able to play from the new position almost immediately - a task that leaves you waiting 5 - 10 minutes for buffering when using Netlix on your computer.
But the iPad solution is not without it's flaws. Netflix movies run faster on iPads but the quality has gone way down. Here's a clip from Surrogates starring Bruce Willis where 5 surrogate policemen are killed by a weapon that zaps their optical sockets.
You can see how bitmapped the clip looks. It's about like viewing a Youtube video which is just one step above completely unacceptable for action shots.
Netflix really needs to fix this. They need to either dump the Silverlight plugin for something faster or get Microsoft to fix it, and they need to greatly improve the quality of streamed movies.
Bandwidth is cheap and the internet pipes are large, and I don't think viewers will accept this low level of quality for much longer. Either Netflix needs to fix this problem or another competitor is going to step in and take over the market with a superior product.