While fiddling around Netflix...I think I was looking for the blog...or something...well, anyway, I stumbled across a nifty little link entitled 'apps'. Netflix has apps? I like apps! And for Netflix...seriously, apps are more necessity than luxury.
A number of limitations crop up for enthusiastic NF'ers. First, only 500 movies per queue? Insanity, insanity, I say! And yes, while it is possible (or was, I haven't looked for it in a while) to save movies to lists, the process is so counter-intuitive you have to re-learn it every time you use it, that is, if you can even find it on the site. You can't even link your list to your queue in order to avoid double entries. The queue itself is kinda clunky. I don't know about you guys, but when going through either 'Instant' or 'DVD' queues to figure out what to watch next, I'm often in the mood for a particular genre. My only option was to scroll through my queues for videos in the 'Television' or 'Classic' genre.
Which is a huge pain.
'Yes, #3, Meet Me In St. Louis would be cool, but let me keep scrolling to see if...ooh, #248 One, Two, Three sounds good too. But do I want to watch that more or less than...than...What was that first title?' And back up to the top I go. Not only have I forgotten the name of the first movie, I also can't remember where it was in the queue.
These were a few of the thoughts tripping through my bean while checking out the 'Apps' section. When I found instantwatcher.com, I wasn't sure it would be particularly useful. The site design doesn't exactly scream 'must have'. In fact it looks a bit like one of those search pages you get hijacked to when you accidentally type in the wrong URL. However, if you use NF Watch Instantly heavily, instantwatcher.com is your new best friend. What it lacks in razzle-dazzle it more than makes up for in functionality and ease of use. Not only are titles broken down by any number of useful categories, from 'genre' to 'popular; their categories have categories.
Let's say you want to browse television? instantwatcher.com includes NF's standard sub-genres (British TV, Kids TV etc); but the site also permits you to sift responses by rating (NF users, New York times, or Rotten Tomatos), year and MPAA rating. See a title you think you might like? Just roll your cursor over it to read the summary. You can find a list of the new or popular; but best of all, you will also find a list of what's coming up. The 'Coming Soon to Instant' link is a must-click. Can't miss Xanadu, coming to NF Watch Instantly 2/7/11.
Want to sort your Instant queue by genre, date or rating? Want to be able to save more titles than your queue allows? Those are two very cool functions available to premium users. It's incredibly easy to use and view your queued and saved titles. The sidebar presents options to view only your queue, only or saved titles or both at the same time; all for the low-low of $9.95 per month...oops, did I say month I meant $9.95 per year. instantwatcher.com has definitely put the 'fun' back in to managing your instant queue.
Disclaimer: instantwatcher does offer a free membership for bloggers and journalists who write about the project. But truth is I would have signed up for a premium account anyway. Writing this post saved me from spending ten bucks and from shouting my instantwatcher.com joy from the rooftops.