Netflix Does It Again

November 25, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

You would think that after the thrashing Netflix got with the whole “Qwikster” mess they would be a little more careful going forward. Yet, they haven’t learned their lesson at all it seems.

This past Tuesday, Netflix announced a new “Just for Kids” section for the Wii version of its streaming software. This is something that I thought was pretty awesome and wanted to try out. I have 4 kids who love watching shows on the Wii and this would make it a lot easier for them. So I updated the software (which was actually easier than I thought it would be) and started it up.

This is where things went south. The first thing I noticed was that Netflix was a whole lot choppier and slow. The app took longer to load up. The Just for Kids button covers up the first item in my queue. The button itself takes forever to load. It is just slow loading all around.

Now the Just for Kids section is actually pretty cool and my wife and I spent a little while just messing around with it. So I don’t have any complaints about that specific part of it. This is just as good as I could have hoped.

However, here is problem number two. Later that night, my wife and I went to watch some Psych and I noticed that Netflix no longer shows the episode description the current episode. It now only shows the description for the TV series. I really don’t understand why this had to change. That feature was very convenient. Now you have to go to the episode list to see the description. That is dumb and convoluted. This should never have changed.

My last issue with the update is that of my Wii Remotes. I have one Nintendo brand Wii Remote and two Nyko brand Wand remotes. Prior to this update I could use any of the 3 to control Netflix. After the update I noticed that compatibility for the Nyko remotes was broken. At first I thought it was a different issue. We were using the Nintendo remote for a while but it needed charged so we tried switching but the Nyko remote kept registering as controller 2 and would not work. I thought this was just Netflix only working with controller 1. However, today I could not find my Nintendo remote and the Nyko remote just flat out would not work. This is incredibly stupid. How do you break compatibility like that?

So why break more things than you fix Netflix? The system worked just fine as it was and you didn’t have to make service breaking changes to add this new feature. I hope that you get you act together an issue a fix for these problems soon. I want my Netflix back.

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One Response to Netflix Does It Again

  1. John says:

    We noticed the same thing and it pisses me off. Why did the TV episode description need to change? My guess is lazy coding. Somewhere in making the update, they broke the part that recognizes the current selection is a TV show and fetches the description of the current episode and rather than fix the problem, they just band-aided it and removed the section of code that treats TV shows differently than movies. I honestly wish there were a way to downgrade.
    Another thing I noticed was that it seems like it’s reloading the interface every single time I load it. I’m wondering if they’ve simply made it pull all of the elements from the web somewhere. That would explain the slow loading and partial display of certain elements sometimes. It would also allow them to update the interface without the hassle of going through Nintendo and updating the program on the console.
    With that in mind, I’m going to do a little poking around with wireshark and a proxy to see if that is the case. If it is, perhaps I can figure out a way to use a proxy to reformat the incomming xml/html and fix any bugs or simply cache visual elements locally to speed up the load time.

    Thanks for posting this… I was beginning to think I was the only one who noticed the changes.

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