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Netflix Readies New iPhone App


June 14, 2010

When Steve Jobs announced the new iPhone 4, most media types were rightly obsessing about the new phone, but the Apple CEO also made some interesting app news. The Guitar Hero app is now available in the iTunes store and Netflix is finally releasing its app for the iPhone. (Those lucky iPad users have already been using a Netflix app for months.) 

As a long-time Netflix user, needless to say I am very excited about the new iPhone app and what we’ll be able to do with it once it launches. Here’s what you will -- and will not -- be able to do with the Netflix app, which is scheduled to be available for download sometime this summer:

  • Stream movies on your iPhone. This is the most exciting feature of the new Netflix app, as you’ll be able to watch movies from your queue over 3G or Wi-Fi. 
  • View movies from where you left off. If you start a movie on your iPad, you can finish it on your iPhone and the app will automatically pick up from where you left off.
  • Update your queue. Using the new Netflix app, you can search the database for new movies and add them to your queue. You can also rearrange or delete movies from your queue as well. 
  • View movie recommendations. Just like on Netflix’s website, the app will include recommendations for movies you may like, based on how you rate films and TV shows you’ve already watched. 

That said, iPhone users will have to keep in mind that AT&T no longer offers unlimited bandwidth plans. (Those who are already have an unlimited plan, however, can keep it if they want.) If you choose the 200 MB plan for $15 a month, streaming a full-length movie will take a huge chunk out of your monthly allotment. 

The 2 GB plan for $25 a month is a better choice if you plan to use the Netflix iPhone app. According to AT&T’s Data Calculator, you could watch 17.5 hours of streaming video per month on the 2 GB plan -- but that’s if you do nothing else with your iPhone, including emails and web surfing. For the average user, the 2 GB plan would probably allow for a few full-length movies per month along with regular web use and other downloads. 

The app will be free, but you’ll need to have a Netflix subscription to use it; plans start at $8.99 a month. Look for a full review of the new Netflix iPhone app later this summer. 

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