The Netflix app for easy, disc-free usage of its Instant Watch service is now available for download on the PlayStation network. Not only does this allow anyone who owns a PS3 and pays for Netflix’s 8.99 a month service to browse their service without a special disc in the drive, it also ups the video quality ante for anyone who has used the service previously.
The upgrade now jumps their high def streaming content into the 1080 stratosphere, allowing anyone with a TV capable of 1080i resolutions to frolic in the garden of hi-res interlaced delights.
The best that Netflix previously offered with any of their services was 720p, and that included their browser-based connections, as well as their service on the other two consoles, Xbox 360 and Wii (Wii of course being only standard definition).
In addition to the resolution increase, viewers can now get full Dolby 5.1 surround sound streamed into their home, right through the interwebs, which was something at which most experts would have simply scoffed a year ago–the bandwidth and infrastructure required to stream that much information over the internet is pretty staggering.
This turn of events is a bit of a coup on Sony’s part, because as of right now their console is the only way a Netflix customer can take advantage of the video and audio upgrade. It makes perfect sense to be the first place to roll out the upgrade, because the chances of a PS3 being hooked up to all of the equipment needed to enjoy the upgrade is arguably the highest compared to all of the other platforms.
Whether or not this imbalance in the industry will last long enough for it to work in Sony’s favor is uncertain, though it it’s beginning to seem unlikely, as a similar service (albeit a non-HD one) for Wii has just been announced, and similar upgrades to the Xbox and browser-based services are sure to follow.