At long last, Netflix is available for Android on the official Android Market…and with the recent removal of device checks in the app, you can now (in theory) use it on any Android device running Froyo or higher. Today, we’re going to take a brief look at how well the app functions on two devices, one officially supported and one not officially supported: my Droid 1, and Brittnie’s rooted Nook Color.
The interface for the Android Netflix app is almost identical to the iOS app, minus a couple of changes for the hardware buttons that most Android devices have. You’re given access to everything you could possibly want: queue management, search, browsing, instant streaming…you name it, it’s here. I’d like to see the navigation get a bit snappier in an update, but other than that, the app is darn near perfect (at least on our two devices).
Performance on a Droid 1
For reference, my Droid 1 is rooted, and as of this writing runs Liquid Gingerbread v1.7, which is of the 2.3.3 variety. Kernel version is 126.96.36.199_rMod_250-1100_. The mod version is liquid.sholes.20110424.162004, with a baseband version of C_01.43.01P. My min/max clock speeds are currently set at 250/900. The phone runs very smoothly, with all animations turned on.
Navigation performance is similar to Brittnie’s vanilla 2nd-gen iPod Touch. Over 3G with only two bars, playback started in under 15 seconds on average. Over 3G with full bars, playback started in just under 10 seconds on average. Connected to our router via Wi-Fi, playback started in as little as 5-6 seconds.
Over 3G, we were able to watch a full episode of MST3K with only two instances of buffering, each lasting less than 2 seconds. The video quality looked excellent, and the audio quality was clear as well. Switching over to Wi-Fi and watching another episode resulted in perfect playback; once the video stream started, it didn’t stop until the episode ended. Jumping around throughout the episode happend quickly as well…over 3G, it never took more than 5 seconds for the buffer to catch up when I went to a random spot later in the episode. Performance was even better over Wi-Fi, as expected.
Performance on a rooted Nook Color
For reference, Brittnie’s Nook Color is rooted, and as of this writing runs GRI40, which is of the 2.3.3 variety. Kernel version is 2.6.29-omap1, with a mod version of CyanogenMod-7.0.3-encore. It runs a little choppy, but I haven’t finished configuring it yet.
Video performance was very similar to what we found on my Droid 1, with one exception: the first minute or so of streaming always resulted in the lowest video quality possible. Eventually, the video quality would snap to a much higher resolution, then continue on with nary a fuss. Unfortunately, the response time on the Nook Color’s display leaves something to be desired, so if you’re watching an action flick with a bunch of quick edits, you’re going to get ghosting. The picture quality itself looks great though, so no worries there. We noticed the sound was a little on the quiet side, and even through headphones, it sounded tinny. Since it sounded great on my Droid 1, we’ve chalked this up to the hardware in the Nook Color, rather than the app. That being said, the sound quality is still more than sufficient for watching a movie in bed.
Honestly, I’m impressed. Getting such a well-functioning Netflix app in the market with only a single prior beta release is pretty awesome. There’s room for improvement, but this is already a solid bit of software. Naturally, your experience may be different than ours, so let us know in the comments if you’ve run into any problems.