Netflix this week updated its iPad app with a more streamlined interface, but it deleted the option which allows uses to put movies in their physical DVD or Blu-Ray queue.
When the Netflix iPad app debuted last year, it looked more like the browser version of the service. The app now resembles the iPhone app, which cameos after the iPad version. This new stripped-down version gives users four menu options: Home, Genres, Search, and Instant Queue.
The "Home screen" provides access to new arrivals for both movies and TV shows. To get additional options, the user must tap "Genres" from the bottom menu, and browse films in various categories. If you don't know exactly what you want to watch, you simply tap "Search" and type in the movie name. To watch films already saved, tap "Instant Queue."
One option that's missing is the ability to add movies to your physical DVD queue from the Netflix app. If you search for a movie that's not available via "Watch Instantly" - like "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" for example, the Netflix iPad app will display a message that says "disc only" with no other options. Of course, you can always navigate to the browser-based Netflix.com on your iPad, iPhone or computer to add movies to your queue.
The update came without warning or notification. The app's page in the App store does not reflex the change either. The app's page indicates that the last update was in December 2010. Netflix confirmed the update, but provided no other details.
Netflix has long said that streaming is its future; it introduced a streaming-only option in the U.S. for $7.99 per month in November. Though physical DVDs aren't going anywhere for the next several years, Netflix has focused a lot of its attention on building up its streaming library so that one day it can become a streaming-only service. In recent months, it has added content from CBS, ABC, FilmDistrict, NBC Universal, Nu Image/Millennium Films, and more. The recent changes are not going to help their cause.
In addition to removing the "Add Disk to Queue" feature, the Netflix iPad app also is missing quite more. It is missing the "Similar" movies entries from the movie detail pages. This is even crazy! Sometimes I might review a movie's details and don't want to watch that particular movie, but end up watch a similar movie. The movie detail page is reduced to a description page. There is barely any information about the movie on the page; no customer reviews or anything.
Is Netflix trying get back at Apple for recent subscription changes? Are they making it where the iPad and iOS customers have to go to the Netflix web site, instead of doing things on the device? It sure looks that way. What it is going to do is piss off their customers, just like I am. Are we going to blame Apple, heck no, because Netflix is the one making these changes. Netflix better check their stats again, a whole iPad users are using this app, and we are not happy with the changes. Hulu Plus is starting to look better at this point.
They essential dummied the app down to a simple viewer. All actions that can be viewed as a transaction has been removed. They have made the app nothing more than a remote viewer of the the streaming media. All purchasing and transactions like moving of items to the queue has been reserved for the Netflix official website.
The below pictures are presently what the website looks like (from the iPad). This is the same way the iPad app used to look.
I spoke to a customer service representative who was aware of the "Add to DVD Queue" issue, but not aware of the other missing data in the iPad app. He said I was doing the right thing by calling and expressing my displeasure in the latest moves. You can do the same, call Netflix at 1-866-716-0414. You can call 24 hours a day. Use your service code, available of the web pages while logged into Netflix, for faster service.