Saturday, February 5, 2011

Netflix PS3 upgrade is a big step backwards

Netflix is getting worse and worse. Apart from the fact that the service quality is degrading (frequent stops and poor image quality, and the new imposition of the limited number of devices that nobody had ever heard of before), they've just released a pointless user interface "upgrade" for the PS3 version that makes it considerably harder to use.

This screenshot shows four different Netflix layouts. We used to have the top right one. Now we have the bottom right one.

In detail:
  • Instead of showing 25 films per page, they now show 8. You can only scroll through them 3 at a time instead of 5, so scrolling through lists is 50% slower. Since we have about 200 movies bookmarked, and each scroll takes about 3 seconds to perform, it takes several minutes to get through our list.
  • They also removed the side menu allowing you to access different genres, and now you have to scroll through 15 pages of recommendations before you even get to the categories.
  • Even worse, the categories are unordered and they removed the sub-genres, so you now have to scroll through *all* foreign movies (3 at a time) rather than being able to go for, say, French comedies. That means scrolling through 1500 movies instead of 50, which is simply unbearable.
In other words, it's now incredibly slow and inefficient to use, and I cannot see any benefit to the user in doing it this way. It's a typical case of an upgrade for the sake of it.

Looks like I'm not the only person who's fed up either. Here are some extracts from the PS3 forums.

I also hate the change. What I do now is use my PC to search Netflix, and then add anything that I'm interested in to my instant queue.

The new menu stinks! I've only had netflix for a week.The old menu that allowed you to browse thousands of titles in an endless amount of sub categories was awesome. It allowed me to see programming that I could never find with the stupid, useless,regressed, going backwards setup that is in place now.It is completely rediculous to have to browse titles on your pc then search them on your ps3.

OMG this new menu is on purpose! I signed up with Netflix a few days ago and i had a menu that i could drill down through genres and find exactly what i wanted, then at some point this afternoon it changed to this crap. I just got off the phone with customer service from netflix and the guy told me this was a change they made based on customers who preferred it. I told him it's terrible and that having to search on the laptop and then back to the PS3 is redundant and a waste of time.

I also find the menu change to be annoying, they took an awesome service and made it intolerable. I also must use my PC and set it in my instant queue, they need to fix it back.
I used to love Netflix. Now I'm finding myself questioning every day whether it's worth the hassle. I'm off to post a couple of formal complaints on their FB page:


Perlith said...

To the author of this blog ... would you mind starting an online petition on this topic? I think a collective voice will have a lot more ... influence than a few individual customer service calls, facebook/forums postings, etc. Thanks.

Matt Kelland said...

I've found that online petitions rarely work as well as having thousands of people individually taking action.

It works like this. If you were an exec at a big company, and you got an email that basically said "I'm unhappy with this change to your service, and 10,000 people clicked a button to say they agreed with me," you'd maybe take notice. But if you got five thousand individual emails, all saying "I'm unhappy with this change to your service," your phone support was clogged for a week with people complaining, your FB site was full of complaints, #yourcompanysucks was a trending topic on Twitter, and when you Googled your company name you'd see hundreds of blog posts about the issue, being read by thousands of people, then you'd have to actually do something.

If you're unhappy about it, say something, as publicly as possible.

It works.

Carl Anderson said...

Hey, at least you _have_ Netflix. Here in Colombia, we make do with dodgy marketeers vending pirate copies (who, admittedly, often have far better selection and customer service than the few and poorly stocked legitimate outlets). Lack of transportation structure (and accompanying lack of a nationwide postal service) would prevent the traditional "disc mailing" practices of outfits like Netflix or the UK's LoveFilm, though since we do have fairly widespread and decent broadband, the pirates may eventually struggle with the advent of widespread online distribution.