Gadget review - Netflix

This on-demand internet television provider is now even better, writes Dr Richard Harkness.

The way we watch television is changing. The evolution began with taping to VHS, progressing to DVD recorders, and we now record to set-top boxes such as Sky+. TV on-demand is on the rise and Netflix is one of the leaders in this field.

Netflix has been available for a while, so why write about it now? Mainly because it has begun producing its own, very good, content.

The details

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GP rating 4 OUT OF 5

My personal recommendations include US political series House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, and more recently, Orange is the New Black, a high-quality prison drama (not one for the children).

When Netflix starts a series, you can access it in its entirety, so you can choose to have a marathon viewing session, or ration yourself to a few episodes at a time.

For those still playing technology catch-up, Netflix is an on-demand, streaming-only TV and film channel. It is online only, so you need to be connected to the internet to receive it.

You can watch it instantly on your computer, mobile, iPad or other tablet, Smart TV, PS3, game console or numerous connected TV boxes, such as the Apple TV.

The interface is well designed. Imagine you stop watching House of Cards on your iPad because you need to leave for a meeting. You arrive early, so you launch Netflix on your iPhone and continue watching the episode, exactly where you left off.

New releases

There are useful features such as a 'new releases' section, showcasing the better TV and film additions. Recommendations work well too; if you take a moment to leave a rating at the end of a viewing session, Netflix learns about the kind of programmes you like and improves its tailored suggestions.

If you are on Twitter, I would also strongly suggest following @NewOnNetflixUK. It's a good way to find out about additions Netflix does not promote elsewhere.

Netflix has an excellent 'just for kids' section, with a range of cartoons and children's shows. In our house, Johnny Test is forever in my 'recently played' list.

You can try Netflix free of charge for one month and it costs £5.99 per month thereafter. I recommend you give it a try.

  • Dr Harkness is a GP in Durham

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