Which Is Better for Netflix – PS3 or Xbox 360?

By now I’m sure you all have heard that Netflix streaming functionality is coming to the PS3 in the next month or so. This is good news for those who have a PS3 and no Xbox 360, but if you have both consoles, which one offers the better deal? What factors will go into your decision to use one console over the other for Netflix viewing? Ultimately, you have to answer that for yourself, because each person’s situation is different. But, to help you out, let’s break down the facts and look at each system specifically.

First, the Xbox 360 – this is the old reliable. Yes, laugh it up and say that “reliable” and “Xbox 360” in the same sentence is an oxymoron. But, as long as your Xbox 360 is working, the native Netflix application works wonderfully. In the last year or so, we’ve seen updates and improvements to the original incarnation of the service on Microsoft’s console. What was once an exercise in frustration has now become a rather smooth viewing experience, especially over an Internet connection that can handle the HD streams of modern television shows and movies reliably. There is one downside, however – you must have an Xbox Live Gold membership to use the Netflix service. This is in addition to the minimum of $8.99 you’re giving to Netflix for their least expensive monthly rate. So, that’s $50 a year and $9 per month on top of that. What it boils down to is asking yourself this question – are you getting your money’s worth?


Speaking of the cost of Xbox Live – Netflix might be worth $50 to you, but is it worth $100?  Michael Pachter seems to think someday soon you’ll be shelling out a Benjamin every year for the service.  Why would our beloved Microsoft do such a thing, you might ask?  They have you hooked.  The Xbox 360 is so entrenched in many gamers’ lives that they will feel obligated to pay the $100 to continue the service.  Or, in layman speak, to keep up with the Joneses.  Although, with Microsoft’s video service, which will soon be streaming video in 1080p, they have another hook in our mouths.  If,  in fact, the service does go to $100 per year, will they add more services, perhaps even those to compete against Netflix?  Consider a full HD streaming service for all the movies and TV shows they have available today – which is more than is available to stream on Netflix.  Think of having access to all those streaming, anytime you want, included in your $100.  How does that sound?  When you’re considering which console to stream Netflix on, you might be well advised to consider future prospects, as well.

If you’re already paying for a Gold membership, and you play a lot of games online, then, for the time being, it will likely be worth it to stick to your 360, because you’re going to be paying that $50 a year whether you use Netflix a lot or not. But, if you don’t, perhaps a look at the PS3, assuming you have Sony’s console, might be advised.

That provides a nice segue into why the PS3 might be the better option if you have an issue paying $50 (or more, in the future?) every year for Netflix access – Netflix on your PS3 is only $8.99 per month. Period. There is no yearly fee for playing games over the PSN, like there is with Xbox Live, so Sony is, for all intents and purposes, providing a pipeline to feed Netflix streaming to you for no additional charge.  You may think that Xbox Live is the superior service, but, while that has been true in the past, that might not necessarily be true anymore.  Sony has been taking strides with the PSN and bringing it pretty darn close in quality to Xbox Live as of late.  More quality exclusive titles are also bringing more people to the PSN, which causes Sony to drop even more money into improving the service.


The downside here is that the Netflix application will not run natively on the PS3, for whatever reason. (Read: Sony is probably too lazy to update the system’s firmware soon enough to support the Netflix app.) To that end, you will have to order a disc from Netflix and will have to have that disc in your PS3 whenever you want to watch something. The disc is free to all Netflix subscribers – for now. I expect them to begin charging for it at some point, but it shouldn’t be much.

There is also a ray of sunshine in this regard, if you feel that you’re too lazy to get up off the sofa to swap discs in your PS3 when you want to stop playing Uncharted 2 and watch 30 Rock instead.  Notice the wording from the official press release:

Initially, watching movies instantly streamed from Netflix via the PS3 system will be enabled by a free, instant streaming Blu-ray disc that is being made available to all Netflix members. The free instant streaming disc leverages Blu-ray’s BD-Live™ technology to access the Internet and activate the Netflix user interface on the PS3 system, which must be online via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

This seems to imply that Netflix may be working with Sony to get the application integrated natively, much like its Xbox 360 cousin. The use of the word “initially” seems to me to imply that the disc is a stop-gap measure to bridge the gap between when Netflix wants to go live with the service and when Sony is able to build the functionality into the PS3’s firmware.

One last thing to consider is the fact that Netflix is pretty darn reliable on the Xbox 360, while its reliability is untested on the PS3 as of yet (sans internal testing, of course). If you’re looking for a smoother experience and worry about interruptions in viewing, perhaps the 360 is the route to go until you can test the PS3’s capabilities over your connection.

If you own both consoles, it’s a toss up as to which one to use as your primary Netflix viewing device. If you are going to subscribe to Xbox Live anyway, I would probably recommend that console for Netflix viewing, simply because the application runs natively on the Xbox 360, and who knows when Sony will get around to integrating it into the XMB on the PS3. Myself, I will probably continue to use my Xbox, however I’ve already pre-ordered a PS3 Netflix disc, as well, just to have it in case my 360 goes belly-up. If you are thinking of buying one or the other for Netflix, the above information will be useful in determining which is the best route to go.

Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of using each device for Netflix viewing purposes:

Xbox 360:
Pros: No extra software to run, Netflix runs natively ~ Has been tweaked over the last year to run smoothly on the console
Cons: You must have an Xbox Live Gold membership to use Netflix, which is roughly an additional $4 per month on top of the base Netflix charge of $8.99 per month.

PlayStation 3:
Pros: The PSN is free to use, and Sony is allowing the Netflix application to continue that tradition.
Cons: A disc is required to run Netflix on the system initially ~ Untested reliability

A word on the availability of titles: The exact same titles will be available on the PS3 as is currently available on the Xbox 360 and other streaming devices, so don’t worry about that. When Netflix gets the rights to stream any given show, they have the rights to do so on any device that they serve.

My final thought: The better deal, at face value, is obviously the PS3, even if you have to go through some extra hoops to watch that episode of Heroes that you missed last week. The final decision rests with you, however, and whichever one you feel suits the way you use your consoles.

Join the Discussion

  • pp

    ps3 is for losers….It’s time to grow up and be a man it’s time to get a xbox360.

  • MetalGearRising

    Netflix is crap when we on xbox live have 1080p streaming and not forgetting soon SKY so u pathetic sony losers can go cry in the corner. Just like those droids on N4G.

  • MGS4



  • Selech

    Xboting from above posts?
    Well, I don’t why thought. 360 still has Netflix in the same way that they used to. It might even be tweaked a bit if they find something useful when they are working on the PS3.
    I guess MetalGearRising and PP might be just a really really tiny bit jealous.. But why not, PS3 gets something they have to pay for?

  • fanboys=gay

    “ps3 is for losers….It’s time to grow up and be a man it’s time to get a xbox360.”

    really? i think your the one who needs to grow up and grow a pair. your comment shows your a gay ass little boy because no man would say that.

    and all you fanboys bragging bout 1080p streaming, ok. its nice. but remember you pay for it. ps3 still gets netflix and sony has its own video store that is very good. and some movies sony has rights to that 360 cant have……still with no monthly pay(besides netflix if wanted).

  • lewis

    lol at the 360 fanboys(which is probably the same guy)! ok so you might need a disc, but also dont forget that sony is also introducing its OWN movie download/streaming application(hench why they’ve probably been lazy with making netflix run natively) id say right now go 360 because obviously its proven to run smoothly as its out, but lets not shoot sony down yet 🙂

  • chidesd

    I dont get it PS3 gets HD streaming to so whats with people saying the 360 version will be better. Netflix is also going to be embedded in PS3 in the future netflix is just trying to get PS3 owners movie straming as fast as possible. Im guessing the next firmware that adds cross game chat will also add netflix integration. meaning PS3 version will be the exact same as 360 version except cheaper meaning better

  • Dardin Kay

    How can you judge something that isn’t even out yet?

  • lol

    “ps3 is for losers….It’s time to grow up and be a man it’s time to get a xbox360.”

    any toddler can afford a 360, grow up and buy something that “does everything” out of the box without kiddy power ranger attachments

  • Lazyeye79

    He said something about streaming full HD videos on the 360 to compete with Netflix. The PS3 already has this feature and it includes many tv shows and movies that you cant get from netflix. So with netflix coming to the PS3, the PS3 will have the full package that the 360 doesnt have and wont have anytime soon.

  • Sekensy

    hey…HEY WTH!, flaming noobs! D: why can’t we all get along :O!

    xbox and ps3 are both great consoles, but I think netflix would be better on ps3, I see ps3 more of an entertainment console anyways, and 360 for hardcore gamers, YEAHP :O! makes perfect sense,

    but then again, I bring in the bills.


    To the two X-Bots in the beginning:
    It’s funny how now that Sony has Netflix it’s “crap”. When this was an exclusive for XBox you guys were bragging about how great your system was, and how it offered so much more then Sony. Microsoft has been ripping it’s customers off for years and I think some of you are just starting to realize it.
    Sony is catching up to your service whether or nor you want to admit it it is. We don’t have to pay for online service, we’re getting NetFlix and cross-game chat and we have a browser and Blu-Ray. Let’s not even get into games. Cheer up guys you still have Left 4 Dead 2.

  • @Dardin Kay: I wasn’t judging it, I was stating what we know, with some obvious cautions thrown in. Who knows, there might be an issue on the PS3 that requires some work that the Netflix and Sony guys didn’t know about. All I’m saying is that Netflix has been running well on the 360 for months, while it is still untested on a mass scale on the PS3.

    Other than that, nothing but facts. It’s kind of like a game preview: Here’s the facts, here’s what we can possibly expect based on those facts. Each person can decide what they want to do with those facts.

  • Blazian

    From what I was reading, because Microsoft had Netflix exclusivity. Sony is not able to integrate Netflix into the XMB immediately. Therefore, the Blu-ray disc provided for free so they can get it up and running by next month. That is why I believe they used the term “initially” when speaking about the disc. But I’m just glad PS3 is taking to new things whether or not it’s something the Xbox 360 has already.

  • only an idiot/fanboy will say 360 is better. Microsoft have all these oppunnity to make Xbxo 360 better, but once they have a good feature, they always rely on it for Xbox Live Gold Membership!

    Seriously, their greediness will cause their downfall!

    You give users Netflix, but wat’s the point when they have to be gold membership? Same with Sky, they have to be Gold Membership.

    I just hope Sony have something up their sleeve to counter the free Sky broadcast, because this stupid become a Gold membership to enjoy this and that is ridiculous!

  • Thank you for sharing such useful information of all 3 Famous video game player.You Explain very nicely the difference between this three.

  • adrianw

    can somebody explain how well the service runs on xbox when it is well known that the 360 sounds like a small helicopter taking of, dont forget you need to listen as well as watch netflix

  • @Xino: My intent wasn’t to say one console was better than the other. I’m a huge fan of both. I simply stated which one I felt held the better value for watching streaming media with Netflix. That’s it. This article was not about which console you like better, which one makes more noise or which one has the better recent exclusives. It was simply about the Netflix viewing experience. So all you fanboys trying to read something else into it can go make sweet love to your preferred console and save your breath for something else.

  • Heavy7666

    PS3 is the everything that Everyone wants it to be, I own both, the Xbox360 is fun for the most part. but why should I have to pay for the Online service that I get for free … PSN is user friendly, it makes sence to me. Xbox’s not so much (for me). Probably why I just bought a second PS3, gotta have my Blue Ray, Game Console, Picture station, PSEye’s … EVERYTHING available for both my Family gathering areas. the Xbox360 just doesn’t do it for me on toooo many levels

  • lewis

    @chad awkerman true, but i think the 360 fanboys at the top are to blame, personally

  • Bass XX

    I own both 360 and ps3. I only bought the 360 in the first place so I’d have something to tie me down until the ps3 came out. I got 2 elites and a white xbox and I got 3 orginal 60 gig ps3 and soon hopes to get a slim. Ya’ll might think I’m f****ing crazy but because I never paid for xbox live a day in my life ive always found alittle extra money lying around. Hell even my brother refuses to pay for xbox live and he’s the 360 fanboy of the house.

  • tarbis

    Tell me, how many xcrap did you buy just to replace your dead ones and to bump up the xcrap sales?

  • adam

    How about everyone who doesn’t own both just stfu? How much of a loser can you be for using a word like ‘xbot’ or ‘xcrap’ ? How about getting your money up and get both, it’s been how long since these two been out already? It’s time to go multiplatform. I own both and every multiplatform game goes to my 360, my PS3 is used just for the bluray and exclusive titles. I don’t have NetFlix cause it’s useless when you can just download movies on your laptop, connect it to a VGA to your tv and just watch

  • how long does it take to download, and y wuld i wanna plug in a cord from my laptop to my tv, now thats useless, i have all 3 platforms and i 2 buy all my games for 360 and blur ray and exclusives on ps3 but netflix is very useful if your with company and wanna watch a movie quick or even to watch full seasons of a show, so by the time im done watching my entire season i think ur download will be over

  • Civilian_X

    lol, 360 fanboys… its down to this, the service is the same, but on ps3 there is no required subscription that runs to $50.


    PS3 Netflix =8.99 a month
    Xbox 360 Netflix =8.99 a month+ $50 a year required Xbox Live Gold Subscription

  • I have already seen it somethere…

  • PJ

    I have tried both. If you use netflix and want to stream on your TV, either one is fine. There are only two differences. On the 360, you need Xbox Live Gold. On the PS3 you need to have that disc running, which seems to slow the interface (compared to on the 360).

    With that said, I personally like the idea of the streaming service, but the execution in the service is lacking. There is no search feature, so if I want to see a movie, I first need to know its complete title, and then the genre it belongs to. It may be nitpicking, but this feature is an important omission. Browsing through a few hundred movies looking for one title that I don’t remember the name of is not my idea of entertainment.

    This brings me to the other thing that bothered me, the lack of selection. Don’t roll out a service where the only movie I found worth watching was Drunken Master. I honestly think this service came out too soon.

  • Jbones

    Okay okay… This is how I see it.

    I have an Xbox, and my brother just recently bought a PS3.

    The PS3 is much more aesthetically pleasing, and I love the free online gaming, and the operating system. However; there isn’t much comparison to the Xbox when you look at the Netflix. You can fly through the selections, and navitgate your way around Netflix with ease on the XBox.
    The overall look and navigation on PS3 is just rudimentary. Not to mention you must insert a disc before watching. This takes time, and added time to load the disc. Everything seems to be slow (while you surf, watch, rewind, and stop). But I am sure they will eventually fix the kinks.

    So, set aside from the annual cost, the xbox is currently the winner by far in my opinion in terms of Netflix. Although if I were to choose a gaming system to buy now, without previously owning either one, I would have to get a PS3 for other obvious reasons

  • As a Starter, I am forever looking on-line for articles that can help me. Thanks

  • Jon

    I own a 360, a ps3, and a wii. And I enjoy them in that order. 360 is a far better gaming system (excluding the fine additions of Uncharted 2 and God of War 3), but my 80gb PS3 STILL has load times faster than the Oppo blu ray player. BOTH systems have their advantages. I think it’s funny when someone who only owns ONE system says that it’s SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE OTHER when they haven’t spent thousands of hours on each of them. I will probably get netflix on my 360 until the PS3 gets a firmware where a disc isn’t needed. But 360 fanboys can’t watch Planet Earth or The Dark Knight in 1080p, so the system bashing is just jealousy. (And yes, the wii is pretty lame :D)

  • chris

    I think it’s funny how at every chance the ps3 fanboys get they bash the xbox 360 even when the 360 is proven better time and time again.

  • gow

    xbox hand down ps3 is a crapy sys just like all sony crap over priced. quit saying that we have to pay for live. IT’S 50 dollors a year. return cans if you have to,get live more people exc downloads great network. ps3 is still over priced. LONG LIVE THE BOX

    • Wow. That was the most ridiculous comment I’ve ever read. Why? Because it didn’t make an ounce of sense in the English language. Not sure if I should make fun of your atrocious use of English grammar, or the fact that you’re a representing the Xbox community writing as if you’re the result of incest. I hope that your response is along the lines of “I was typing by jumping up and down on my keyboard with my ass,” as it is the only thing that’s acceptable from this horrendous concoction of punctuation and spelling. May god have mercy on your soul. You, sir, get a thumbs down.

      • Somehow, I agree with you, Yaris. Gow, you have been deuced. Now, take a shower buddy.

      • Layne

        I believe you have a few errors of your own there bud. More specifically “May God have…” You forgot to capitalize the most important of all proper nouns.

        • God only needs to be capitalized if I’m a theist or believe in monotheism. Because I’m not a religious aficionado, I don’t have to capitalize the word “god.”

          Thanks for trying, though, Layne. 😉

  • Layne

    Sorry to say it but no one buys xbox live just for netflix compatibility. The xbox provides a stronger and more reliable stream of data for the movies on netflix while the ps3 does a decent job, the constant rebuffering in key moments seems to ruin the experience of the movie I am watching. I will say though, that both systems out do the Wii on all fronts but most importantly selection.

  • tom

    well, everyone is gay aside for me.. haha. In truth the ps3 sucks d***next to the 360.. netflix wise. (I have both) ps3 is shitty! you have to load all your s*** on your netflix disk to watch it on you playstation.. s****! 360, bam! got all the s*** you can watch instantly right there. there both good game wise… online is better for 360.. just by a little now though, ps3 has got better…

    • In my personal opinion, the PS3 has the better experience for one main reason: the search function. Sure, at this juncture, the Xbox might have slightly better streaming (not really by much); however, the PS3’s Netflix – which, keep in mind, uses a disc – provides a search function that lets you search for titles. I believe that right there is a stronger perk. Forget the fact that you need to use a disc; overall functionality and features, the PS3 version takes the cake. And yes, a “Search” function is important.

    • Yout don’t have to “load all your s*** on your netflix disk” to watch it, you need the disc because that contains the application by which you access your queue.

      Besides the interface, everything should be the same because it’s pulling off the same servers at Netflix. Plus, yeah, the PS3 has search, while the 360 does not at this point.

      Another plus is that the PS3 version can be updated by Netflix themselves on their server side, which is why it has search at the moment. The 360 version must be updated through Microsoft, so it doesn’t get new features as often.

      So, I think things are pretty even right now, if not leaning toward the PS3 being better. Once the disc is no longer needed, there will be no question.

  • Amongst my family we tend to own several video game consoles which includes Xbox360, Playstation 3 and also now have 3 Nintendo Ds among us.

  • Anonymous

    As per my own view, PS3 is much better than Xbox for Netflix. Because i have got netflix on PS3 and still not getting any issues..

  • pasword146 (online)

    ps3 is great for netflix

  • Hungryme12

    ps3 is good