A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how the iPhone app, iFlix, was Netflix Heaven on the iPhone. I’m happy to announce that heaven looks that much brighter for us iPhone toutingÂ Netflix subscribers! The iFlix team has been pretty busy as they have just released iFlix 2. And I have to say that every criticism that I had with iFlix version 1 has been addressed in the version 2 release.Â
First of all, the iFlix interface has seen an uplift in version 2 courtesy of Alex Marchuk (iFlix interface and website developer). The upgrade to the interface is not only pleasant to the eye but also made managing my Netflix queue that much easier.
One of the major gripes I had with the original release was the inability to select movies by format (DVD or Blu-ray). Now, when you search for a movie title, the search results bring back detailed information about each movie, including whether or not the movie is available in Blu-ray format. Being able to see Netflix ratings and MPAA ratings alongside the search results are added (and welcome) bonuses. Oh yeah, you can also browse by Blu-ray now as well.Â
I’m a bit envious of the people who can use the Watch Instantly feature on Netflix (I run a Mac and Netflix currently does not support Watch Instantly on the Macintosh). With Watch Instantly, you have access to movies and TV shows that you can watch directly on your PC or 3rd party media player like an XBox 360 or Roku Player. iFlix 2 now not only supports the regular Netlfix snail mail queue but also supports instant queue management, which means adding movies to view on your PC, Xbox 360, or Roku Player is that much easier.Â
iFlix has also improved on the rating system. Not only can you easily rate a movie from within iFlix but iFlix is intuitive enough to tell you which movies you’ve already rated by marking those ratings in yellow rather than the standard red.Â
I was fortunate enough to have a word with iFlix developer, Brent Jensen. Here’s what we talked about.
Coty: I noticed that Brent Jensen is not listed with the rest of the team of the iFlix 2 website, is Brent no longer affiliated with the project? If not, why?
Brent: That’s just me being modest. My name’s on it for the App Store, so I wasn’t too worried about the site. It looks like Alex took note after your question and has added my name to the site.
(Update: Alex has added Brent’s name to the footer of the iFlix homepage. We can all sleep better now, LOL.)
Coty: The iFlix homepage also has changed, from the specific iFlixMobile.com to the more general and encompassing iPhonevine.com. Does this mean that there will be more iPhone based apps coming from your team?
Brent: For now, Alex Marchuk is hosting the site because of his amazing skills with design (and my lack of love for website development). You may see more apps hosted here, either made by me, or something that Alex has collaborated on. I’d love to have time to work on a lot more great apps, but for now my day job and iFlix keep me too busy to take on much else. I am working with my brother on a word search game for the iPhone, but it’s got a ways to go.
Coty: iFlix has definitely helped to fill in the gap for Netflix users wanting a mobile solution. Why do you think Netflix has not released a native application on their own?
Brent: Larger companies are always going to be more hesitant to jump right into a new platform. Since releasing an app represents a commitment to the platform, especially for a big company, they’ve got to pick and choose where they’ll invest. I would love to work with Netflix on improving the application, or even releasing it oficially, if they were ever to express interest.
Coty: iFlix 2.0 has added some killer functionality, such as the ability to view and add Blu-ray titles to your queue, a new interface and the ability to have detailed info like ratings literally at our fingertips. Where does iFlix 2.0 go from here? What are some things that you still would like to improve on?
Brent: The major focus right now is on performance and stability. As far as new features (e.g. iFlix 3.0), those are all still in the brainstorming phase. I’m certainly open to suggestions. A big fix is on it’s way that drastically improves scrolling and drag reordering, along with a nasty bug that’s been keeping some users from enjoying the “Detailed Queue” feature of iFlix 2.0.
Coty: There have been some controversy over the way that Apple has handled the App Store, specifically with developers. For instance, Apple has received some flack for not allowing developers to openly discuss program development with other developers. What are your thoughts on this?
Brent: There certainly are some frustrations, for me mostly with the inability to have more control over updates and responding to reviewers. A lot of times a reviewer will express frustration, or say they wish there was this or that feature, and the feature is in iFlix, or there is a work around for their issue, but I’ve got no way of contacting them. It would also be really nice to be able to build a customer base with a contact list, but the App Store doesn’t allow for that. For the most part though, I think Apple has created a fantastic platform, and given me a way to get my software out there to be enjoyed by more users than might have ever been possible with the App Store.
*I’d like to thank Brent Jensen for taking the time to talk to me (much appreciated!) and Alex Marchuk for letting me know of the iFlix 2 updates (much appreciated as well!). Keep up the great work, iFlix team!