"Netflix on 3DS? Pshaw... who cares? I know that service is on every device with a screen, but why would I want to watch things on that tiny little screen? And if I'm in the range of wifi, why don't I just watch on a laptop or a desktop attached to my TV?"
So, last week I was watching through the entire series of Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo on Netflix. Ultimately, the show was very interesting, and really well done, except the conclusion was a bit unsatisfying. Anyway, somewhere around episode 5, my laptop began to have trouble with Netflix's video player. I had no trouble streaming video from youtube or gametrailers or any other site, just Netflix. The audio would play fine but the video would start to become choppy and eventually start lagging (significantly) behind the audio. Netflix still worked just fine on our desktop, but that did me no good since Gankutsuou had become my "sleepy time" media distraction (some folks read, I play video games or watch videos).
I tried different web browsers, I tried updating some software... nothing worked. Then I thought, "hey! I've used my 3DS for Netflix at times when computers weren't available. This seems like one of those times!" So, I pulled the show up on my 3DS and away I went. Over the rest of the week I watched the remaining 19 episodes on my 3DS.
Here are the advantages I found over my laptop and my desktop/TV setups:
1. Portable. duh. The desktop/TV are not in my bedroom. Moving on ...
2a. My laptop gets very hot, as many do. Trying to use a hot laptop on top of bed blankets can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. I have a tray for in-bed computing but to watch something means I would have to tilt my head at a 45* angle for hours at a time. That is just plain uncomfortable.
2b. My laptop is a 17" beast. I really do love it and its screen is ideal for displaying videos. However, having a 17" laptop on your lap is kind of heavy and unwieldy. Often times I balance the laptop on one, angled thigh (as I'm doing now) and that works well. But it's not a hours-at-a-time solution.
The 3DS does not suffer from problems 2a or 2b because it barely heats up at all, and it can rest comfortably on my stomach or chest while I watch. Moving the screen closer to my face means the difference in screen size isn't that big a deal and since I've never been a resolution junky, I don't really notice the loss in detail.
3. The 3DS has a faster start up/shut down time than any computer I know of. Making it perfect for when you want to just "check out an episode" at a moment's notice.
Since last week, I've watched a few more items on my 3DS via Netflix. In fact, I've enjoyed it so much I was looking for a way to play downloaded video files on my 3DS. No such luck, but I would do it if I could!
So, hey ... thanks, 3DS. And if any of you find yourselves with similar problems/needs, don't overlook your mighty little handheld!