The DVD queue can be a real pain.
A Netflix subscriber might wait for an entire week to get their favorite film out of their queue.
A DVD retailer might keep a disc in a store for weeks, even months, before getting it out of a queue.
But there’s a simple fix: just leave it in the box.
And Netflix and Amazon are both working on a new DVD delivery app called Netflix Instant, with the promise of a better way.
“You can do this with the DVD itself, and you can also use it with the queue that’s attached to the box,” says David Kostin, senior vice president of product management at Netflix.
“It’s an entirely different model, but it’s the way to go.”
It’s a similar solution to that found on Amazon Prime, which has a similar app that works like a Netflix queue.
Netflix Instant is currently in beta testing, but Kostiin says that Amazon and Netflix are both looking into the possibility of introducing the feature in the coming months.
“The queue is really the last piece of the puzzle that the customer has to do to get the movie out,” he says.
“We have a lot of features that have been in our queue for a long time.”
So what does Netflix Instant do?
The app will take care of the other tasks that make it tricky to find movies and TV shows.
It will take into account the number of discs in your queue and how long it takes to get them out.
If there are two movies in your DVD queue, Netflix will use the one that’s in front of it as the priority.
If the queue is empty, Netflix says it will take the other movie.
If it’s empty and you’ve just seen the movie, Netflix won’t even try to find it until you’re ready.
The queue will also be used for ordering movies, but the app will be able to automatically find movies based on their genre, rating, and release dates.
If you can’t find the movie you want, Netflix Instant will ask you to sign up for a Netflix Prime membership.
That’s a $4.99 fee, and if you don’t have it already, it’ll cost you another $2.99 for a year.
“This is something that we’ve always been looking at,” says Kostikin.
“When you have an app that can actually do all of that, it makes all the difference.”
Netflix Instant works with a lot more than just movies.
Movies and TV episodes are also stored in the queue.
If one of your movies is coming up, Netflix is able to use the movie’s metadata to find the next best movie, and use that information to get you to your Netflix queue without having to open the app.
Movies can be ordered in any order, so if you want to watch the same movie over and over, you can just keep watching it until it’s finished.
The app also takes advantage of the Netflix queue’s feature of storing films in its own cache, which means that the app can download a movie and watch it offline.
“If you order a movie, it will be available for a period of time that is limited,” says Daniel Krasnick, a vice president at Netflix who’s helping launch the service.
“In that instance, it’s a one-time download.”
Netflix says that while the app currently only works for movies and shows, it may add support for more genres and releases in the future.
For now, you’ll just have to wait for Netflix Instant to catch up with its Netflix Prime brethren.