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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

PostPoints tip: Quick help for Netflix instant viewers

By Rob Pegoraro

Netflix's "Watch Instantly" streaming-video service makes it fantastically easy to watch movies and TV shows on a wide variety of devices (with sufficiently fast bandwidth and payment of $7.99 a month). But its selection can be more than a tad erratic, between titles that take their time to arrive and those that disappear from Netflix's inventory at arbitrary times. And while Netflix can be good about suggesting movies that match its understanding of your tastes, it's not as helpful in advising you about the schedule-driven quirks of its catalogue.

Instead, try a free site called Instantwatcher, which lists which movies are about to depart and soon to arrive on the Watch Instantly list -- among a great many other details. Created by Cambridge, Mass., software developer Daniel Choi, the site employs Netflix's public database framework to provide a fuller picture of the site's streaming inventory. A $9.95/year premium service (which I haven't tried) allows you to edit your Watch Instantly queue directly from the site and dispels its ads.

(About the "PostPoints tip" title: I archive each tip-of-the-week e-mail we send to PostPoints members under this blog's "Tips" category. Today's item went out on Dec. 26.)

Meanwhile...

* Sunday's column addressed a subject that's become a non-trivial part of the Post's tech coverage: rumors and other thinly-sourced reports about upcoming gadgets and applications. People love to read this kind of news -- but many of these tidbits turn out to be a waste of time. So I decided to write a column about how to tell useful rumors from idle gossip.

* In Help File, I circle back to a topic I wrote about in 2007: the inability of some mapping sites to route drivers on Interstate 66 inside the Beltway.

By Rob Pegoraro  | March 7, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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Comments

I'm not too sure how useful it will be for me. I still have to key in and search for every movie I'd like to see.

What I'd really like to be able to do is maintain MY list (spreadsheet) that I could periodically upload (as csv) and have automation (what a concept! ... let a machine do the druggery ;-)) beat the list against what's available on Netflix. VUDU also.

Posted by: WillJ1 | March 7, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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