Netflix launched an iPad app months ago that lets users stream movies and TV shows over WiFi or 3G connections. Now you can do the same on an iPhone or iPod touch.

The app has been redesigned to fit smaller screens. The app is divided into Home, Genres, Search, and Instant Queue tabs. From the Home screen you can see a list of popular content and a link to resume the last video you were watching.

Genres lets you browse by… you know, genre, to see TV shows, documentaries, horror flicks, comedies, drama, and so forth. When you actually click on a category, you’re presented with thumbnail images of movies, along with titles, release dates, run times, MPAA ratings, and user ratings. My one complaint is that Netflix goes out of its way to make sure there’s enough space for the thumbnail images — which means that there’s only room for about 3 titles per screen. You might have to spend a lot of time scrolling if you’re in a browsing mood.

Fortunately there’s also a search tab which shows you far more titles at once — at least on your initial search screen. Once you dig down into your results, you get the same layout as the genre tab.

If you don’t feel like browsing or searching on a mobile device, you can always just hit the Instant Queue tab, where you’ll see a list of titles you’ve added to your queue using the desktop version of Netflix. You can also add videos to your queue from the movie/episode detail pages.

As for video quality, it looks pretty good on my iPod touch with a 480 x 360 pixel display, streaming over a WiFi connection. I suspect videos might not look quite as good if you’re using the Netflix app over 3G with a higher resolution device such as the iPad or iPhone 4, but that’s just a hunch since I don’t have the means to test that theory.

This morning I spent a few minutes watching a Futurama movie and the beginning of Serenity, and both looked great. My only complaint is that the iPod touch speaker isn’t really loud enough to make watching movies on the small screen enjoyable without a decent set of headphones. But that has nothing to do with the Netflix app.

When I exited a video to do something else and then tapped on the video again later, it picked up right where I left off, which was a nice touch.

The Netflix app for iOS is available as a free download from the App Store, but you’ll need a Netflix account, starting at $8.99 per month in order to watch videos.

Update: As the folks at Business Insider point out, the new Netflix app doesn’t yet support fast app switching on iOS, and there’s no way to search the Netflix DVD library or manage your DVD queue.

You can check out more pictures of the app in action after the break.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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