The Instantwatcher is a lie?!?!?
January 22, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

What is the deal with not showing all available titles?

I've long used to navigate the available streaming titles on Netflix. Recently, a friend suggested 'The Increasingly Bad Decisions of Todd Margaret', saying it was available on netflix streaming. I immediately popped over to instantwatcher to search ofor it and no dice. I checked on and sure enough, there it is available for streaming.

At first I chalked it up to an error or oversite, but then while on I saw that Portlandia is available on netflix streaming but also never showed up on instantwatcher.

Does anyone know what the deal is? Is it something nefarious?

Should I stop relying on instantwatcher? I just can't stomach browsing on though, soooo damn cumbersome. Any other sites to search netflix streaming?
posted by ian1977 to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Recently on Netflix Canada, Portlandia and Todd Margaret were both posted on (what I think must be) the equivalent of Instantwatcher for Netflix Canada (, but both shows quickly disappeared off of Netflix. Possibly there might be something going on with those specific shows rather than Instantwatcher.
posted by pised at 6:48 PM on January 22, 2012

(ugh, terrible wording in that first line; sorry)
posted by pised at 6:49 PM on January 22, 2012

Nefarious? Not sure where you're going with this. If Instantwatcher is a duly licensed user of the Netflix API, it's more likely to be a glitch in the API of some sort. It seems like the whole point of the API is to get more people to watch Netflix movies, so hiding them sounds more like a bug than a feature.

Of course, there could always be some weird contractual thing going on where they can't expose it, but that feels less likely to me.
posted by dhartung at 12:15 AM on January 23, 2012

Response by poster: Of course, there could always be some weird contractual thing going on where they can't expose it, but that feels less likely to me.

Yes that is what I was (somewhat sarcastically, but not completely) suggesting. Both of those titles seem popular. I was wondering if they were trying to throttle it somehow. ?? Probably not, but i just couldn't fathom why those two titles wouldn't show up.
posted by ian1977 at 4:15 AM on January 23, 2012

Perhaps you spelled the title wrong on InstantWatcher while searching because in your question you asked about The Increasingly Bad Decisions of Todd Margaret when it's actually called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.

As for Portlandia, dunno, that's weird. Lately I've noticed that you can sometimes get better results from Instantwatcher by searching for the actor's name and then clicking "Search all Netflix titles for firstname lastname". That will kick you over to Netflix proper where you can then see if what you want is available for streaming. It's a kludge, I know, but it's better than having to use the slow-assed Netflix search all the time.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:16 AM on January 23, 2012

I'm having a similar issue with the IQueue Netflix app-it lists things recently as only available on disc when i am able to find them and watch instantly via the Xbox app.
posted by purenitrous at 1:19 PM on January 23, 2012

Best answer: Funny thing, watching the 'Newly Available' page on instantwatcher they often come in bursts and hiccups. For instance there had been nothing new since the 18th and today there are six pages of new releases (including your two). This is not an uncommon occurance, I check the new arrivals every couple of days and this often happens.

I would guess that maybe Netflix puts them up and streams them on demand, but doesn't publish them via the API until they've been propagated to all of their geographically located caches.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:50 PM on January 23, 2012

Response by poster: zengargoyles answer makes good enough sense.

Kind of a bummer though, I had long labored under the illusion that instantwatcher was up to date. It is the first thing I check in the morning. sad.
posted by ian1977 at 8:38 AM on January 24, 2012

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