Detailed on the Windows Phone store, Netflix updated the Netflix Instant streaming video application for Windows 8 Phone users in order to support 720p playback on select phones. Windows 8 Phone users will be happy that this update removes the black bars from 720p capable displays on smartphones like the HTC Windows Phone 8X and Samsung ATIV S. This is the first version of the application specifically built for the Windows Phone 8 platform. The update is fairly small, just 2MB in size. The application is free to download, but requires a Netflix subscription to activate.
Prior to this point, Windows Phone 8 users were forced to use an application built for Windows Phone 7.5. Rather than offering playback with a 16:9 aspect ratio, the previous version forced the perspective into a 5:3 aspect ratio at a much lower 800×480 resolution.
One of the few devices that was able to display video without the back bars on the screen was the Nokia Lumia 920. That was specifically due to the 1280×768 resolution of the Nokia Lumia 920 display.
While the Netflix application for iOS and Android platforms receive a constant stream of revisions, Netflix for the Windows Phone platform has remained relatively unchanged since it launched during 2010. Both the iOS and Android versions of Netflix received upgrades over the last six months, specifically to create a more uniform experience between the Web platform as well as the gaming platforms on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In addition, Netflix added a feature to the iOS and Android platforms last year that allows users to control content selection from a smartphone when linked to a PlayStation 3 over the home’s wireless network.
Despite the lack of Netflix updates to the version on the Windows Phone platform, Windows Phone 8 users may just be happy that they have access to a native Netflix application. Last month, Netflix stated the company has no plans to develop an native application for BlackBerry 10 users.