INSTANT WATCHER, FIXABLE

Flixable is a search engine for Netflix-specific streaming video. It features a more open design that lets the page elements breathe, and offers a pleasing way to browse what movies are debuting and leaving.

Fixable’s search function isn’t necessarily better than Netflix’s native search function; it just presents its results in a prettier package. That package would be more useful if I could hover my cursor over a movie and have its star rating, summary, etc. presented in a float-over box, as Netflix does.

On a different plane of reality – functionally and visually – is Instant Watcher.

Instant Watcher used to exist as a very handy iOS app back in the day; its online incarnation explodes onto your browser all manner of content, tools, pictures, keywords, and faceted search functions, all at the same time. When the page opens, my eye is so besieged I don’t know where to look.

But what Instant Watcher lacks in loveliness, it makes up for with sheer brawn.

For one thing, you can search Netflix (the default) or Amazon individually for streaming videos. If you subscribe to one service but not the other, this is useful (particularly for Amazon; its has no functional search and discovery tools to aid users).

Or – and this is the handy part – you can search both services’ combined listing.

Search on “Batman”, for example.

As busy as the results page is (do we really need all of those genre checkboxes? and that sidebar?), it offers a lot of power. Clear the “Amazon Non-Prime” checkbox, for example, to show the Prime-only items. Now, I quickly see that Netflix has the live-action Batman movies for streaming, while Amazon Prime carries the wonderful ’90s animated series.

The Amazon Non-Prime selections include a miscellany, such as the 1940s movie serial, the 1960s TV show, and even what appear to be customer videos reviewing Batman-related products. I mean, what?? You get more results with Non-Prime, but also a lot of junk.

One of Instant Watcher’s big advantages for Netflix searching is its single page listing all genres, with the number of movies in each. We discover, for example, there are four silent movies available for streaming, 128 Britcoms, and all of their International movies helpfully broken out by country. This really is the best way to see what’s available on Netflix.

But even more so Amazon. According to the site, Netflix offers 6,933 titles. That’s a lot, but it’s spread over a fair number of genres and so somewhat easy to grasp.

But there are 112,625 Amazon titles, with Prime alone holding 46,628. Holy crap. Does the world even need this many things to watch as we, to quote Peter Cook, "sink giggling into the sea"? Nevertheless,  if you want to find a needle in these haystacks, then Instant Watcher is the way to do it.