How the Netflix Mobile App Works

A sign posted in front of the Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California.
A sign posted in front of the Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ever start watching a movie and then pause it because you have to leave home? You don't have to leave your Netflix movies in the middle anymore. Now you can watch the whole thing, anywhere, with the Netflix mobile app. This lets you view movies and TV shows on a smartphone or tablet. The best part? There's no extra charge, as long as you already subscribe to Netflix. The catch? You've got to have the right phone or tablet.

Android, Apple, and Windows 7 mobile-device owners can all access the Netflix mobile app. However, the application has come under fire lately for its relatively limited Android release. Only a handful of Android systems can support the Netflix streaming so far [source: Broida]. Netflix says it's working fast to bring video streaming to more mobile systems, but it's hampered by the lack of standardized streaming playback features across Android phones [source: Netflix].

The company has been releasing limited apps for years. As early as 2009, you could manage your queues from your mobile device and watch video previews [source: Pasch]. But it wasn't until 2010 that you could actually view a full-length feature or TV show on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Since then, Netflix competitor Hulu has released a similar application for its "Plus" subscribers [source: Hulu].

But for the price you pay for Netflix streaming, (currently starts at just $7.99 a month), you won't find a better movie-viewing application. Here's how to get it.