Nintendo first teased Netflix on the 3DS at E3 last month, and now they're rolling out their version of the streaming video app, freely downloadable today from Nintendo's eShop. All you need to make it happen is the 3DS, a wireless Internet connection, and a Netflix streaming subscription.
Watching movies or even TV shows on handhelds isn't for me (or, for that matter, David Lynch) but it might be of more than passing "hey, look what my handheld can do!" interest to your children, who'll actually sit through something like Ponyo or Barney's Top 20 Countdown piped through a peewee 3.53-inch screen. The app may also at some point be of interest to "no-glasses 3D" fans—you know, when Netflix finally adds 3D content.
At the moment, Netflix is strictly a 2D shop. To be fair, the only service I'm aware that does stream 3D content is Vudu, and I'd wager Netflix support (for 3D video streaming, not Vudu!) is probably imminent.
Lest we forget, another feather in the 3DS version of Netflix's cap is that you'll be able to start watching a Netflix movie on the Wii, say, then pick up where you left off on the 3DS (or of course, vice versa). The app itself should function essentially like other mobile versions of Netflix on the iPhone and Android platforms.
It's not clear what resolution or ratio videos will stream at (the 3DS is capable of 800 by 240, but that's a bizarro 3.3 to 1 ratio). Some mistakenly describe the 3DS's screen as "high resolution," but what's usually meant by that phrase is something displayed at 1280 by 720 pixels or higher. Not that the distinction matters much on a tiny 3.5-inch screen, where something like the iPhone 4's 960 by 640 pixel display looks as sharp as a 1080p (1920 by 1080 pixel) high definition stream on a 40- or 50-inch TV.
Nintendo's also launching something called "Nintendo Video" in Japan and Europe today, basically a service for downloading free 2D and 3D videos. Expect a North American version later this summer, though what'll be on tap content-wise is anyone's guess. According to Andriasang, the Japanese version's launching with stuff like Tokyo Girls Collection (a fashion show), Yoshimoto Nintendo 3DS Experimental Theater (comedy skits—sounds a tick more interesting), and 3D Fura Fura Machi Aruki Kyoto (a 3D tour of Kyoto, Japan).