Want to know which Netflix movies currently feature subtitles? There is now a page for that. According to Netflix’s chief product officer Neil Hunt, the company currently offers subtitles for about 30% of its catalog and the plan is to bring this feature to “80% of viewing coverage” by the end of the year.
Update (7/20/2011): Roku has now announced the next version of its hardware. This new version include a new Netflix channel with subtitles. It’s not clear yet if the old hardware will also get the same update.
The lack of subtitles has long been a major criticism of the company’s otherwise stellar service. Indeed, as much as I love Netflix’s streaming service on my Roku box, the fact that it doesn’t offer closed captioning makes it a bit less appealing. While international films all feature subtitles already (because they are “burned in” to the picture) and a lot of the company’s streaming content already supports subtitles, you can’t see them if you watch on a Roku box or Xbox 360 because the native Netflix players on these devices don’t support this feature yet. This will soon change, though. According to the company’s latest update, both the Roku box and Xbox 360 will get updated Netflix players with support for subtitles “this summer or later.”
It’s worth noting that those who watch Netflix on their PCs, Macs, Nintendo Wiis, PlayStations, Google TVs and Boxee Boxes can choose to see subtitles on their devices.