Using Netflix with a Yamaha iPod dock

I’ve been playing with Netflix, like a lot of people, seeing what the new service is like. In short – you’ll be able to read a longer article next week on Register Hardware – I like it. For the sort of things I want to watch, the £5.99 is a pretty good deal.

There’s one niggle; my own TV set is one of the first generation Panasonic VieraCast sets, which doesn’t even support AceTrax, and isn’t going to get an update for things like that, so there’ll be no Netflix. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a Samsung 8000 series set here for testing, which is a great bit of kit, but sadly it’ll be going back soon.

Is that the end of my Netflix usage? Perhaps not; there’s an iOS app for Netflix, and I do have an iPod Touch. I also have a dock for my AV amp, which I’ve used in the past to play video from the iPod through the TV, taking advantage of the free weekly downloads from Orange.

That works pretty well, though I do have to alter the settings in the AV amp to stop video processing, if I want the picture to fill the screen. The amp is a Yamaha RX-V667, and I’m using the YDS-12 dock.

The problem

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so well with Netflix; when you plug the iPod (or iPhone) in to the dock, you get an on-screen menu that can be used to select movies and music on the iPod. If you’re playing content, like movie rentals from iTunes, that appears in the menus, that’s fine – when you select a movie, the menus go away.

Start up Netflix and start watching, and you get this, instead:

Yamaha Dock Menu
Yamaha's dock menu overlays the video from the iPod - not much use for Netflix

I tried in vain using the obvious options to get rid of this, checking all the settings in the menus, and using that ‘x’ at the bottom right of the screen. No joy. The sound and video play fine, with the dock menu sitting on top.

The fix

Googling turned up the answer, and it’s thankfully a simply one: Just press the ‘rec’ button on the AV receiver’s remote control, and the menu disappears, until the next time you plug your iOS device in. I don’t know why they chose that, instead of the ‘close’ icon on the screen, but at least now you’ll be able to use an iPod touch or iPhone with your Yahama dock to enjoy Netflix full screen, if it’s not built in to your TV set.

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