Netflix API Forums

API Forum

RSS Feed

Can one search for a Genre?

  1. Can one search for a Genre?

    Is there a way I can say show me all movies with genre of action?


    Message edited by gobanjoboy 2 years ago


  2. priya6 years ago

    Although there is no direct support for this through the search API, one of the ways that this could be done is to walk through the catalog (you could access the catalog through and filter for the titles with genre = "the genre you are interested in", in this case (action).


  3. gobanjoboy6 years ago

    Any idea what the total size of the catalog index xml is? Doesn't this method task your servers?

  4. Michael Hart6 years ago

    It's about 180MB. It will be much smaller when we enable inline gzip in the near future.

    The typical usage pattern is to download this file daily, so it's not really taxing our users. If we start to to see too frequent access by badly designed apps, we'll put a specific access limit on it.

  5. foobaz utne6 years ago

    Can we just download the index directly?

  6. Michael Hart6 years ago

    It depends on what you mean by "directly". Can you explain?

  7. foobaz utne6 years ago

    I mean a direct link to the xml file you said was 180 MB so we can have a local copy to test on.

  8. priya6 years ago

    You could access the catalog through and write the file out to get a local copy.

  9. thirteen236 years ago

    In my opinion, this is a really limiting factor of the API. It now places the burden on the developer to create a server solution for something that could easily be surfaced in the API (which essentially limits all but commercial implementations from being viable).

    90% of the Netflix site is dedicated to browsing the catalog, either via genres, new releases, critics' picks, etc...

  10. Michael Hart6 years ago

    I can tell you that very little of the site usage is browsing. It's much less than search and recommendations.

  11. thirteen236 years ago

    Hi Michael-

    I'd love to have a chat with you sometime about what you do see in site usage. Anyway, we are just building a small lab, but we think that it is necessary for the experience.

    Either way we found them here, though:

    You can have a look at the design direction for the app on our blog:

  12. foobaz utne6 years ago

    > You could access the catalog through and write the file out to get a local copy.

    Can you provide some simple code to do this using just the API Key and the Shared Secret?

  13. Unknown6 years ago

    foobaz, if you send me an email at I will set you up with my .NET code. It is still very much a work in progress, but I am at the point where I can download the index in two lines:

    Dim con As New NetflixConnection(consumerKey, consumerSecret)

  14. foobaz utne6 years ago

    Thanks priya. That worked.

  15. priyanka5 years ago


    Can anyone suggest a way to get catalog index file using java NetflixAPIClient?


  16. JR Conlin5 years ago

    It's a standard call to You should be able to fetch the data using a regular call.

    Be advised that the returned data set is large (~300 MB) so you may wish to fetch this data directly to a file.

  17. Michael Hart5 years ago

    Also read the API conventions documentation on gzip to make sure you're making the download as small as possible.

  18. priyanka5 years ago

    I used the Accept-Encoding parameter in my call parameters, set its value to gzip and tried getting the catalog index file by quering using makeConsumerSignedApiCall from the java netflix api.
    This gives "out of memory error" even though I increased the memory limit.

    Please let me know if the way of specifying Accept-Encoding is correct.


  19. priyanka5 years ago

    Any update on the Accept-Encoding property in java API.


  20. John Petrilli5 years ago

    any help on how to fetch the entire catalog like this using php?

    I am at a loss.

    I have my app completely working but this would make my app much better if I could do this once a day.

  21. JR Conlin5 years ago

    @John: At the bottom of the "Resources" page, i've got a tiny little tutorial about fetching catalog entries using PHP and Curl. For the catalog index, you probably don't want to just have it output to the screen, obviously, but route the result to a file. The PHP docs have lots of info about doing that (See "curl_setopt" for details). You can get the full catalog using the "" service.

    @priyanka: I'm not 100% sure how that library works, but the catalog index is close to 320MB uncompressed. If you need to pre-assign memory for the receiving buffer, make sure that you're allocating at least that much (I'd actually recommend 400MB to allow for growth). A potentially better solution would be to have the class write the file directly to disk. I believe that the code is available for that class should you need to modify it.

  22. priyanka5 years ago

    Thanks for your help.
    I got the catalog file!

  23. John Petrilli5 years ago

    Thanks JR. I am going to give it try tomorrow.


  24. eddiewebb5 years ago

    I am using the netflix api on mobile devices - I can't download 300MB to a user's android regardless of how infrequently. For now I may write a PHP script to act as a search service.

    Are there any plans to implement a genre/actor search in the future?



  25. Michael Hart5 years ago

    That feature, and more, are definitely on the search roadmap, but it's going to be awhile still until it appears in the API. I wouldn't expect it before late Q1.

    Genre searching is pretty easy, but when you get into sorts, other search or filter criteria it gets complex from both an implementation and interface perspective pretty quickly. It's probably the #1 feature in our backlog from a desirability perspective, but also one of the most difficult to implement.

    The best short-term option is to download the catalog index, park it on a server in AWS or something and then have your client call it for catalog subsets.

[ Page 1 of 2 | Next ]

New posts are not allowed