Netflix Introduces “Watch Now” Download Service

January 17, 2007

NetflixI have to admit I struggled a bit with the post title here. Netflix didn’t exactly announce movie downloads as HomeMediaMagazine.com indicated in the opening lines of this article but the on-line rental service did take the first significant step toward that eventuality. Starting in June Netflix subscribers will be able to “instantly” stream standard definition movies to their internet browser. Initially the “Watch Now” (link may require login) titles will be limited to a pre-defined selection of around a thousand titles or so but Netflix states they’ll work toward expanding the service to encompass their entire library.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumors of a download service from Netflix but I have to wonder, in its current/future state just how many consumers will take advantage of ‘browser flicks’. In my estimation Netflix needs to pursue the other distribution methods mentioned in the HMM article to maximize the potential here:

“Over the coming years we’ll expand our selection of films, and we’ll work to get to every Internet-connected screen, from cell phones to PCs to plasma screens. The PC screen is the best Internet-connected screen today, so we are starting there.”

Devices like AppleTV, the PS3 and DVR’s would obviously offer quicker (and less expensive) entry points into the internet connected living room than a proprietary Netflix “box”, but I can think of one internet capable home entertainment device that’s already (or soon to be) in over 10 million US homes. If Netflix and Microsoft were to enter into a partnership to deliver Netflix “rentals” to Xbox 360 owners the ramifications could be huge… What do ya think the chances are that a Netflix – Xbox 360 partnership has already crossed the minds of the executives over at Netflix?



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HTPC, Media Servers


Comments

  • Candice Clinkscales

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  • Brad Isbell

    I gotta say, after trying the “Watch Now” service, I’m quite impressed. I signed up for Netflix the other day for their mail service, and didn’t discover “Watch Now” until after I was a member. I watched 3 movies yesterday and another today. Having only a 1.5mbit internet connection, the quality I got was the lowest of the 3 options, but it wasn’t bad and was entirely watchable. Don’t expect crystal clear DVD quality, but the quality had almost no effect on my viewing experience. Once I started watching the movie, I forgot all about the computer. No buffering or anything. Now if I could just incorporate this service into the HTPC software I’m working on, it’d be great! 2,000 movies selectable with my remote would be cool.

  • Brad Isbell

    I gotta say, after trying the “Watch Now” service, I’m quite impressed. I signed up for Netflix the other day for their mail service, and didn’t discover “Watch Now” until after I was a member. I watched 3 movies yesterday and another today. Having only a 1.5mbit internet connection, the quality I got was the lowest of the 3 options, but it wasn’t bad and was entirely watchable. Don’t expect crystal clear DVD quality, but the quality had almost no effect on my viewing experience. Once I started watching the movie, I forgot all about the computer. No buffering or anything. Now if I could just incorporate this service into the HTPC software I’m working on, it’d be great! 2,000 movies selectable with my remote would be cool.

  • Kalroy

    Well, tried to post and it didn’t show up, so we’ll try again.

    If Netflix, I’m a subscriber, allows downloads in a format that I can watch on the TV via the XBox 360 streamed from my PC, then I’ll begin using it. I’m not interested in watching flicks on my PC, but I have been satisfied watching downloadable movies and TV episodes off of XBox Live Video Marketplace. I ended up downloading Nacho Libre, and all eleven episodes of Studio 60: Sunset Strip.

    As an aside regarding DRM, I know that the 360 can stream DRM protected MP3s from the Yahoo music service, because I do that while playing games. I know that with media player 11 I can now stream video (DVDs I ripped and viral videos from the net). What I don’t know is whether it is capable of doing DRM video.

    Kalroy

  • Kalroy

    Well, tried to post and it didn’t show up, so we’ll try again.

    If Netflix, I’m a subscriber, allows downloads in a format that I can watch on the TV via the XBox 360 streamed from my PC, then I’ll begin using it. I’m not interested in watching flicks on my PC, but I have been satisfied watching downloadable movies and TV episodes off of XBox Live Video Marketplace. I ended up downloading Nacho Libre, and all eleven episodes of Studio 60: Sunset Strip.

    As an aside regarding DRM, I know that the 360 can stream DRM protected MP3s from the Yahoo music service, because I do that while playing games. I know that with media player 11 I can now stream video (DVDs I ripped and viral videos from the net). What I don’t know is whether it is capable of doing DRM video.

    Kalroy

  • Matthew Weigel

    Given that Netflix is using Microsoft DRM in their new service, Xbox360 support in the future seems very likely. Certainly, I bet the old Netflix/TiVo deal fell through because of DRM.

  • Matthew Weigel

    Given that Netflix is using Microsoft DRM in their new service, Xbox360 support in the future seems very likely. Certainly, I bet the old Netflix/TiVo deal fell through because of DRM.