January 17, 2007
I 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?