Netflix and LG announce partnership to stream movies to HDTV
January 3rd, 2008 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 4,265 Views
Netflix has been offering its customers to watch movies instantly on their laptops or media center PCs for quite some time. Users can install a small ActiveX plugin in their Internet browser and watch many of Netflix’s 90,000 titles in the proprietary viewer. The movies could not be downloaded and saved as a file for later viewing. To watch “instant” movies on TV or HD TV, customer had to connect laptop to the TV. My own laptop could be connected to HDTV either through S-video or VGA port. But it was rather inconvenient because both laptop and TV had to be on.
Now, in conjunction with South Korea-based LG, Netflix plans to allow its more than 7 million customers to download entertainment titles straight to their TV sets from the Internet, a shift likely to be welcomed by people who prefer to watch movies on their HD sets. The new Netflix-enabled LG player is slated to be available in the second half of 2008. The product is expected to be shown off during next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Netflix was also exploring possibility of offering their own-branded set-top boxes, but concluded that consumers will be happier with more familiar main-stream electronics producers.
This move should help Netflix in its war with rival Blockbuster Inc, which has some success with its Total Access service. One of the possible outcomes of this war could be fewer consumers wanting to buy DVDs. DVD sales dropped 12.5% in the last year (according to Global Media Intelligent, a research form).
I wonder if other manufacturers will follow in creating alliances with companies like Netflix to stream movies and music, or create their own media outlets. All these players require some sort of storage to store downloaded movies, at least temporarily. The only devices that have sufficient storage are personal DVRs such as TiVo and cable/satellite boxes with DVRs and PCs. Could HD DVD players such as Toshiba HD A35 be expanded with movie streaming capability? This HD DVD player has only 128MB flash memory, so it could use it for buffering, but not storing the movie. Regardess of technical possibilities, the real problem is whether HD DVD and Bluray player manufacturers would support this move by Netflix, since it seems to undermine their customer base. But I can see that networking components manufacturers like D-Link, Belkin and Netgear would benefit from it, because people who want to stream media to their televisions will want to upgrade their home network infrastructure.
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blockbuster | DVD | HDTV | netflix | streaming movies
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