Thursday, January 3, 2008

Netflix to offer movie downloads to TVs

In the latest push to bring online video to the living room, DVD-rental service Netflix and LG Electronics plan to market an LG-branded device that will allow movies delivered over the Internet by Netflix to be viewed on TV screens.

The partnership between Netflix and LG represents another gamble by technology companies that video from the Internet, which is commonly downloaded to computers, will go mainstream when users can easily access it from TVs. So far, Internet TV products such as Apple TV have largely been unsuccessful, stymied by a poor selection of videos, complexity, and other shortcomings.

Netflix and LG provided few details about the product, which is due out in the second half of the year. People familiar with the matter say it's likely to also play Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, two rival formats for showing high-def movies. LG already offers a $799 player that handles both formats.

Early last year, Netflix began allowing its rental subscribers the option of accessing movies and television shows over the Internet on PCs. The service, which "streams" DVD-quality videos over the Internet, leaving no permanent copy, is available at no additional cost above Netflix's standard subscription fee.

Netflix has about 6,000 movies and television shows available for streaming over the Internet, a small fraction of the more than 90,000 DVDs in its library. The figure is about double the number of titles it offered when its Internet service went live a year ago and several times that of most video-on-demand services available through cable companies. (info from The Wall Street Journal)

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