Thursday, October 23, 2008

Samsung Blu-ray players will download from Netflix

Two Samsung Blu-ray DVD players can retrieve movies and TV shows from Netflix's Internet streaming service.

The deal, to be announced Thursday, could set the stage for Netflix to embed software connecting to its streaming service directly into television sets made by Samsung. In a statement, Netflix and Samsung said they are planning to plant the streaming capability in a variety of home entertainment products.

LG Electronics began selling a $350 Blu-ray player with Netflix streaming earlier this month.

Netflix currently has nearly 8.7 million subscribers, most of whom still go online to request DVD rentals that are mailed to them a day or two later. But the company has been trying to provide more instant gratification with service that sends movies and TV shows over high-speed Internet connections in less than a minute.

After a slow start, the "Watch Instantly" service has been become more popular as Netflix expanded the selection to include more recent titles and forged various partnerships that have made it easier to watch on a big-screen TV instead of being tethered to a personal computer.

Samsung's connection to the Netflix service will work through two Blu-ray models, the BD-P2500 and BD-P2550, that have already been on the market. People who own those models will need a free software upgrade to make the players compatible with Netflix's streaming service. Future models will have the Netflix feature built in.

Fetching the movies and TV shows from a streaming library of more than 12,000 titles requires a minimum subscription of $8.99 per month that also includes DVD rentals delivered through the mail.

Netflix is aiming to make access to its streaming service a standard feature in all Blu-ray players, much like Dolby audio noise reduction became a staple in tape recorders. (info from The Associated Press)

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