Netflix to deliver movies straight to TV
If they can get this working well, it could be hard to compete with. Netflix has about 90,000 titles in their DVD catalogue, while a typical video store has about 4,000.
Not all of that 90,000 will be available for streaming, however, but the potential is there.
SAN FRANCISCO - DVD-by-mail service Netflix Inc. will begin delivering movies and other programming directly to televisions later this year through a set-top box that will pipe entertainment over a high-speed Internet connection.
The set-top box, to be made by LG Electronics Inc. as part of a partnership announced late Wednesday, is designed to broaden the appeal of a year-old streaming service that Netflix provides to its 7 million subscribers at no additional charge.
LG Electronics didn't reveal how much the set-top box will cost when it hits the market in the summer or early autumn. Similar devices made by Apple Inc. and Vudu Inc. cost $299 to $399.
Although Netflix says its subscribers have watched more than 10 million movies and TV episodes through its "Watch Instantly" option so far, the streaming service has been too constraining for many subscribers.
That's because all the streaming service's programming must be watched on a personal computer, unless the viewer knows how to link a high-speed Internet connection into a TV monitor.
The set-top box is supposed to serve as a bridge that will enable just about anyone with a high-speed Internet connection to plug in a few wires so they will be able to access Netflix's Watch Instantly feature on their TVs.
One of Netflix's most formidable threats yet may be looming just around the corner, with Apple reportedly preparing to launch an online movie rental service that is supposed to include titles from News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox and Walt Disney Co.
Apple so far hasn't commented on the reports, which have predicted a formal announcement will be made at the Cupertino-based company's Macworld conference later this month.