Netflix today announced that streaming from Watch Instantly movies on your TV will be even simpler, as they've struck deals with several device makers including Dynex, Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba that will see a dedicated Netflix button added to the remote control. Starting this spring, new devices will apparently come with a remote that features the Netflix logo prominently, giving one-button access to the service. This will include some Blu-ray disc players and Internet connected TVs. According to the company's Chief Product Officer: "No more turning on the TV, going to a home screen and searching for the Netflix icon. With the Netflix one-click remote, it's simply a matter of pushing the Netflix button to instantly watch any of the vast selection of TV shows and movies available to stream from Netflix." The company has been working steadily to increase its reach, and is now available on almost any connected device one can think of.
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The newly redesigned Apple TV is next up in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, and for good reason. You can stream movies, TV shows, photos, and music to the device, and setup just requires plugging it into power, and into your television. A couple minutes later and you're connected to Wi-Fi and streaming Netflix. With iOS 4.2 and the AirPlay feature, you can even send videos and music directly from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch directly to your television. Mix in HD movies rentals from $3.99 and TV show rentals for $.99 cents, and you have a nice little wireless media extender. You can pick one up now for $99 from Apple, or $98 from Amazon with free shipping.
Playstation users have had access to Netflix for awhile now, but it’s been somewhat of a clumsy experience up until now. This is because unlike its Xbox 360 equivalent, PS3 requires a disc to run Netflix. This has proven to feel like a tacked on experience rather than the full quality experience seen on the 360. A little frustrating when you have to constantly swap out the Netflix disc in order to play a game or watch a film. However, it seems that PS3 users will finally have a Netflix app added into the actually dashboard that will allow them to seamlessly enjoy the Netflix experience. There’s no official date for when this change will happen, but according to Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, it will happen very soon.
“Before our next call in October, we expect to be launching a major new version of our Sony PS3 user interface which doesn’t require a disc and is dynamically updated continuously with the latest Netflix UI improvements,” states Hastings.
Hopefully these Netflix updates will make for a similar experience to the one seen on Microsoft’s machine, and a less stiff experience than the one currently offered on PS3.
You can grab a two-week free Netflix trial to try out the service yourself.
Just a quick heads up to our friends north of the border who’ve been waiting ever so patiently for Netflix to arrive, while we’ve been enjoying it here for the better part of 13 years. Netflix has announced that they’ll finally be arriving in Canada this fall. You can check out the official Netflix Canada page for more details.
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Well, hey, it looks like Netflix has quietly started rolling out HD streaming to PC and Mac clients! If you’ve been streaming Netflix to a Roku, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, or any other number of Netflix-connected devices, you’ve already had the pleasure of watching the higher quality HD feeds. Pc and Mac users, however, had been left out in the cold all this time, being relegated to standard definition viewing. More than half of HD-enabled streaming titles will stream in HD to a computer. To check and see if a title is available in HD, just hover the mouse over the movie art, and look for “HD available” in the Format area.
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If you are a current Netflix subscriber, you’ll likely recall that they decided to enter into an agreement with Warner Bros. back in January that would delay Netflix from making new films from the studio available to subscribers for 28 days from the in-store release date. Well, it looks like more studios are jumping on board, as both Fox and Universal has now come to similar terms. What’s the upside for Netflix subscribers? More streaming movies.
For example, with the Fox agreement, you’ll need to wait 28 days before you’ll be able to get a movie like Avatar in the mail, but in exchange you’ll find streaming titles like 24, Bones, Lie to Me, Arrested Development, Prison Break, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. With Universal, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for movies like It’s Complicated, but don’t fret, because Billy Elliot, The Pianist, and Being John Malkovich (among others) will be at your instant streaming disposal.
Expect more of these deals to be made, as Netflix is banking on streaming movies as the future of distribution (we agree,) and they are of the mindset that having customers wait an extra 4 weeks to get new discs is worth it if it means greater access to streaming rights. Let’s see how this all plays out. Anyone upset about this?
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If you’re a gamer who doesn’t own an Xbox 360 or PS3, then you’ve been left out in the cold as it pertains to Netflix streaming. All of that changes this Spring, though, as Netflix and Nintendo have announced a partnership that will allow you to stream Netflix instant content using your Wii console. Similar to the Playstation 3 scenario, you’ll have to insert a Netflix disc in order to view content, as opposed to the Xbox 360 method, which has Netflix built right in to the dashboard. No firm date has been announced just yet, but the Netflix streaming disc will be free with the cost of your Netflix subscription.
We are kicking off our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide with the Roku HD-XR player. Why? Well, we think that it’s the perfect time to introduce someone to the new hotness that is TV, delivered over the web, and right into the living room. Sure, Netflix has come to the Xbox 360, but if you want streaming access to the Netflix service and don’t own a game console, this is your cheapest barrier to entry. The HD-XR model also gives you access to the Amazon Unbox catalogue, as well as the entire MLB game service as well, if you are subscribed.
Definitely a great gift for movie buffs, the Roku HD-XR player is able to stream over 12,000 movies and television shows from the Netflix Watch Instantly catalogue, and over 45,000 from Amazon Video on Demand. It connects to your home network through an ethernet port, or over Wi-Fi, connecting at up to 802.11n if you have it. There’s also a USB port on back, which Roku says is for future use. Our guess is that they’ll be allowing the device to read from an external USB drive, which would be stellar.
The actual device is tiny, so it takes up barely any space, and setup takes just a couple of minutes - very simple. Of course, a Netflix subscription is required, but once you have that, everything else is a piece of cake.
Honorable Mention: If you want all the features of the Roku HD-XR, but don’t need the USB port or 802.11n wireless speeds, you can grab the Roku HD Player for $99!
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard rumblings that Netflix streaming would be coming to both the PS3 and Wii, but apparently, all that is now out the window, because Microsoft has been able to score an exclusive console partnership with Netflix. Read on:
This exclusive partnership offers you the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via Xbox 360. Xbox 360 will be the only game console to offer this movie-watching experience, available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix unlimited plan subscribers**, at no additional cost.
From the Netflix Web site, simply add movies and TV episodes to your instant Queue, which will appear automatically on the TV screen via Xbox 360. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming Netflix movies to the TV, Xbox LIVE Gold members can browse and rate movies, fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 Controller or Universal remote.
Now, of course, we assume this just means that the Xbox 360 gets an exclusive on full console integration. But hey, you can just go download PlayOn if you really want to access Netflix from your Playstation 3 or Wii. Problem solved.
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VIZIO is launching a new platform that they’re calling “Conneced HDTV,” and with it comes confirmation of the second Netflix direct-to-TV partnership. VIZIO’s Connected HDTV platform is designed to compliment traditional television viewing. You just connect the television to your home network, and if there’s nothing good on, you can go into Netflix, and I am sure there will be other services (YouTube? Hulu?) that you’ll be able to pull up as well. This is a trend we are definitely liking, let’s eliminate set-top boxes while providing more viewing options for the consumer.
EDIT: Okay, we just got more details on this. Aside from Netflix, the VIZIO Connected HDTV platform also brings Amazon Video on Demand, Pandora, Flickr, Blockbuster OnDemand, Rhapsody, Adobe Flash content, games from Accedo Broadband, and the Yahoo! widget engine. Very, very interesting!
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