Netflix is making deals with electronics makers to allow their rental service customers to (eventually) stream high-definition video directly to their televisions. Netflix has been tinkering with the idea of offering their own set-top box, but seem to be abandoning that idea in favor of working with established manufacturers of televisions and various set-top boxes. LG Electronics might be the first manufacturer to join up with Netflix, by integrating the player into a future version of their hybrid HD DVD/Blu-ray player.
The partnership will extend a novel feature from Netflix, announced a year ago, that allows paying subscribers to watch any of 6,000 movies and television shows on its Web site free. But that service can be accessed only with a personal computer.
Reed Hastings, chief executive of Netflix, said he hoped to strike other such deals and that Netflix would soon be viewed as a movie channel that might appear on myriad devices.
“We want to be integrated on every Internet-connected device, game system, high-definition DVD player and dedicated Internet set-top box,” he said. “Eventually, as TVs have wireless connectivity built into them, we’ll integrate right into the television.”
Netflix' advantage over Blockbuster has been that they have no overhead for sticks-and-bricks stores, but the inherent weakness to their business model has been the possibility that streaming video could wipe them out. It's all about saving the postage.