Despite the fact that the high definition format war has only recently ended with Blu-ray as the winner, many see any high definition format as being already on the way out along with standard DVDs. The future of movie delivery is digital downloads and even companies like Netflix who’s bread and butter is physical DVD rentals understands this fact.
To transform Netflix into a firm that has the seeds planted for future growth -- that will undoubtedly include digital rental delivery -- it has announced a new device that streams movies to a TV over an internet connection called The Netflix Player. The device is made by Roku and is cheap compared to other movie streaming devices from competitors at only $99.99 to purchase.
The box promises to work with any TV you have and offers RCA jacks, S-video, component video, HDMI and optical audio out. The movies and TV episodes streamed to the box can be sent over a broadband internet connection via an Ethernet jack or Wi-Fi.
Netflix says that the current library available for streaming to the device includes about 10,000 movies and TV episodes. Anyone subscribing to Netflix can watch as many of the available shows and movies as they want for no additional fees. The catch is that no brand new movies are available on the service.
For many, the tipping point of streaming rentals gaining popularity is when streaming new release films are available on the day the movie can be bought or rented on physical discs. Apple recently started offering same day as physical release streaming rentals over its competing Apple TV product.
The player from Roku isn’t the only Netflix player coming for consumers to choose from. The Associated Press reports that LG will be integrating the streaming service into an upcoming Blu-ray player that is supposed to be available in the second half of 2008. Two other unnamed consumer electronics companies are also working on Netflix TV boxes as well.
The one glaring difference currently between the Apple TV service and The Netflix Player from Roku is that the Roku box lacks high definition capabilities. Anyone used to watching programs and movies in HD knows it is very hard to go back to standard definition. Despite that fact, many Netflix subscribers will see great value in a $99.99 box that allows the streaming of movies and TV shows for no additional charge per month.
quote: Anyone who has Comcast has this feature through On Demand.
quote: "It isn't high definition in a world where everyone is moving to high-definition TVs?"
quote: "But it doesn't have optical audio port"
quote: Get three cables – 6’ HDMI, 6’ Component Video and 6’ Optical Audio – for just $19.99 (typically more than $40 at retail).