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Almost a year after the first announcement, Netflix finally has on-demand video

Netflix has begun to roll out the company’s long rumored video streaming service. The new feature will automatically be added at no extra charge to Subscribers' Monthly Membership over the course of the next six months.

Netflix’s new video streaming feature will allow users to stream movies instantaneously online. The new feature does not require Netflix users to download any large media files. Instead, video clips are instantly streamed using real-time playback technology. The only software needed is a one-time installation of a Netlfix browser applet. After that, videos can be viewed directly inside the browser. Users are allowed to pause the movie along with jumping to any part of it. Naturally, Internet connectivity is required at a minimum bandwidth of one megabit per second. The higher the bandwidth, though, the better the video quality will get. Quality ranges from “current Netflix previews to DVD quality with a three-megabit-per-second connection.”

“Subscribers on the entry-level $5.99 plan will have six hours of online movie watching per month and subscribers on Netflix's most popular plan, $17.99 for unlimited DVD rental and three discs out at a time, will have 18 hours of online movie watching per month.” Each minute of video you watch will count against you. This feature will come in especially handy when previewing content, such as watching the first ten minutes of a movie to see whether you will actually like it.

The service is currently Windows XP only. Netflix is planning, however, to expand it to a larger number of platforms, including cellphones. "Over the coming years we'll expand our selection of films, and we'll work to get to every Internet-connected screen, from cell phones to PCs to plasma screens. The PC screen is the best Internet-connected screen today, so we are starting there. "

At its launch, the new feature will have around 1,000 titles. Netflix hopes to have the selection rapidly expand throughout this year and it already has a number of launch partners, including , “NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Lionsgate.”

The feature is aimed at attracting Internet users who have made streaming video-based websites like YouTube popular. In addition, the new feature will also allow Netflix to continue competing with rival BlockBuster.

Netflix originally slated the service for a late 2006 launch, but missed its target date.


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ripping
By Uncle C on 1/16/2007 8:00:37 PM , Rating: 2
i just enjoy keeping ripped copies of the dvds.




RE: ripping
By deeznuts on 1/16/2007 8:57:24 PM , Rating: 2
lol. hey they'll come out with a stream capturing proggy and you'll be ok


RE: ripping
By Samus on 1/17/2007 8:51:53 AM , Rating: 2
the streaming likely isn't dvd quality, so capturing it wouldn't yield the results of ripping.


however, i plan to use the service for anime and comedy content because quality is less of an issue ;)


Rollover Hours
By SunAngel on 1/16/2007 8:27:19 PM , Rating: 1
Okay. I understand the business model. But what happens when you reach the end your 18th hour and your in the middle of a movie? The movie pauses and prompts you for additional billings? Okay. That's reasonable. Yet, what about unused hours/minutes? Shouldn't they be carried over to the next month?

Also, what about network congestion? If the tubes become clogged with ebay, porn, and mortgage offers and the stream stops, is the clock still ticking? How about dropped movies? I'm in the middle of a movie and my service is cut because two or more ISPs could not renegotiate a stupid contract causing disruption in internet service for several days.

This service of Netflix should turn out to be great. I am all for it if they provide rollover hours/minutes and drop internet protection. I think this is Cingular Wireless greatest advantage over the other cellular carrier. Netflix would be providing it customers a tremendous service by providing these features.




RE: Rollover Hours
By soydeedo on 1/16/2007 9:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
i really don't see rollover happening with this new service. their current business model relies on customers not using the full potential of the mail-in version so i doubt they'll adjust that for this incarnation. if they can cut down on bandwidth costs by customer negligence then they will take that opportunity. i would.

once competition arises, though, they might revise that policy.


Unlimited Minutes
By GaryJohnson on 1/16/2007 7:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Where's the $70/month unlimited minutes plan?




Cool idea...
By Micronite on 1/16/2007 7:23:42 PM , Rating: 2
I really like technology like this. It's cool and nice to have an alternative to the hard media route.
For me, though, I have a hard time watching movies off the net. I have a "better-than-average" internet connection and I'm sure I could get near-DVD quality (at least how Netflix defines it), but I just would feel cheated if I didn't get the whole "experience" meaning great video and 5.1 audio.

Combine that with the fact that we're moving away from DVD quality to HD quality and I alienate myself further.

Once you've tasted of HD goodness, it's difficult to go back. Remember watching VHS tapes after watching DVD's for a while... yuck.




At long last...
By abbazaba on 1/16/2007 7:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Just the other day I was talking to a friend about how great it would be if Netflix offered some sort of online content distribution service. I never imagined they would actually ever do it, let alone offer said service for no additional fee beyond the current monthly subscription rates. It is also great to see so many major studios embracing the Netflix, given that many of them are affiliated with competing movie download services. My excitement over this announcement was short-lived, however. Netflix's website states that the service is compatible with Windows XP/Vista only, and I'm on a Mac.




Wii Support
By policy11 on 1/16/2007 8:13:00 PM , Rating: 2
Would be great if this worked on the Wii!




june 2007
By kattanna on 1/17/2007 2:00:44 PM , Rating: 2
when i log into my netflix account it is saying june 2007 the service will be available

either way...i look forward to it since i have the 6 disk/month plan, i should have days of online viewing which will help to further weed out crappy shows and movies





At long last...
By abbazaba on 1/16/2007 7:56:02 PM , Rating: 1
Just the other day I was talking to a friend about how great it would be if Netflix offered some sort of online content distribution service. I never imagined they would actually ever do it, let alone offer said service for no additional fee beyond the current monthly subscription rates. It is also great to see so many major studios embracing the Netflix, given that many of them are affiliated with competing movie download services. My excitement over this announcement was short-lived, however. Netflix's website states that the service is compatible with Windows XP/Vista only, and I'm on a Mac.




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