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January 03, 2008

Netflix Teams Up with LG to Bring Movies Straight to TV

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Netflix Inc., the DVD rental company, has teamed up with LG Electronics (News - Alert) Inc. to develop a set-top box which will enable subscribers to watch movies streamed directly from the Web to their TVs.

Netflix plans to roll out the new device through an LG-networked player sometime in the second half of 2008, according to Reuters. The set-top box is expected to allow subscribers with a high-speed Internet connection to access Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature on their TVs.

The device will require subscribers to use a computer to select the programs that they are interested in streaming.

Subscribers can choose from more than 6,000 titles available in a streaming library, and that will show up on the TV screen once selected.
Reed Hastings, CEO at Netflix, told The AP, “We want the TV experience to be very relaxing and not like visiting a Web site.”

Netflix currently has around 7 million subscribers, and according to reports, for quite some time was looking to extend its Internet movie delivery feature to the television. Netflix’s online movie delivery feature allows subscribers play back about 6,000 films and TV episodes on their PCs.

Both the companies have not yet disclosed the pricing of the LG device. A similar device offered by Apple (News - Alert) Inc. and Vudu Inc. costs $299 to $399, respectively. Vudu Inc. offers a set-top box that allows consumers buy or rent movies from a selection of about 5,000 titles.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently canceled its online video download service that enabled purchased videos to be played on PCs.

According to Hastings, Netflix plans to extend its delivery options beyond the mail this year, and listed video game consoles and high-definition DVD players as other potential channels for Netflix.
“We want to see 100 Netflix-capable devices on the market,” Hastings said.
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