Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Windows Phone 7 to get some Netflix streaming and XBox Live gaming action

2010-03-15mixappspWhen Engadget Editor-In-Chief Joshua Topolsky says something is game changing I tend to take notice. That’s how he described developments in the Windows Phone 7 world (previously Windows Mobile) in reference to a demo given at today’s MIX10, Redmond’s developer conference.

Specifically, Topolsky was referring to a Netflix streaming app (Watch Instantly) powered by Silverlight running on Microsoft’s latest mobile OS, along with support for XBox Live gaming.

Both moves clearly demonstrate that Windows Phone 7 series is the Zune phone that many have been wishing for. It’s also evidence of how the company plans to exploit what is arguably its strongest consumer brand – XBox – to give its mobile OS and the third-party hardware that will be running it, fresh impetus. Much needed in the face of so much competition from the likes of iPhone, Android, Palm, BlackBerry and Nokia.

A video of Netflix on Windows Phone 7 is embedded after the jump…

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Netflix CEO: Web browser is television's future

Forget channel surfing, Web surfing is the future of television, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tells

In five to twenty years, says Reed, “the way that consumers will interact on the big screen will be similar to the way they interact on a laptop screen.” Instead of switching channels, they’ll visit online video destinations as the web becomes “the universal paradigm that’s gonna subsume and embrace the User Interface on all of these systems” [PC, TV and Mobile].

“In the long term what we’ll see is a web browser like IE or Chrome or Safari or any of these in the television, and the way that consumers will interact on the big screen  will be similar to the way they interact on a laptop screen. That is with a web oriented paradigm and they’ll go to or or as apposed to specific channels. So think of websites, over time, replacing channels… Over maybe 5 to 20 years.”

Full video interview after the jump…

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XBox 360 to support Twitter and Facebook. Who's the biggest social network on TV now?

Facebook on XBox 360

Facebook on XBox 360

For a long time now, Microsoft has made the rather lofty claim that the company’s XBox 360 was the biggest social network on TV. For the most part that was in reference to XBox Live – the games console’s online service – and its integration with Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft’s cross platform Instant Messaging service (Windows, Mac and mobile). Yesterday, however, Microsoft announced at E3 that the XBox 360 will soon be adding support for two competing social networks – Twitter and Facebook – making the XBox 360 undoubtedly the most socially networked set-top box, but not necessarily a Microsoft-owned social network the biggest one on the television. I’m not sure how Windows Live Messenger user numbers and Facebook’s compare in terms of cross-over with XBox Live membership but it’s nonetheless significant that Microsoft has chosen to embrace two competitors.

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Microsoft and Netflix bring streaming to Windows Media Center sans Extender support

Netflix on Microsoft Media Center

Netflix on Microsoft Media Center

It’s not the first time that Netflix functionality has been added to Microsoft’s Media Center software, but today the two companies released an official plug-in for the PC to TV platform.

Through a formal partnership, users of the Vista edition of Microsoft Media Center (not XP) can now access almost all of Netflix’s online features via the software’s TV-friendly “10-foot” User Interface, including browsing Netflix’s DVD library, editing their DVD and Watch Instantly queues, as well as stream movies and TV episodes from the company’s 12,000 strong library.

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Netflix prepping PlayStation 3 and Wii support suggests job ad

netflix-jobWhile Netflix streaming has been an XBox 360 exclusive for quite a while now, we’ve known for a long time that the video rental company harbored greater games console ambitions. CEO Reed Hastings said as much all the way back in October 2007, and Netflix has sinced followed up with a number of customer surveys exploring demand for PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii support.

More proof that Netflix is serious about widening support beyond the XBox 360 emerged today after a recent job advertisement on was spotted seeking a lead engineer responsible for the company’s “gaming platforms” – plural.

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Internet TV news: BlackBerry, Blockbuster and TiVo, Netflix on PS3?

A few Internet TV-related stories have been doing the rounds over the last few days that I’ve not yet had a chance to comment on. Here’s a quick catch-up.

BlackBerry to launch video download service

blackberryvideoResearch In Motion is close to launching a a full-episode television service for the company’s line of BlackBerry smartphones. An official announcement could come as early as next week at CTIA, reports NewTeeVee. Interesting tidbits include:

  • It will be an unlimited monthly subscription service for a fee
  • Once a user orders a program, the content will be downloaded in the background over Wi-Fi
  • Multiple broadcast and cable networks have licensed content for the service

As NTV notes, utilizing WiFi rather than 3G to deliver episodes to the phone enables RIM to bypass carriers, while at the same avoiding the inconvenience of side-loading content via a PC (iTunes style). Obviously it would be preferable to offer both options – WiFi and 3G – but that would likely mean sharing revenue, something that RIM, like Apple, is keen to avoid. As it stands, any direct paid-for content offering from RIM won’t sit well with carriers who still insist on owning the customer.

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Money talks: Netflix beats Hulu, Joost to secure "South Park" episodes

It was only last week that I questioned whether Netflix had a large enough online video library to justify offering a streaming-only subscription plan, but with today’s news that the service has bagged itself a boat load of “South Park” content, they’re certainly putting their money where their mouth is.

The New York Times reports that Netflix beat competitors Hulu and Joost to a deal by offering a guaranteed cash payment rather than a share of future advertising revenue, the latter being a far less enticing proposition during this ad-shy economic downturn.

“There was no talk of ad splits or guarantees or advances, just a payment for a show Netflix seemed really happy to have,” Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park, tells NYT. “We’ve never given the show to anybody else to stream, but we like Netflix as a service. We use it.”

See also: Forget about getting any work done, every episode of “South Park” now available online

Revenue generated from Netflix, who have licensed the first nine seasons of South Park, will be shared 50/50 with the show’s production partner Comedy Central.

Roku rolls out Amazon Video-On-Demand support

No longer limited to Netflix support-only, today Roku announced that its $99 set-top box, following a software update, can now be used to rent and purchase movies and TV shows from Amazon’s Video-On-Demand (VOD) service.

Amazon VOD (US-only) has a library of over 40,000 movie and TV titles, with new releases offered on the same day they are released on DVD, something that Netflix is currently unable to match, instead focusing more on back catalog material offered as part of a fixed monthly subscription that also includes traditional DVD rentals by post. In this sense, the two services both compete and complement each other, depending on how much and what kind of content customers want to consume.

See also: No more downloads, Amazon moves its online video store to the cloud

The Amazon tie-in also takes advantage of the e-tailers’ expertise in ‘cloud’ computing. Since the Roku digital video player is only capable of streaming not downloads, purchases are stored on Amazon’s own servers, making it possible, for example, to begin viewing a movie on the PC and then continue on the TV via a Roku set-top box.

Video demo courtesy of NewTeeVee after the jump…

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Too early for a streaming-only Netflix plan?

I thought it was a bit of a non-story when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings first mentioned that the company would at some point in the future offer customers a streaming-only subscription – 2010 was mentioned as a possible time frame – as frankly it’s kind of obvious that one day this will be case. The DVD format won’t last for ever, although it’s not going away any time soon, and is gradually being replaced by on-demand Internet delivered video. This week the company’s Chief Financial Officer Barry McCarthy echoed Reed’s comments, saying that a streaming-only plan will be launched in the “foreseeable future”.

However, while Netflix certainly has the distribution for a streaming-only service – Windows, Mac, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and Microsoft’s XBox 360 games console – I’d argue that it doesn’t yet have a large enough streaming content library alone to pull in many additional subscribers.

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The numbers say it all: why Netflix went exclusive with XBox 360

In a joint announcement, Microsoft and Netflix have put out some numbers on the success of Netflix’s ‘Watch Instantly’ Internet TV service on Microsoft’s XBox 360 games console. 1.5 billion minutes of Netflix content has been streamed, with a total of one million Xbox Live Gold Members activating Netflix on their accounts. Considering that Netflix on XBox only went live three months or so ago, that’s pretty impressive by anybody’s measure.

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