November 2008

I have now mentioned in two posts that the exclusive arrangement between Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Netflix which affords the viewer realtime HD video on demand streaming of over ten thousand titles, would pose a real threat to Sony and overpriced Blu-Ray.  Well Sony has demonstrated this to be true by blocking its (Columbia) catalog from streaming via Netflix as Xbox 360’s New Xbox Experience goes live this morning.

As reported at Xbox 360 Fanboy:

“According to Joystiq (and confirmed by MTV Multiplayer) Netflix has pulled all Columbia Pictures content from the Xbox 360 instant view library due to “licensing problems.” But, wouldn’t you know, all the blocked content can still be viewed online and through all other Netflix enabled TV devices except for the 360.

Netflix hopes to license all the currently blocked content to the Xbox 360 in the near future.”

Sony is known for its less-than-scrupulous turf wars, often upsetting consumers by viture of its insistence upon proprietary hardware and codecs.

Netflix vs. Blu-Ray

 

Xbox 360 owners rejoice – the next phase in the set-top entertainment paradigm is upon us.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, Microsoft was able to forge an exclusive partnership with online DVD rental mogul Netflix that brings the catalog direct to your home entertainment system (with an existing Netflix membership) at no additional cost.

Today, the New Xbox Experience (NXE) goes live, and Netflix HD streaming is already available.  Here is the official press release:

Movies Instantly Streamed From Netflix to the TV Debut on the Xbox 360

More Than 12,000 Movies and TV Episodes are Available to Watch Instantly At No Additional Cost to Current Netflix and Xbox LIVE Gold Members

LOS GATOS, Calif., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the world’s largest online movie rental service, today announced that Netflix members can have thousands of movies and TV episodes instantly streamed to the TV via the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system when the New Xbox Experience premieres nationwide tomorrow. Adding to a growing number of Netflix-ready devices, the Xbox 360 is the only game and entertainment console that lets users instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix to the TV. There is no additional monthly fee for Netflix members who are also Xbox LIVE Gold members.

Netflix members simply add movies and TV episodes from a growing library of more than 12,000 choices to their instant Queues at the Netflix Web site. Those choices are automatically displayed on the TV screen via the Xbox 360 and, once selected, will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds.

“This is an important and exciting moment for Netflix and Xbox,” said Netflix Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Kilgore. “We believe the New Xbox Experience — with thousands of choices available to be streamed instantly from Netflix as one of its key enhancements — offers consumers a great at-home entertainment option and provides terrific value as a holiday gift idea.”




Netflix also said it is taking the first step in instantly streaming movies and TV episodes in high definition with the introduction of approximately 300 HD choices that will play with standard definition audio via the Xbox 360. The company said it intends to increase the number of HD choices available and will eventually add multi-channel audio. Classic, adventure, musical, foreign and comedy movies now available to watch instantly in high definition include “La Vie en Rose,” “Flawless” and “Heroes.”

All Netflix members can rent from over 100,000 titles on DVD. They can instantly watch movies and TV episodes from a growing library of choices on their PCs and Intel-based Macintosh computers, as well as on their TVs via one of the Internet connected Netflix ready devices sold by Netflix partners.