In a move that could put more pressure on an already declining DVD market, Netflix, the online DVD rental company said Thursday they will allow users to stream movies and other programming to high definition TVs through a set top box.
Netflix has partnered with South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. who will manufacture the set-top box in a move that the company hopes will broaden its client base by giving users the option of streaming their movie instead of using the company's current mail-in service.
Consumers crave compelling and immediate content, and the Netflix online streaming movie feature can provide that instant gratification, said Ki Kwon, President of the Consumer Electronics Division of LG Electronics USA in a statement.
LG Electronics did not disclose the cost of the set-top box, only saying it will made available in summer or early autumn. The streaming service to HDTV's will be offered to Netflix's current 7 million subscribers at no additional fee.
The set-top box will serve as a bridge enabling users to plug their HDTV's with high-speed Internet connection to access Netflix's Watch Instantly feature. Subscribers are still required to use a computer to pick out which programs they're interested in streaming. The selections will then show up on the TV screen.
Apple Inc. came out with a similar device for $299 that allows users to stream audio and video content purchased from the iTunes Store to their TVs. The product release failed to kick off with concerns of the limited selection of videos and the complexity of the device.
The announcements come ahead of next week's 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show.