Netflix is living up to its name as it is continuing to take its streaming services to the masses. Recently Netflix announced a stand alone Roku player to take it conveniently from the computer environment into the living room. Then they have worked out a streaming arrangement with the XBox Live platform. They have also expanded their offerings by expanding their catalog to include Starz Play titles. Apparently they are committed to being a force in the future of streaming media services. So, what can they do next to keep the momentum rolling?
Well, obviously Netflix has noticed the online capabilities of the new Blu-Ray players coming onto the market. As with the XBox arrangement, what could be sweeter than a piece of hardware ready to stream already sitting in the living room? This is a win for the maker of the Blu-Ray players as well, since it gives them additional capabilities with their hardware.
Taking advantage of the symbiotic relationship, Samsung has announced that users of their BD-2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-Ray players ($400) can download a free update that allows Netflix streaming through the units. Once installed (and assuming that the user has an active Netflix membership), the player will show their PC queues for instant viewing. The control mechanism allows you to fast forward, rewind, browse and rate movies straight from the player's remote. This action by Samsung joins that of LG, whose BD300 Blu-Ray player is also capable of streaming Netflix media. The BD300 went on sale this past October 10th at a price of $349.
Given that the real threat Blu-Ray has is not from physical media but from digital downloads it makes sense that the players incorporate the functionality, giving the makers a foothold with both kinds of media distribution. I would not be surprised to see other makers of capable players follow suit, and soon the line may blur between physical media and streaming content, with the offerings appearing to fall in favor of the end consumer.
Netflix is no stranger to physical media as well
Netflix has more than 55 million discs and ships 1.9 million of them to customers each day, on average. Netflix previously claimed to spend about $300 million a year on postage. On February 25, 2007, Netflix announced the billionth DVD delivery.