LG Electronics has announced the first broadband-enabled HDTVs with Netflix streaming software embedded directly in the set.
The new LCD and plasma “broadband HDTVs” will be able to show Netflix’s library of movies, TV episodes and HD content directly on the set without needing an external device.
Netflix has reached its target of 500,000 Blu-ray subscribers ahead of schedule.
The retailer’s chief financial officer Barry McCarthy said subscribers had added the option of paying an extra USD $1 to receive Blu-ray Disc titles at a quicker rate than Netflix forecast in October.
Blockbuster may be hinting at offering its download service on Blu-ray players – Netflix is actually doing it.
From next week two Samsung Blu-ray players are to provide Netflix videos in high definition.
Netflix has hired Bill Holmes, a five-year veteran of digital-media company DivX, to help build its video-streaming business.
His appointment is the latest in various moves by the company to build on its 8.4 million subscriber base with its streaming services.
LG Electronics and Netflix are to launch the first Blu-ray Disc player that will have the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix directly to the TV.
The LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player, which is to be launched in the autumn, will play high definition Blu-ray discs and up-convert standard DVDs to 1080p.
Sony has signed up the major studios, including Fox, Disney and Warner, to offer HD movies on its US download service.
The downloads can be transferred from the console to the Play Station Portable handheld device.
This latest development follows Microsoft’s announcement that it will add a NetFlix movie streaming service to its XBox 360 video game console.
The continuing rivalry between the console makers is good news for consumers.
With Blu-ray sales still not setting the heather alight much has been made of the high cost of HD players and continued viewer satisfaction with standard-definition DVD.
Paul Erickson, director of DVD and HD Market Research at DisplaySearch, is in no doubt these are big factors contributing to Blu-ray’s slow shift into the living room.
Adding to the picture is the emergence of online content delivery as a viable source of HD programming, something that is seen as posing a real threat to Blu-ray’s long-term survival.
Blu-ray discs and DVDs are going to survive for another 20 years even though great advances are being made in digital downloading.
That is the belief of Reed Hastings, head of NetFlix, the online rental service, who also stated that he doesn’t think a rival physical optical disc will emerge to challenge Blu-ray.
Speaking at an investors meeting, Hastings said on DVD and Blu-ray wouldn’t be replaced by digital downloads and ray Hollywood studios would continue releasing films on disc.
“Our view is that the studios are going to publish DVD and Blu-ray for another 20 years,” he said. “I don’t think there’s going to be another physical optical disc.”