updated 04:20 pm EST, Tue January 16, 2007
Netflix turns to streaming
Faced with an increasingly digital movie market, Netflix has announced its intentions to start direct Internet delivery. Rather than offer paid downloads, like Amazon's Unbox or the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, existing Netflix subscribers will be able to stream certain videos for free. Next to the standard "Add" buttons will be "Play," which will start a feature as soon as it finishes buffering in the custom Netflix viewer software. Roughly 1,000 movies and television shows are expected to be offered in the beginning, coming from companies such as NBC, Sony, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers. A Windows PC with Internet Explorer will be required as well, but Netflix hopes to expand to other platforms as time progresses.
The new streaming service should start slow deployment over the next six months, with the amount of video accessible determined by your subscription level. A standard $18 subscription will give you 18 hours of video per month; correspondingly, cheaper plans will shrink your hours, and expensive ones will increase them. Should you decide to stop a clip partway through, only the time actually viewed will be docked from your monthly limit.