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Netflix teams with more "majors" on media hubs

updated 12:05 pm EDT, Tue April 22, 2008

Netflix on More Media Hubs

Netflix is cooperating with four other device makers beyond LG to develop network set-top boxes, the company has said while discussing its latest financial results. The movie rental agency had originally announced just its LG partnership in January but now says that three "major" companies are also developing media hubs that will bring the Netflix Internet movie streaming service to HDTVs. A smaller fourth company is also involved.

The company isn't discussing names but notes that the larger companies are most likely to release their network devices in the last quarter of the year, in time for holiday shopping; the newcomer is expected to launch its device "sooner" but hasn't been given a more specific timeframe for its release.

All of the hubs are expected to become virtual extensions of the Watch Instantly feature on Netflix' website. The service lets subscribers to all but the most basic Netflix plan watch any of approximately 6,000 movies online regardless of physical movie copies rented during a given month. At present, the format uses a copy protected stream that prevents users from easily ripping and saving permanent copies of titles.

The Netflix disclosure creates one of the few multi-platform video download services available and steps up pressure on competitors such as Apple and Vudu, who have to date relied on proprietary stores and network-attached devices to provide content. Both also typically prefer on-demand rentals and purchases over subscriptions.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005



    My arse! Last I checked, the service doesn't work on OS X, else I would be using it.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000


    Confusing specs

    " to develop network set-top boxes" implies direct connection to TV "The Netflix disclosure creates one of the few multi-platform video download services " implies connection to computer.

    So which is it? If it's direct to TV then it is not 'multi-platform.' If a it is encrypted to protect against copying to computer then why would you need a computer in the mix?

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    re: confusing specs

    I would venture to guess that "device" is similar to Apple TV in that it hooks directly to your TV and provides an on-screen interface. The network connections are via your broadband internet connection for streaming the movies to the device. This eliminates the need for an interceding computer to capture & provide the media or player to the device, again similar to how Apple TV 2 works. At that point, platforms don't really matter. So the phrase "multi-platform" seems inappropriate to the point.

    The biggest difference to this and every other comparison is that Netflix has 6,000 titles to choose from...Apple TV (although not responsible) is woefully lacking in its offerings at present.

    But that's just my .02


  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Re: confusing specs

    At that point, platforms don't really matter. So the phrase "multi-platform" seems inappropriate to the point.

    Not actually inappropriate. Its a matter of interpretation. Currently you can use the service on Windows. Now they've included this device. So, technically, the service is multi-platform.

    Also bear in mind that there will be different devices, its not all the same device. So there might be several AppleTV-like devices that can access the service. Then it really is multi-platform (bear in mind that multi-platform does not mean it has to support macs). In fact, who knows, but it might be supportable by the AppleTV, too. But I seriously doubt Apple will kill its money stream by allowing people to access other pay services.

  1. Zkatz007

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 1999


    can't wait

    Apple TV is too limited, a Multimedia PC is too much work, and Netflix rocks.

    My wife and I will be buying this as soon as it comes out.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000


    Netflix's 6,000

    Well, I guess you could say Netflix offers more content than the Apple TV. But is is content you WANT to watch? I am a Neflix subscriber, and occasionally drive the watch instantly service through Parallels, but it's almost not worth the effort. Honestly, I haven't heard of a lot of the movies they offer. At least through iTunes and Amazon/Tivo you have familiar movies. Not that Def Con 4 and THX 1138 aren't great movies...

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