updated 02:40 pm EDT, Mon August 3, 2009
Netflix iPhone Rumor
Netflix may soon be opening the gates to its unlimited movie and TV streaming on the iPhone and iPod touch, a rumor indicates today. An executive for an unnamed company claims to MCN that Netflix will "soon" extend Watch Instantly to the Apple devices. The service would likely be limited to Wi-Fi for bandwidth concerns, though it's unclear whether this would be due solely to pressure from AT&T or simple practical concerns: Netflix streaming normally needs hundreds of kilobits per second and would be likely to encounter connection problems over 3G.
It's also uncertain whether the app would involve a native iPhone app or else a web portal. As the iPhone doesn't support either Flash or Silverlight, Netflix would have to use the native video streaming of OS X iPhone, which doesn't have any copyright protection. Such services have worked in the past, such as the BBC's iPhone version of iPlayer or MLB At Bat, but rarely compete directly with iTunes. Apple just at WWDC began offering videos for purchasing and renting through its mobile iTunes Store, though that too requires Wi-Fi due to the size of the files.
Nintendo's Wii is also considered a candidate, according to the report.
Netflix spokespeople have declined to comment, calling it 'rumors and speculation.' However, the company has regularly expanded Netflix to other platforms and supports both Macs and Windows PCs as well as Roku's Internet Player, the Xbox 360 and multiple Blu-ray players from LG and Samsung.