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Netflix to offer iPhone movie streaming?

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. chromos

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 1999


    copyright protection

    iPhone OS 3.0's HTTP Streaming can also work over https. Shouldn't that be sufficient to lock down content?

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    two things

    1. Just streaming over https isn't drm, just encryption. Somebody could write an http client that appears to be an iPhone and stream the content to disk. The content owners are paranoid that you might get an unlicensed copy of Gone With the Wind at 320x200...

      2. I predict that AT&T's TOS just may change because of this, just like they did for SlingPlayer.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    No one says this is going to get approved by Apple and their band of app approvers. Might get stuck in the "Duplicates services already on the iPhone" trap. Or just the "We don't like it" trap.

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