The blogosphere is all abuzz about Netflix's announcement that they are developing a set-top box with LG Electronics that will let Netflix subscribers watch movies streamed from the Web to their TVs.
I am sorry, but I don't see a huge behavioral shift here.
The problem is not with Netflix's existing online (as opposed to avail via mail) inventory, believed to be more than 6,000 titles. Nor is it the subscription fees, which will not exceed the current $4.99-$16.99 a month with streaming enabled starting sometime in the next several months.
The main obstacle to this offering's success, it seems to me, will be the price of the set-top box itself.
Even a $400 set-top would present a significant barrier to widespread adoption of the service. Many Netflix users are very casual and not all that sophisticated with technology. True, they know how to order movies on line and then slip them into their existing DVD player.
But messing with another set-top is going to be an obstacle for more than a few of those existing Netflix users who don't do connections all that well. I mean, maybe that existing connection between the DVD and their tv was courtesy of a professional installer or mechanically inclined family member.
And even now, the remote is confusing to some Netflix users. That's why having add another set-top box to their array and needing to spend $300,$400 or even $799 more for it, is a natural deflection point to wide adoption.