Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

Summary: Netflix enters the Net-to-TV video race with the introduction of a $99.99 player that enables its members to stream up to 10,000 movies and TV shows.

TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility

Netflix enters the Net-to-TV video race with the introduction of a $99.99 player that enables its members to stream up to 10,000 movies and TV shows. The company has let paying members of its DVD-by-mail service watch content on their computers for some time now, but the new device moves the movies to the TV.

Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

The Netflix Player is made by Roku, which has marketed its well-engineered SoundBridge music streamers for several years. The Netflix Player box connects to your TV via standard links (HDMI, component video, S-Video, composite video) and streams the video content from your PC via Ethernet or 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. I haven’t seen a demo of the video quality, but I’d bet the box would benefit from 802.11n for hiccup-less streaming. You select videos from your PC, which then streams a menu to your TV, enabling you to use the included remote control for navigation, play/pause, fast forward, and volume.

The price is right at $99, but one drawback is the selection of videos. I’ve watched a few of the free Netflix movies on my PC, and the selection is decent, if stale, but it’s nothing compared with Netflix’s entire catalog. Meaning you’ll find something you like, but you’re not likely to find exactly what you want. But if you do, you can watch as much and as often as you want without eating into the number of DVDs you can rent each month with your Netflix account. The videos are not in high definition, although the Netflix Player will be able to play HD video once Netflix makes that available.

Still, the Netflix player represents an interesting challenge to Apple TV, which draws its content from the iTunes Store and costs $229. The Apple device does include a hard drive for storage of content you own; the Netflix Player doesn’t.

The Netflix Player is an intriguing entry. Let’s hope it encourages other companies to ratchet up the innovation.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

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  • Nice at $99. Wonder why no PC content access

    From what I see, I like this alternative to Apple TV although I use iTunes. It would be nice if this box leveraged the PC resources for stored content.
  • at least it's not from Akimbo

    Akimbo ( sold a net to TV box directly to the public, and then offered a successor box from RCA.

    Then it summarily screwed its customers by abandoning support for the boxes. No refund, no credit towards anything. Nothing.

    All this from a company backed by legendary VC firm Kleiner Perkins. Shame on you Akimbo.

    Here's hoping no one ever buys anything from Akimbo or its partners. End users deserve better.
  • What an ugly box!

  • ughh

    $100 buys a lot of dvds...especially now that dvd is bargain basement at any walmart...
    not worth it to me with the monthly fee.
    i can upgrade my digital cable subscription to include all channels for less than this, & have full 1080p signal.
    an hdmi output, but no HD content ???
    man , i want those drugs
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    Does me little good with the daily download limits imposed by my satellite broadband provider (guess who that might be!).
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    I think my laptop has S-video and stereo audio output that works just fine.

    I guess if you can't find a way to connect a computer to your TV, this might be OK, but disregarding my laptop, I'd rather put $99 towards a 24 inch wide screen monitor and watch the movies on a PC.

    The way internet technologies come and go, even the Netflicks box might be out of date before too long.
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    This is a very smart move for NetFlix! It is totally ideal for the subscriber who can have up to 4 TV connections without the aid of aditional PCs. If the subscriber doesn't like the video they can switch to something else without wasting a mailed DVD. NetFlix has been working smart for several years and this move is the topper for sure. It would be interesting to see the projected postage they will save.
    The offside of their instant view is slow servers during peak times but I'm sure that will be corrected. I haven't tried the box yet but I am going to!
  • Complicates watching movies.

    and yet another box. who wants to login to they're pc, connect to the internet, sign in to netflix, type at the keyboard, click the mouse, search for a movie, find it, click the mouse, queue it, start streaming it, turn on the box, switch to the input video to watchi it on tv now. i put the vhs video in the vcr and hit play, done deal, this is hardly an useful appliance, its a dumb box that will clutter space. Screw you netflix, i hope you go down in flames. the best of your days is long gone circa 1998 when you gave out free month subscriptions in Monster Cable packages that easily fell out all over the Best Buy floor, i had stacks of those tickets and stacks of your dvds for FREEEE. ahahahahahaha, you idiots
  • The review is incorrect

    Get the correct details from Roku's website:

    It does NOT hook up to your PC. Ethernet straight from your ISP -> Roku box -> TV.
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    why isn't sony leveraging the power of the PS3 to enter this market?? It's perfect for it..
  • So now I'm unplugging my PC?

    Doesn't netflix compress their movies? I shop at the salvation army for tons of old movies on VHS for $1.00/ea, and each week the color tags are half off. VHS is still good people. Don't buy into this 'on demand' movie idea. I doubt they're streaming 1080p over some crappy isp burst speed like most isps give anywasy. Besides, how do you go directly from the wall cat-t to a box, do you unplug the connection to your PC?
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    who are you, a sony invested stock holder? go buy the movies you want so you can look at it later.
    • Why are you attacking me?

      I was just asking a question.. The PS3 seems like the perfect platform for this kind of content. You can already stream movies to it from your PC, but you have to put them in a specific sony format. To me, it would make a lot of sense for them to make movies available from the sony network for rental or even purchase. Hell, it already has HD built in. Why wait for netflix to get that? And no, I don't own any sony stock.
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    not to mention the slow isp's out there with burst
  • When Netflix releases HD content for Instant Watching you let me know.

    from the Roku review FAQ, the Netflix Player quality depends on your ISP. Slower connections are comparable to watching a VHS tape. Faster ISP's give DVD-quality. that's verbatim.
  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    VHS is still good? Do you listen to cassette tapes too?

    You would connect it to an open port on your router. Don't tell me you're connected to a broadband ISP without a router? That's dangerous living.
    • Yeah, VHS is still good.

      Did you read Roku FAQ on quality? It's says Netflix will deliver from VSH - DVD depending on your ISP. I think mine at home is directly to a router, why?
    • Honestly, I thought you worked for Netflix when I read your post.


  • I'm sorry for attacking you. Thanks, Mike

  • RE: Netflix launches device for watching movies on TV

    Sounds nice, but not too promising. Being from the
    Macintosh using world and left out of the instant viewing
    crowd of Netflix subscribers, I don't have much hope for
    the configuration described in this article.

    Sounds to me like Netflix is still depending on the same
    authentication scheme that is propietary to Windows XP
    and Vista, exclusively, for the distribution of video content.
    Since you have to use a PC to stream video content to the
    device in order to view it on your TV, I can only assume
    that it is merely a video over ethernet box that converts
    the signal to match non-RF input for television viewing.
    Since it does nothing more, and is completely dependent
    on the computer for everything else, then the viewing
    experience will also be limited to whatever the Windows
    user currently is able to partake via instant viewing
    through Netflix at present. The only change will be that if
    they have an HDTV, they might get to enjoy a slightly
    better, and, yes, larger picture.

    I really don't think Apple has yet been given real
    competition. Looks like Netflix is trying to do a Microsoft
    attempt at entering into a market they probably should not
    enter into, unless they are going to really step up to the
    plate and play hardball.

    Yes, I am a Mac user and I love most Apple products. I am
    not an Apple devotee. I personally think Steve Jobs is an
    idiot and could have taken his company much further and
    higher if he weren't such an arrogant you know what.
    Apple could definitely market itself better and present
    itself better to a wider demographic of customers and they
    would probably have a larger market share than they have,
    but they are consistently making a profit when most of
    those around them are losing money to keep their market
    share dominance. But that is another story.

    If Netflix had entered into the market with something a
    little more comparable to the Apple TV box, Apple and
    iTunes movies sales and rentals would definitely be in
    trouble. Like Microsoft, who thinks that they should, by the
    weight of their name recognition alone, be able to enter
    into any market, with a less than mediocre offering and
    instantly take it over, Netflix is assuming because they
    have taken over the in-hand movie rental marketplace they
    will take over the digital rental and purchase market place
    just by stamping their name on it.

    They really had a chance. They didn't even have to offer
    and equal quality product to the Apple TV box to
    guarantee success. But what they have offered, from the
    description, is so far below it that they are going to have to
    come up with some pretty high premiums to throw in to
    get people to consider going their way, especially if Apple
    decides to throw out a summer or holiday price cut on the
    Apple TV to just kill their box sales as they start to come
    off of the assembly lines.