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Microsoft and Netflix announced last week a partnership to deliver movies and TV shows from the Netflix "Instant Watch" library to owners of the Xbox 360 game system that also subscribe to the Gold level of Microsoft's Xbox Live service.
The new service will launch in "late Fall" and will make available the 10,000+ movies and TV shows that are part of the Netflix library that can be downloaded by Netflix subscribers. In my experience, the selection of movies and TV shows are a little thin, but I recently used the Instant Watch feature on my laptop while on vacation to watch a little of Jerry Maguire. The video quality was acceptable, but my expectations were low and the audio quality was hard to judge through laptop speakers.
Most certainly, this release was timed to coincide with Sony's announcement of their video delivery service, in the hopes of keeping Sony from having all the press coverage. The big difference here is that Sony has launched their service, they have HD titles available, and recent blockbusters are also available, while the Netflix partnership with Microsoft hasn't launched yet, Netflix doesn't stream HD content yet, and the current selection of titles doesn't have much in the way of recent movies or TV shows.
I'll take and here and now over coming real soon any day!
The full press release from Netflix and Microsoft appears below.
Microsoft and Netflix Unveil Partnership to Instantly Stream Movies and TV Episodes to the TV via Xbox LIVE
Exclusive agreement creates game-changing home entertainment experience; more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes will be available to watch instantly at no additional cost to paying subscribers.
LOS ANGELES, July 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- An exciting new home theater experience is coming to living rooms this holiday season. At the E3 Media and Business Summit, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the world's largest online movie rental service, today unveiled an exclusive partnership to offer consumers the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Xbox 360 will be the only game system that lets users instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. This movie watching innovation will be available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers and will let those users enjoy streaming movies from Netflix on Xbox LIVE at no additional cost.
A growing library of more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes will be available from Netflix when it launches on Xbox LIVE in late fall, with more choices added over time. Through this agreement, along with the existing Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store, Xbox 360 will be home to more movies and TV shows on demand than any other device connected to the TV. Xbox LIVE quickly and easily connects consumers and their friends to the entertainment they want -- with no PC required for viewing.
Netflix on Xbox 360 is an important component of the new Xbox experience, a new generation of games and entertainment experiences that will be available on Xbox 360 consoles this fall. The new Xbox experience, also announced today at the E3 Media and Business Summit, represents the first time in history that a mass-market consumer electronics device has been re-invented through free software, giving people more fun and intuitive ways to interact, play and enjoy entertainment content.
"Watching movies at home will never be the same. Netflix on Xbox 360 is an entertainment first, and we are bringing friends together with the best in entertainment content like no other device in the living room," said John Schappert, corporate vice president of Interactive Entertainment LIVE, Software and Services Business at Microsoft. "We are creating a completely new social entertainment experience, and Xbox 360 will be the only video game system where you can access your library of instantly streamable movies from Netflix and turn any room into a virtual movie theater."
From the Netflix Web site, members simply add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues. Those choices will be automatically displayed on the TV screen via Xbox 360 and available to watch instantly. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming movies to the TV, Xbox LIVE Gold members can fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 Controller or Media Remote. In all, the user interface creates a highly personalized experience that puts viewers in control.
"Netflix and Xbox 360 are a perfect combination, the leading online movie rental service and the leading games and entertainment system joining forces to create an all-in-one entertainment experience with content for everyone," said Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix. "For Netflix, it represents an important step forward in making instantly streaming movies on the TV more broadly available to our members."
The library of movies and TV episodes that will be available for instant streaming from Netflix via Xbox 360 includes scores of Academy Award winners and nominees, episodes from a number of popular, currently running and classic TV shows, and 24 of the movies rated by the American Film Institute as the greatest ever.
Today, Xbox LIVE members can also download movies and purchase TV shows from the industry-leading Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store, currently packed with content from more than 45 networks and studios. The Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store offers more than twice the high-definition content than the nearest cable provider and more than 6,000 hours of TV shows and movies.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of nearly 400 games in 37 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Xbox LIVE
Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects more than 12 million members across 26 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows, and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
About Netflix, Inc.
Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is the world's largest online movie rental service, with more than eight million subscribers. For one low monthly price, Netflix members can get DVDs delivered to their homes and can instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed to their TVs and PCs, all in unlimited amounts. Members can choose from over 100,000 DVD titles and a growing library of more than 10,000 choices that can be watched instantly. There are never any due dates or late fees. DVDs are delivered free to members by first class mail, with a postage-paid return envelope, from over 100 U.S. shipping points. More than 95 percent of Netflix members live in areas that generally receive shipments in one business day. Netflix is also partnering with leading consumer electronics companies to offer a range of devices that can instantly stream movies and TV episodes to members' TVs from Netflix. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Source: Microsoft Corp.
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