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Nintendo of America Inc. and Netflix, Inc. announced today that Netflix members who are also owners of Nintendo's Wii™ gaming console will be able to watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs.
“Our research shows that 86 percent of all U.S. Wii consoles are located in the living room,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “The Wii console is the social hub around which friends and family members gather to play games and have fun. Soon both new and longtime Wii owners will enjoy the benefits of Netflix – and a variety of informational and entertainment options – by being Netflix members and connecting their consoles to the Internet.”
“Our goal is to offer Netflix members as many ways as possible to watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix right to their TVs and to give non-members more and compelling reasons to consider the service,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Joining forces with Nintendo, which has been so immensely popular with consumers since its introduction, is a very meaningful step in that direction.”
The feature is scheduled to go live this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month. Obviously, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection will be necessary as well.
To enable their systems to stream content from Netflix, Wii owners will need a Netflix instant-streaming disc for the Wii console, which will be available at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers. The free disc looks and operates the same as a disc-based Wii game, and the entire user experience will feel natural and intuitive to Wii console owners.
If you are already a Netflix members and you own a Wii, you can reserve a free instant-streaming disc by going to www.netflix.com/Wii. Once available in the spring, the discs will be delivered for free by first-class mail.
If you are not yet a Netflix member, please click here to sign up for Netflix and get a free trial of the service!
If you do not own a Wii, but were thinking about it, this announcement may push you over that edge. Gift Shop merchant Amazon.com has them available now for $199.99, which is $50 cheaper than they sold for last year this time.
Netflix Instant Streaming has become a very popular feature since it was introduced in January 2008, with the ability to watch movies and TV shows on your computer and various Netflix-enabled devices, including several Blu-ray players (like the LG BD 370), TVs, the Xbox 360 and PS3 game consoles, and set-top boxes like the Roku HD Player.
I have tried the service on a variety of platforms, including the PC, the PS3, and on the LG BD 370 Blu-ray player. The quality is pretty good, considering that it's streaming from the Internet, but it does require a reasonably fast connection to enjoy properly. A basic 320kbps DSL service is a little slow for such activity, but if you're patient, it is functional and the quality is acceptable.
The Netflix interface varies among the platforms, with the more advanced platforms having more features available. While you can only browse your Instant Watching Queue and select a show from it on the BD 370, the PS3 allows you to browse through related lists as well. The press release from Netflix and Nintendo seems to imply that the feature set will be closer to that of the PS3 than the BD 370.
Source: Netflix/Nintendo Press Release
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