Online movie rental service Netflix announced a partnership with Sony Electronics that will allow customers to enable Netflix subscribers to instantly watch movies streamed from the rental site on Sony's Bravia Internet video-capable high-definition televisions and on previous Bravia models compatible with Sony's Bravia Internet video link module.
Netflix said beginning in fall 2009, members on an unlimited plan can use Sony Bravia Internet video-capable HD-TVs to watch the more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. Sony is the latest consumer electronics company to partner with Netflix, after Microsoft (with the video game console Xbox 360), LG Electronics, Roku, Samsung, TiVo and Vizio.
"Sony has been a world leader in consumer electronics for decades," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. "We are proud to include Sony Electronics among our CE partners who continue to provide new and exciting ways for Netflix members to instantly watch movies and TV episodes in their living rooms on their TVs."
Netflix, which boasts more than 10 million subscribers, announced in May that software giant Microsoft would expand its relationship with Netflix by way of Windows Media Player (WMP), where users who have a Netflix account to stream content from the site. Alongside its partnership with Microsoft (and others), Netflix also has a "streaming feature available to eligible subscribers. "Watch Instantly" enables subscribers, at no additional cost, to stream near-DVD quality movies and recorded television shows instantly, depending on the subscriber's Internet connectivity.
Initially, the feature offered subscribers one hour of media for approximately every dollar they spent on their subscription. (A $16.99 plan, for example, entitled the subscriber to 17 hours of streaming media.) However, in January 2008 Netflix lifted this restriction.
Online retailer Amazon.com has also jumped into the streaming content market with Video On Demand HD service, which gives users the option to rent more than 500 HD-TV shows and movies. Customers can view the HD content on their televisions through set-top devices including the Roku digital video player, TiVo Series3, HD, and HD XL DVRs, and the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link.
At that time Amazon also announced Panasonic's Viera Cast-enabled HD-TV lineup to the number of televisions and devices supported by Amazon Video On Demand. Starting in April, the company's entire Video On Demand library of 40,000 titles, plus the aforementioned HD titles, are also available on Panasonic Viera Cast-enabled HD-TVs. No computer or extra software is required, although you must register with Amazon.com to use the service.