May 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Netflix service delivers movie fans’ favorite flicks directly to their TVs

Netflix customers who can’t wait for the postman to deliver their favorite flick can now have movies sent instantly to their TVs. Netflix has introduced the Netflix Player by Roku, which allows users to view movies and shows directly from the web.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Netflix customers who simply can’t wait for the postman to deliver their favorite flick via snail mail can now have movies sent instantly to their TVs from the Internet. The online DVD rental service has introduced the Netflix Player by Roku, a $99 dollar device that allows users to view movies and shows whenever they want, for no additional fee beyond their monthly subscription.

Netflix announced early this year that it was working with consumer electronics manufacturers to develop a device that would enable Internet-to-TV distribution of digital movies and television shows. Netflix already allows subscribers to watch such content on their computers.

The new device, manufactured by digital technology firm Roku Inc, is about the size of a paperback book and hooks up to users’ TV and Internet connections. Subscribers go online, add titles to their queue, and then view the selections on their TVs. The player comes with a remote control, which allows users to navigate through titles, fast forward and rewind, read synopses and rate movies. The player is also Wi-Fi enabled, Netflix says, which means it will work with wireless Internet connections. The Netflix Player by Roku offers access to more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes, Netflix says. Netflix subscribers who receive their Netflix DVDs through postal mail can choose from more than 100,000 DVD titles.

"The key breakthroughs of The Netflix Player by Roku are simplicity and cost," says Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix. "First, it allows consumers to use the full power of the Netflix web site to choose movies for their instant queue, and then automatically displays only those choices on the TV screen. Second, there are no extra charges and no viewing restrictions. For a one-time purchase of $99, Netflix members can watch as much as they want and as often as they want without paying more or impacting the number of DVDs they receive."

Apple Inc. offers a similar service with its Apple TV. That device comes with a $229 price tag and offers film rentals for about $4, but also provides free podcasts and access to YouTube content.

Subscribers can purchase the player at http://www.roku.com/netflixplayer. Netflix, No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, says it has more than 8 million subscribers.

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