May 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Netflix and Microsoft join forces again on streaming video

Users of Microsoft’s Windows Media Center, which is built into the latest version of Windows, will be able to access 12,000 movies and TV shows from online video rental service Netflix.

Millions of users of Windows PCs are getting easier access to the 12,000 movies and TV shows that Netflix Inc. can deliver by streaming video.

Netflix and Microsoft Corp. have announced that the Windows Media Center built into Vista, the current version of Microsoft Windows, now includes a built-in link to the Netflix streaming video service. Netflix subscribers can launch Windows Media Center, select the new Netflix titles under TV+Movies and begin watching programming immediately, just as they can from the Netflix web site.

Subscribers can also search the entire Netflix library, including filtering by the titles available to stream instantly to their PCs. They can also manage their own Netflix instant and DVD queues from the Windows application.

“There’s no better way to enjoy movies than with Netflix, and this latest offering is another milestone that gives Windows Media Center customers a great experience using the Netflix service,” says Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications at Netflix, No. 18 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

This deal further tightens the ties between Microsoft and Netflix. The two companies announced a deal last year that enables users of the Microsoft Xbox video game console to access Netflix streaming video content. And Netflix CEO Reed Hastings joined the Microsoft board of directors in 2007.

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