Dec 9, 2008

Tech - Netflix, TiVo Team Up To Stream Video Content

Jennifer LeClaire

Netflix and TiVo on Monday took their partnership to the next level. The companies announced that consumers who subscribe to both Netflix and TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD, or TiVo HD XL can access movies and TV episodes instantly streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs -- at no additional charge.

"With so much talk focusing on the economy these days, this partnership makes more sense than ever because it brings people more movies at home, offering substantially more entertainment options than cable or satellite," said Tara Maitra, general manager and vice president of content services at TiVo.

Streaming Control

Subscribers can browse through Netflix's library of more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes, add them to their Netflix instant queue, and then watch them on TV. The library includes titles from every genre. Netflix said both standard and HD titles are expected to grow.

"TiVo offers consumers everything they need from just one box. Not only great content from Netflix, but also movies from the Walt Disney Studios and Amazon, music from Rhapsody, videos from YouTube, and even pictures from Picasa Web Albums and Photobucket. And that's all in addition to TiVo's core functionality that made us a favorite in the first place," Maitra said. "It adds up to a one-of-a-kind value."

Movies are streamed from Netflix through TiVo DVRs via a wired or wireless broadband connection and a Netflix queue-based user interface. Films and TV shows in members' individual queues will automatically be displayed on subscribers' TVs, and are available to watch instantly through the TiVo service.

With the TiVo remote control, users can browse their queue, make selections right on the TV screen, and even read synopses and rate movies. In addition, consumers have the option of pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding and restarting the movie or television show.

Expect More from Netflix

Phil Leigh, a senior analyst at Inside Digital Media, said digital-movie fans can expect more initiatives like this from Netflix. Netflix, he noted, is beefing up its management in the area of business development.

"Netflix would like to have its software embedded into as many appliances as possible," he said. "Netflix has also partnered with Xbox and with LG Electronics for their Blu-ray player."

According to Leigh, Netflix recognizes that Internet delivery of video is the next big wave, and postal delivery is something that will be gradually made obsolete. Netflix has already demonstrated that people prefer postal delivery over driving to the store, he said, because too often when you drive to Blockbuster, they don't have what you want.

"Netflix has a superior competitive development to cable's on-demand offerings because the delivery mechanism is more convenient. It's also free if you have both services," Leigh said. "The main disadvantage [Netflix has] is that the cable home delivery has more recent releases. [There is] a library of movies that are available for immediate streaming from Netflix, [but] even though it's 12,000 titles, [it] includes old titles and pretty obscure titles."

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