LG will soon offer a device that plays high definition Blu-ray movies along with video streamed over the Internet from Netflix, which represents the latest move by Netflix to deliver movie rentals online rather than through the mail. Everything available through traditional means, including movies and TV shows will become available instantly through the internet-connected Blu-ray player.
According to Crave, the new LG box due to come out this fall will allow Netflix subscribers the ability to make use of Blu-ray discs and standard DVDs and as well as the ability to tap into an online repository of about 12,000 movies and TV episodes, though it’s only a fraction of the overall inventory at Netflix. The service will be available to subscribers at no additional charge as well.
The player one-ups the Netflix Player by Roku, a set-top box that hit the market a couple months back, because while the Roku device garnered much attention for its streaming-video capabilities, that’s about all it does–it lacked the all essential DVD function which users asked for.
The new product, dubbed the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player, will go on sale in the U.S. in September for “well under $500,” according to Allan Jason, vice president of sales and marketing for digital media products at LG’s U.S. division. In addition to playing high-definition Blu-ray formats, the product will have a jack on the back for plugging into a home network. Movies can be accessed from Netflix and other forms of programming from other sources via the network connection.
The picture quality of streamed movies is comparable with a DVD, though will fall short of the superior images that users of the LG product will get from Blu-ray disc movies. Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix, believes users will accept the lower quality in exchange for instant gratification over the Internet.
The only other big drawback of the Netflix streaming service is that only 12,000 titles out of a total library of more than 100,000 on DVD are available over the Internet, due to restrictions by movie studios. Josh Martin, an analyst at research firm Yankee Group, said the better selection of movies on disc formats compared with the Internet is likely to continue for years to come. It’s simply not possible with current rules and regulations in the industry.
It looks as though users can still add movies and other programming to their online queues, and instead of being sent via mail when it becomes available, it will simply show up on your TV’s queue instead. It’s a pretty cool idea, which should further eliminate the need for video stores all together. Now, what’s Blockbuster’s next move?