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Netflix to Stream Movies via Sony Bravia TVs

9 Jul, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix Inc. July 9 said it would this fall begin streaming movies and episodic television programming to subscribers via Web-enabled Sony Bravia high-definition TVs.

Sony Bravia TVs not connected to the Web can also receive Netflix streams via a separate Bravia Internet video link device.

The partnership between Sony Electronics and the Los Gatos, Calif.-based online DVD rental pioneer marks another step in Netflix’s stated goal to bring its streaming service to 100 third-party consumer electronics devices.

Netflix currently offers more than 12,000 title streams to subscribers via the Microsoft Xbox 360, Roku digital video player, LG Electronics’ BD300 Profile 2.0 Blu-ray player, Samsung’s BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 players and TiVo Series 3, HD and HDXL broadband digital video recorders.  

“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,” said CEO Reed Hastings, in a statement.

Analysts generally applauded the deal, which they said underscores conventional wisdom that ease of use is the best way to introduce new technology to mainstream consumers.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group in San Jose, Calif., said it makes sense from a consumer standpoint to put streaming software directly in the TV rather than a set top box. However, there is also the risk that the streaming hardware will become obsolete in less than three years while a TV has traditional life span of seven years, which Enderle said suggests that a more modular approach might serve the consumer better.

“Consumers often don’t buy strategically and favor ease of use as a key buying criteria so I think this should play well,” he said “The concept of connected TVs will have a lot of implications for the PC and theater market, both in terms of opportunity and risk.”   


Edward Woo, research analyst, equity research with Wedbush Morgan Securities in Los Angeles, said the current usefulness of Netflix streaming is limited because few Bravia TVs on the market have the Bravia link required to stream movies.

“If this adapter becomes standard in all Sony TVs then this would be a big deal, but I don't think this will happen any time within two years,” Woo said. “But think it will happen over the long-term.”

Netflix reports second-quarter financial results July 23.


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