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Netflix, LG to Stream Movies to the Television

2 Jan, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Online DVD rental pioneer Netflix Inc. Jan. 2 said it would begin later this year offering movies and related content directly to televisions via a third-party set-top box.

The reported $799 priced device also plays DVDs and would be manufactured by LG Electronics Inc. through a newly created partnership with the Korean consumer electronics manufacturer.

Similar set-top boxes offered by Apple Inc., Vudu Inc. and Akimbo retail from $299.

Netflix currently offers about 6,000 movie and episodic TV programs that can be streamed directly to the PC. The company recently claimed more than 10 million movies and TV episodes have been streamed by its 7 million subscribers.

“It's going to be very slick and easy,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in a statement. “We want the TV experience to be very relaxing and not like visiting a Web site.”

A Netflix spokesperson for the Los Gatos, Calif.-based service said the announcement was timed for the first business day of 2008 in order to pre-empt what are expected to be a barrage of competing news announcements from next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“We thought, why wait until CES?” said spokesperson Steve Swasey, who wouldn't comment on the device's reported price.

He said the service is talking with other set-top box manufacturers, which could presumably include Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360.

“Our intention is to have Netflix available in 100 set-top boxes,” Swasey said. “LG is the first.”

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