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Netflix Streams Movies to Select Macs

27 Oct, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Online DVD rental pioneer Netflix Oct. 27 said it would begin using new software that for the first time would allow Mac users to stream movies on their computers.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix’s Instant Watch streaming service — launched in 2007 — heretofore has only worked on PCs equipped with Microsoft Windows Media Player.

Microsoft Silverlight software works with newer edition Macs outfitted with microchips from Intel Corp., which Netflix said represent about 75% of its Mac-based subscribers.

Launched in 2007, Silverlight received considerable play during the Summer Olympics in Beijing when NBC streamed many of the non-televised sports in the format on its Web site.

The new Netflix movie player features improved fast-forwarding and rewinding capabilities, in addition to DRM that allows for the playback of protected content on both Windows-based PCs and on Macs.

“It’s really fast, too,” said Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey.

Netflix continues to aggressively court digital distribution of movies and TV shows, and features a library of more than 12,000 streams.

To better facilitate its streaming service beyond the Web, the company this year launched the Netflix Player by Roku, and separately partnered with LG Electronics, Samsung and Microsoft on select Blu-ray players and the Xbox 360.

Richard Doherty, technology analyst with The Envisioneering Group in New York, said Netflix has a “tremendous” opportunity to expand its revenue audience and bottom line in the coming quarters through streaming.

“A lot of people are just not as able to buy the TV series sets and mega packs even as they are discounted at retail,” Doherty said. “It’s just a little too high for their credit cards.”


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