Netflix & LG ("Life is Good") are teaming up to provide a set-top box that will stream movies to TV sets in the second quarter of 2008. LG has not released technical details about the box, such as ports (HDMI? Component? Both?), hard drive, resolution, or other features.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told HackingNetflix that they will be partnering with a number of companies, "Our model is that we don't want one Netflix-branded box, we want to see 100 Netflix-capable boxes. We want to be embedded in high-def DVD players, Internet games, dedicated set-top boxes, a wide range of options, not all instantly. This is the first one, a great proof point."
The only available image at this time is a screenshot of the user interface:
Obligatory quotes from Netflix & LG:
“Internet to the TV is a huge opportunity,” said Netflix Founder, Chairman and CEO Reed Hastings. “Netflix explored also offering its own Netflix-branded set-top boxes but we concluded that familiar consumer electronics devices from industry leaders like LG Electronics are a better consumer solution for getting the Internet to the TV.”
“Consumers crave compelling and immediate content, and the Netflix online streaming movie feature can provide instant gratification. This alliance underscores LG’s goal of developing smart technologies that deliver flexibility, convenience and control to consumers,” said KI Kwon, President of the Consumer Electronics Division of LG Electronics USA, Inc.
What we know so far:
The set-top box will have the same set of movies that are available through Watch Instantly, currently around 6,000 titles. Movies will be streamed to the box, not stored on the device. LG does not have an exclusive deal with Netflix, so we can expect to see other companies to include this feature (Microsoft's Xbox? PS3?). No other partners have been announced at this time, but Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that he wants to see a wide variety of partners using the technology. The pricing for the box has not been set, but I would expect it to cost less than $200 ($99 might be a good introductory price). The box will be sold by LG, but the streaming service is expected to be included in the Netflix subscription price (no additional fee). Netflix is testing unlimited Watch Instantly with a small set of users, so we don't know if the service will be capped or unlimited viewing (my guess is a limited number of movies, since Netflix has to pay the studios for each viewing). We have very little information at this time about the technical specifications of the box, but I wonder if they will include HDMI and component interfaces (the 2 HDMI ports on my LCD TV are already full). My bet is that the box will include a wired ethernet port and 802.11g. Very few people have 802.11n at this time, and Watch Instantly works well over "G."
What do you think? What would you pay for this device?