Microsoft in Xbox deal with largest movie renter on planet

15 Jul 2008

Later this autumn more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes will be available to gamers as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will become the only games system that lets users instantly watch content streamed from Netflix.

At E3 yesterday, Microsoft announced it has struck a deal with Netflix to make the service available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers.

The service will be available to Xbox LIVE Gold members at no extra cost.

According to Microsoft, along with the Xbox LIVE Marketplace store, Xbox 360 will emerge as the home to more movies and TV shows on demand than any other device connected to a television.

Microsoft said the deal represents the first time in history that a mass-market consumer electronics device has been re-invented through free software.

“Watching movies at home will never be the same. Netflix on Xbox 360 is an entertainment-first, and we are bringing friends together with the best in entertainment content like no other device in the living room,” said John Schappert, corporate VP of Interactive Entertainment LIVE, Software and Services Business at Microsoft.

“We are creating a completely new social entertainment experience, and Xbox 360 will be the only video game system where you can access your library of instantly streamable movies from Netflix and turn any room into a virtual movie theatre.”

From the Netflix website, members simply add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant queues. Those choices will be automatically displayed on the TV screen via Xbox 360 and will be available to watch instantly.

Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming movies to the TV, Xbox LIVE Gold members can fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 controller or media remote.

“Netflix and Xbox 360 are a perfect combination, the leading online movie rental service and the leading games and entertainment system joining forces to create an all-in-one entertainment experience with content for everyone,” said Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix.

“For Netflix, it represents an important step forward in making instantly streaming movies on the TV more broadly available to our members.”

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years