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Netflix Hopes to Offer Services Via 360, PS3

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the my-queue-is-huuuge dept.

Movies 47

Gamasutra is reporting on comments made by Netflix in a recent financials conference call. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated that the company is looking to offer movie service via next gen consoles at some point. "[Said Hastings,] 'In terms of enabling the viewing of online content on the television screen, we are exploring a variety of options, including Internet connected, high definition DVD players, internet connected game consoles, and dedicated internet set tops, with a variety of partners, trying to understand the best ways to provide inexpensive viewing of online content on the television.' .. It is unclear, however, whether either Sony or Microsoft would allow such a service to become available on their consoles, as both Sony prepares and Microsoft already offers their own internet-connected video-on-demand services over their respective networks."

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Holy crap! (4, Funny)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132139)

You mean to tell me... I could watch movies... ON MY TV!

Why didn't somebody think of this before? It could spawn a whole new industry!

Re:Holy crap! (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132219)

You could before, but now you'll be able to do it without a cable subscription and without getting off your ass, even just to check the mail.

If they offered an unlimited monthly service, at a very cheap rate ($15?), I'd go for it. If they also expanded to stream current TV eps, I'd drop my cable service totally and just pay them, even for as much as my cable service charges. You see, my cable provider doesn't let me pick when I want to watch it unless I remember to tell the machine to record the show (including shows I didn't know I wanted to watch) and that my power doesn't flicker in the middle of recording. Since I -never- randomly watch TV (no time), Netflix would provide all I want and more, and I'd pay them the same $60/mo instead.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133257)

You could before, but now you'll be able to do it without a cable subscription and without getting off your ass, even just to check the mail.
Like was said in the other thread, it's not that this is anything new, especially to those of us with PC's and bittorrent. But to the non-geek, this is huge, a drastic change in the way things are done. I've been reading predictions for years of what the death of primetime would mean for the networks. The VCR killed primetime for the geek audience but many people will still watch their shows live, even if they have a VCR and can otherwise time-shift and decommercialize their entertainment. That's just the way people are. There's also a large contingent who will just turn on the TV and watch what's on which is completely alien to most geeks like us because we usually either really want to see something or are completely indifferent to it, not much casual channel-surfing.

I get cable via my HOA fee but I'd chuck it if I could, it holds no value for me. I tape the Daily Show and Colbert but could just as easily download them if I wanted to. The cable company is horrified by the thought of being turned into just another data pipe. Phone company, cable company, or even the power company, who cares how you get the data so long as you do? Make every service a la carte and you've just changed everything.

If you think about it, there's a lot of utter crap that gets sponsored by your cable fee. You help subsidize the religion channels, MTV, VH1, home shopping, etc. Imagine if you could say to hell with all of it. Imagine if you could just support the shows you like directly and that's that.

All of this has been theoretically worked out years ago, it was just a matter of a big enough push coming to finally change the way things are done. Remember when people were talking about streaming video over the internet and everyone laughed because it was so impossible as to defy credulity? I remember watching Kilborn-era Daily Shows under Real Audio back in the first season or two and thinking "Wow, that splotch almost looks like someone's face! If they streamed porn over this thing, it would be just like having the playboy channel scrambled on TV!" And look at it now, it is a reality. And that's what's happening with video on demand. If you listen closely, the tortured screaming you hear are television and advertising executives incapable of dealing with a massive paradigm shift. Listen to their anguish and smile.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133459)

Like was said in the other thread, it's not that this is anything new, especially to those of us with PC's and bittorrent.
Except for those of us that, as a matter of principle, refuse to download content that the owner has not chosen to distribute.

There are a few of us, even on Slashdot. I am pleased to see Netflix present an alternative.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133571)

Like was said in the other thread, it's not that this is anything new, especially to those of us with PC's and bittorrent.
Except for those of us that, as a matter of principle, refuse to download content that the owner has not chosen to distribute.

There are a few of us, even on Slashdot. I am pleased to see Netflix present an alternative.
Hell, I'd be willing to pay my $6 for an HD movie worth the cost. I don't happen to see any listed at the moment but I'd spring for it if some people were coming over and we were having a movie night. Cheaper than Blockbuster with the gas and having to make the return, far cheaper than the theater. It's just that for the most part, the content owners are acting like cunts so I choose to enjoy their product the way I see fit rather than the other way around. Every time I view a legitimate DVD and have to wait through the FBI warning or forced previews, I just think about how I wouldn't be dealing with this crap if I just pirated the thing. When I have to call up Microsoft's fucking Indian tech support to read off 40 digit numbers to revalidate software I legitimately paid for, I think about how pirates don't have to bother with this shit. I think it's a simple proposition, content owners: don't act like a cunt and I'll pay for your product.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135197)

$6 for waiting 30-40 hours for the h264-movie to download? Have better things to do...

Re:Holy crap! (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135237)

$6 for waiting 30-40 hours for the h264-movie to download? Have better things to do...
I haven't downloaded the movies off of them yet but they're about 3.4gb and the Microsoft servers seem to operate at full throttle, maxing out my consumer DSL. And since they download the movie from beginning to last rather than bittorrent's "any order we can get it in" fashion, you can start watching before it's finished.

Look at it this way: if you're getting the movie from bittorrent, it will certainly take even longer. If that's a good trade-off for free, you're happy. If you absolutely have to have the movie right now, you can go out to the video store. That's going to take at least a half hour, even if the store is close. If it isn't, add travel time.

It's a nice option to have.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133389)

> If they offered an unlimited monthly service, at a very cheap rate ($15?), I'd go for it.

Um, sorry to burst your bubble, but that's the kind of money you need to pay for renting music. Given that movies cost significantly more to deliver to you [ie, LOTS of bandwidth], the service would probably have to be limited so you could only download 1 or 2 movies per week for that $15.

Unless you want some crazy low-resolution video that looks like crap on your hi-def TV screen. And shake hands with DRM out the wazoo.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134483)

Unless you want some crazy low-resolution video that looks like crap on your hi-def TV screen. And shake hands with DRM out the wazoo.

Which, quite frankly, would be fine with me, as whatever compression my cable co. is using is fucking horrendous. I end up downloading most of the TV I watch due to time constraints (the mythbox is nowhere near ready), but I get an added advantage that it looks better on my TV than the service I actually pay for.

Re:Holy crap! (1)

riceboy50 (631755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133743)

my cable provider doesn't let me pick when I want to watch it unless I remember to tell the machine to record the show (including shows I didn't know I wanted to watch)
You've just described TiVo service [tivo.com] . Between Season Passes and Wish Lists, you shouldn't need to remember to tell your TiVo to record things you want to see. Even if you find out about something you want to see, and you're not at home, you can queue it to record from the Internet. The linked page doesn't describe it, but there is even a feature called Recommendations that will automatically record shows it thinks you might like based on other shows you've recorded. That at least somewhat addresses your need to watch shows you didn't know you wanted to see...

Re:Holy crap! (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133913)

hell if they did that on a 360... i would drop cable - pay them the same rate as cable + buy a damn 360 to do it

if the did it on a PS3.. i would jsut wait till they/someone else did it for the 360/Wii and buy one of them

Re:Holy crap! (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21138031)

360 pretty much has that already (streaming of current eps - or at least you can start watching them while they are still downloading), though a la carte rather than for a subscription.

However, bittorrent is damn fast and you can stream that TO your 360.

What's the incentive for MSFT/SNE??? (1)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132165)

Ok, they 'plan' on doing this. But what exactly is the incentive for Microsoft and Sony to hop on this. Especially, with my understanding of Sony, they're probably going to distribute their own content. Microsoft, may be up to that idea, but even if it is you still have to ask yourself this question: Even if Netflix's plans come to fruition, is it really better than similar services that will be offered by Verizon's Fios, Tivo/Amazn, possibly Apple's iTunes, Google/Netlfix, in the future? We already have a lot of content on demand from Cablevision and Comcast. They had first mover advantage in snail mail, but no longer in digital delivery - I think Netflix is going to make like Palm, and move on its way merry way out of the limelight.

Re:What's the incentive for MSFT/SNE??? (1)

TimothyDavis (1124707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133001)

I would imagine that the platform that has the most 3rd party support would be the most successful. There are a lot of benefits to being the system that everyone chooses - while 90% of my movie money might go to Netflix, I still see the xbox ads and I still buy other services on the platform (including a annual subscription to xbox live).

Re:What's the incentive for MSFT/SNE??? (1)

killbill! (154539) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133217)

Digital delivery is a non-starter, because it assumes that phone / cable companies will let pure Internet players compete on equal footing with their own VoD offerings. It's the same issue as with third-party VOIP providers.

ISPs' attempts to end "Net neutrality" are not about bandwidth costs, but all about unfair competition.

In other news... (0, Offtopic)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132321)

Slashdot User "njfuzzy" Hopes to Experience Threesome with Milla Jovovich, Angelina Jolie

How it is news that someone wants to do something extremely unlikely?

Re:In other news... (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132429)

Because I can't order three dvds from you at a time to watch any time I want for only $16.99?/p

Re:In other news... (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132893)

Slashdot User "njfuzzy" Hopes to Experience Threesome with Milla Jovovich, Angelina Jolie

How it is news that someone wants to do something extremely unlikely?
Milla Jovovich I can see. But Ms. Jolie has not aged well. See any non-touched up no-make up pictures of her and you wonder if thats still human.

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133385)

Milla Jovovich I can see. But Ms. Jolie has not aged well. See any non-touched up no-make up pictures of her and you wonder if thats still human.
That's not age, my friend, that's bad plastic surgery.

http://www.popular-pics.com/pictures.aspx?photoid=104 [popular-pics.com]

http://www.superphotospace.com/images/thumb/ang_jolie_nj1_4497c80dccbf0-t.jpg [superphotospace.com]

With her current rate of surgical progression, she will look like this in ten years.

http://michaelgenrich.com/blog/images/carville_batboy.jpg [michaelgenrich.com]

What, no Wii? (2, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132383)

Honestly, that is probably the console that will get the greatest use out of that feature.

Re:What, no Wii? (1)

tmjr3353 (925558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132459)

Not if they're looking to display content in HD it isn't.

Re:What, no Wii? (2, Insightful)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132645)

HD? Are they really steaming HD movies already? I only ask because I don't have enough bandwidth for that. Well, I might but I've never seen it actually work that well for a very long time. Gametrailser [gametrailers.com] 's HD content usually has to buffer to 90% or beyond to watch a whole preview. Could just be my crappy provider (Qwest, no fiber).

I'm sure the Wii could play MP4's in 480P pretty well if they wanted to let you. It'd be nice if I could view my photos and my videos off the digital camera. But, yeah, if they did have HD content available (and the bandwidth), no chance.

Re:What, no Wii? (1)

tmjr3353 (925558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132881)

The summary mentioned HD, which is why I brought it up. That being said, I'd imagine it's possible in certain markets. I get 30/5 at home which I imagine would be able to stomach it (even if not entirely streaming -- partial downloading perhaps?) Which brings up another issue on the Wii, extremely limited hard drive capacity. Fine if you can stream fluently, but significant buffering requirements rule it out. Yet another issue with the Wii would be lack of ability to output Dolby Digital (IIRC anyway). I'd imagine that's an even more pertinent issue for watching film than HD. If Netflix/MS teamed up on this service with the 360 I think I'd give it a trail run.

Re:What, no Wii? (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133081)

You can "rent" HD versions of movies from the xbox live marketplace right now. Granted, it's a download, but it's still 1080p hd content.

Re:What, no Wii? (1)

d0rp (888607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134299)

You can "rent" HD versions of movies from the xbox live marketplace right now. Granted, it's a download, but it's still 1080p hd content.
In my experience, all of the HD movies I've seen on xbox live are only in 720p (which is fine for me, because my projector only supports up to 720p), and they cost around $6 for a 24 hour rental. It was fun for a few tries, but really, the $6 is still too much.

I love my netflix, though, so if they do manage to work something out with microsoft, it might pretty good.

Re:What, no Wii? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135033)

But who wants to download HD movies?

Ok, that's rhetorical, obviously some people do, but I don't, and I don't think most people really do. Even on a fast connection, there's a substantial difference between a 2 gig file and a 20 gig file. I would almost always opt for the smaller; the difference in quality isn't enough for me to care about.

Also, consider the Wii can display in 480p HD, which isn't stellar, but it's better than the SDTV that most people are used to. DVD quality video is still quite acceptable. The problem with this service on the Wii is lack of storage space.

TFA is misleading. (2, Informative)

WoTG (610710) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136065)

This confused me also, I figured Wii is a no-brainer, even if it's not at the maximum resolution that Netflix is willing to stream. So, since I've been considering buying shares in Netflix, I decided to actually RTFA.

The author of the article on Gamasutra.com used PS3 and XBox as examples. The actual transcript of the conference call does not mention PS3 or Xbox, just this:

"In terms of enabling the viewing of online content on the television screen, we are exploring a variety of options, including Internet connected, high definition DVD players, Internet connected game consoles, and dedicated Internet set tops, with a variety of partners, trying to understand the best ways to provide inexpensive viewing of online content on the television."

http://seekingalpha.com/article/50856-netflix-q3-2007-earnings-call-transcript?source=yahoo [seekingalpha.com]

So... the millions of Wii's out there will probably have their chance at this too, IMHO.

Mac? (3)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132403)

Could they please open up their VoD service to us humble Mac users? There are quite a lot of us.

Re:Mac? (2, Interesting)

macdude22 (846648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132485)

They demo'd a silverlight based solution that ran on OS X (and Linux I think) some time ago, Silverlight has long since been released but alas no watch now upgrade. I've emailed them a couple times announcing my disappointment, as a Netflixer of going on 7 years they've gotten a lot of my money so they can spend some of it to support my Mac. Not something I'm going to cancel them over, as they are an incredible value to me, but I'll still be a grumbly fellow about it. I was really excited about the Silverlight solution as it looked to support just about everything, Mac, Windows, Linux, your amiga toaster.

Re:Mac? (1)

ChaoticLimbs (597275) | more than 6 years ago | (#21155667)

your amiga toaster. Funny, my Amiga HAD a toaster. Video Toaster to be precise.

Re:Mac? (1)

Ixtl (1022043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132499)

I'll second that--they want to put it on everything from a Windows box to your pocket calculator, but I can't run it on OSX or Linux? Bloody savages.

Re:Mac? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132543)

Hell, their VoD service doesn't even work for Windows XP x64 Edition users.

And on normal 32-bit Windows, if you keep a smaller C: partition and keep all your data on a D: partition, there's no way to tell their player to not write the file to your C: drive. So, on both by 32 and 64 bit machines, I cannot watch their damn VoD.

Re:Mac? (1)

Jthon (595383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134501)

You're talking about Netflix correct? I've watched several streamed films/shows on my Windows XP Pro x64 machine. You just need to use the 32 bit IE to watch the movies. I just wish it worked in Firefox.

Re:Mac? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 5 years ago | (#21211647)

Yes, NetFlix.

Really, you got it to work? Perhaps I should try again, it's been a few months. That would be cool.

Re:Mac? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#21263251)

Wow, thanks for the information. It now works on XP x64 using the 32 bit browser! Happily watching movies now! :)

Re:Mac? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21132723)

Why bother? Macs can't even output proper 1080p @ 24Hz. Bloody useless for HD HTPC. No point building in blu-ray or HD-DVD drives for macs until they can at least talk to decent HD panels and not fuck up frame rates.

It is better than competing services (5, Informative)

zpapasmurf (761470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132567)

Having used the netflix "watch it now" service as well as iTunes I can say that of the two, Netflix is superior. Having not used Amazon's service or movielink or anything like that I can't comment on them except to say that I would never use them.

With netflix, I pay 16.99 a month for 3 movies out at a time. On top of that I get 17 hours of online watching for free (As in, when I signed up I paid that amount for the DVDs and no instant viewing). What I like about the Netflix service is that A) It's fast... movies start within 15 seconds B) It scales well depending on your connection speed (up to DVD resolution video) and C) I "rent" the material, I do not pay to own it.

Recently, Netflix has also partnered with NBC and I know that for some shows (Heroes specifically) they will put the most recent episode on line 2 days after it airs without commercial in widescreen 720x480 resolution.

I have also heard that netflix are testing out plans for unlimited online viewing along with DVD rentals at their current prices for new customers. It seems like a win win to me.

Re:It is better than competing services (1)

horatio (127595) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133819)

Having not used Amazon's service or movielink or anything like that I can't comment on them except to say that I would never use them.

Amazon sucks mostly because their selection available for the TiVo is crap. I don't want to watch movies on my laptop, or sitting at my desk. I want to watch them on my damn TV. As a previous Netflix subscriber, they have an incredible selection. I've said this before, but whatever the problem was between TiVo and Netflix, they should have worked it out if only because it could have made both of them money. I seriously hope that whenever the contract between TiVo and Amazon expires, TiVo will talk to Netflix again.

Re:It is better than competing services (1)

agent00013 (45445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135123)

I believe the NBC shows (at least Heroes) can be watched on Netflix later the same night after the show is done airing. They've been advertising it towards the end of Heroes episodes this season.

Fanboy == me. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133019)

Okay.. so I tried to resist the urge to post this.. but I failed.

HOLY COW THAT IS AWESOME!!

I'm already a netflix subscriber, and I love the video on demand features - but I hate watching these movies on my computer screen with lo-fi stereo speakers, when I'm sitting in the same room as my widescreen HD TV and Dolby Stereo system. I end up using it to watch mostly documentaries - since I don't care so much if I hear "This movie is not yet rated" in surround sound.

What I find so please about this concept is the idea of a company I already give money to, turning around and handing me new services for no extra charge.. that really leverage all the high priced equipment I've already bought. Dude!

-GiH

Okay, sorry for the fanboism.

Here's the happy medium for everyone... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133369)

So basically, Netflix would like to save me the step of ripping their DVDs to H.264 and streaming them to my 360 from my desktop :-) Sweet! *snickers* OK, now down to business...

MS would probably not like this too much because they already offer a lot of current TV shows and movies on Xbox Live. TV shows are usually $2.00 each and movies are $3-$6 depending upon the offering and if the film is in HD or not. If you like to watch a lot of TV, those Microsoft Points add up quickly, in which case you're better off getting cable or satellite for your TV needs. But compared to Netflix, Microsoft has a tiny library.

Netflix is just the opposite...you pay $10-25 per month for an all-you-can-eat plan, but you have to wait for the movies to come in the mail. 1 day if you live up the street from the distribution center or up to a few days if much further. If Netflix could offer their entire library online, instantly, that is worth maybe even a few dollars more per month than their most expensive plan because your movie/TV show turnover rate is a lot higher now. And, at a nonetheless flat rate, it would still be a better deal than Xbox Live's piecemeal offerings for at least $2 a pop.

Re:Here's the happy medium for everyone... (1)

tcolberg (998885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134495)

I've been excited about this offer since I heard an inkling of it. I'm already a full bore subscriber to Netflix and would be all over the digital distribution if I could easily watch the movies on my TV. Even if I had to pay up to get Netflix digital distribution on my TV (especially if it were unlimited), I'd be all over it like a cheap two dollar suit.

Personally, I think Microsoft would like this plan. One would suppose that most of the money from their current XBLM à la carte sales goes to the licensing, not to MSFT's pockets. So whether or not Netflix's plan would give them a cut of the money from digital distribution to the 360, they should embrace it. It might help convince a few more people out there to buy an Xbox 360. It helps the 360 nullify the PS3's planned PVR features. It makes up for the continually flawed execution of Windows Media Center. It's win-win for MSFT, Netflix, and the consumer.

Meh, Me Matey... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133555)

Like NetFlix's already operational streaming service "Instant Viewing", this would be more or less valueless considering it takes away the biggest feature of the NetFlix experience: piracy.

Re:Meh, Me Matey... (1)

wernercd (837757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134517)

Depends on how they set it up... if you can stream & rip somehow then it wouldn't be any different than mail > rip > return. Which also means that odds are, it won't happen without some draconian drm scheme that ruins it.

Open up what you already have (2, Insightful)

cerelib (903469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133657)

They should start by making their "Watch Instantly" video-on-demand system work on other operating systems and browsers. Right now it is "Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher, running Internet Explorer version 6 or higher". I am not a fan of Flash, so I hate to say it, but at least start by switching to Flash instead of ActiveX (or whatever Windows tech they are using). I don't get it really. They will send me a DVD that I can (maybe not allowed, but still can) make copies of and re-encode to whatever format I want, but they won't send me the bits to play using any software I want.

rent videogames (1)

wpegden (931091) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135031)

How about they move into the console market by including videogame rentals in netflix subscriptions?

the 360 needs it (1)

shlepp (796599) | more than 6 years ago | (#21142811)

There is a problem with Microsoft and their 360 and countries that are not the United States. They don't get the video market place, up here in Canada we don't have access to the video marketplace, and the 360 has been out the longest. Maybe Microsoft should allow netflix on the 360 so people in Canada can actually use a feature we should already have had over a year ago.
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