Netflix Thinks Inside the Box

Reuters reported this week that Netflix has expanded its partnerships with set-top box makers. In addition to their existing deal with LG Electronics, the company expects to announce three more partnerships that will let subscribers watch movies on their TVs, streamed directly from the Internet. The Netflix CEO stated that we can expect to see products from all four companies that incorporate the streaming functions before the end of this year.

According to the article, the online streaming will be bundled with the regular subscription plans at no extra charge. Netflix currently has about 9,000 movies and TV episodes available on their PC service, compared with about 100,000 movie titles in their DVD-by-mail service.

As postage rates continue to rise, Internet delivery of movies makes a great deal of sense, and set-top box partnerships should make selecting a Netflix movie as easy as picking a channel or any cable video-on-demand program. This is clearly where the movie rental market is headed, and it looks as though we’re going to be able to enjoy Netflix this way starting later this year. The big problem then will be how fast the company can convert its physical library for digital distribution.