LG and Netflix Keep Couch Potatoes Firmly Planted

Dennis Faas's picture

Now that Blu-ray has defeated HD-DVD, the technology has scored yet another victory. Beginning in the fall, LG will begin distributing its new BD300 Blu-ray player, a device with features that should mean it flies off shelves once available.

The BD300 includes 1080p up-conversion, but the kicker is for those customers with a Netflix subscription: movies streaming from the company. (Source: arstechnica.com)

Netflix is part of the new generation of movie rentals. Users can choose a set price per month and enjoy unlimited movie rentals. The price gradations depend on the number of movies rented at one time (maximum 4), and the shipping is free both ways. Luckily, even Netflix customers on the cheapest plan, $8.99/month, qualify for the service. (Source: cnet.com)

Although Netflix has no due dates or late fees, the BD300 saves movie-lovers the hassle of heading to the post office to mail their movies back. Within thirty seconds they can stream TV shows and movies directly to their Blu-ray players, as well as navigate within the movie.

The only downside is that Netflix may not have the movie or TV show that you want to rent. Only 12,000 of Netflix's over 100,000 titles are offered online. Thus subscribers will likely have to continue to rent movies by mail, as well as streaming them.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, LG's new product is estimated to be somewhere around $500. Not cheap for the average home movie fan avoiding the heavy prices of today's theaters.

Does this type of development in the market signal the ultimate demise of heading down to the good old video store? Blockbuster has already stopped late fees (if you don't count the "restocking fee" you get slammed with if you return it really, really late) in an attempt to win back customers. Maybe it's just a matter of time until people stop going to the store altogether.

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