Netflix to Stream Movies Direct to 'Broadband HDTVs'

Dennis Faas's picture

Netflix recently struck a deal with LG that allows its Internet movie-rental service directly to TV sets without any extra hardware boxes required. The news comes as Roku, a firm making set-top boxes for rentals, announced Netflix will no longer be its exclusive provider.

LG will produce 'Broadband HDTVs' which will be publicly unveiled at an entertainment trade fair this month. The sets will plug directly into an Internet connection without having to be routed via a computer or set-top box. Owners will be able to access a Netflix account directly though the TV and remote control, though this will only show the titles they currently have in their queue. Users will still have to go to the Netflix website on a computer to choose which movies they want to make available for viewing. (Source:

The TVs will reportedly cost around $300 more than the same LG model without the Netflix function. That seems a pretty high price to pay for the convenience, considering the fact that existing set-top boxes for the service run around the $100 mark. Indeed, the service is useful for people who were in the market for a new TV anyway, and even then it might not be enough of a benefit to affect a consumer decision.

Meanwhile, Netflix will no longer be the only service available through the Roku box, a $99 set-top device from a firm that also produces equipment for wirelessly streaming music around the home. Users of the box will now be able to access Amazon's video-on-demand service, which includes TV shows as well as movies. (Source:

Because the box is sold for a flat-rate with owners paying separate fees to Netflix for content, the Amazon deal shouldn't affect the retail price of the box. Roku has also indicated the box may be opened up to other content providers this year.

The news should benefit consumers in two ways. First, the purchase price becomes better value with more services available. Secondly, with more than one firm offering content through the same device, the chances are that movie rental prices will eventually come down.

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