DVD Rentals Coming To Xbox 360

Dennis Faas's picture

Netflix and Microsoft have struck a deal to allow Xbox 360 owners to legally stream movies to their TV sets. The service, which launches this fall, will be free with any subscription to the Netflix rental-by-mail service.

Although a couple of dedicated media streaming boxes already carry licensed Netflix content, this is the first time a games console has had the ability.

Netflix already lets subscribers on all but its cheapest subscription package watch unlimited movies on-demand through their PC. However, copy protection means PC users can only stream movies to their television sets at a low resolution.

At the moment only 10,000 titles in Netflix's 100,000-strong catalogue are available for on-demand viewing. But the firm's CEO Reed Hastings believes the new service will encourage movie studios to make more titles available. That's because they'll receive a cut -- likely around a third -- of the money saved in postage. (Source: gamespot.com)

Some reports suggest users will be able to share 'rented' movies online with friends, though it seems unlikely copyright holders would allow this to happen.

Neither firm is releasing details on how much existing crossover there is between Netflix's 8.2 million customers and the 12 million Xbox 360 users. (Source: reuters.com)

Xbox 360 users can already download and stream some movies through Microsoft's own subscription service, but this offer a much more limited selection. However, Microsoft has just announced deals with NBC and Universal to extend the range of material.

The Netflix-Microsoft deal seems a pretty sensible marriage. Netflix will stave off some subscribers who might have abandoned them altogether to take up Apple's streaming service Apple TV, which lets users watch iTunes content with a dedicated set-top box.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has another selling point to persuade console buyers to pick an Xbox 360 over the Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3.

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