LG Electronics on Wednesday said this fall it will start selling a new Blu-ray DVD player that will allow Netflix members to watch as many as 12,000 films and TV episodes streamed directly from the Web to their TV sets.
LG and Netflix had previously said they would provide a
set-top box in the second half of 2008, but gave few
Company officials said the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray disc
player would be priced at "well under $500" and that
Netflix members could stream films and TV episodes
through the device at no additional price to their
monthly subscription plans.
Netflix subscribers will be able to stream programs in
standard definition -- not the high-definition level of
Blu-ray. Streaming content from Netflix to the TV via the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player will rely on a wired broadband connection and Queue-based user interface. Netflix members will use the Netflix Web site to add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues. Those choices will automatically be displayed on members' TVs and available to watch instantly through the LG player. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. With the BD300's accompanying remote control, Netflix members will be able to browse and make selections right on the TV screen and also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies. In addition, they will have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding the video stream.
The LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player will also play high definition Blu-ray discs, up-convert standard DVDs to 1080p and supports BD Live features. The palyer also includes LG's SimpLink technology, which allows users to control similarly equipped LG TV and AV products via on-screen menus or directly from the product itself.
Netflix offers Blu-ray DVDs through its by-mail service
and said last week it will soon test price increases for
those high-definition discs.
The DVD renter has
been moving aggressively to extend its streaming service
to TV amid increased challenges in the sector from Web
giants like Apple and Amazon.com Inc .
Netflix also has reached a deal to let members watch
streamed content on Microsoft Xbox 360 game consoles.
LG and Netflix said LG's Blu-ray player was the first to
be bundled with a streaming service. While nonexclusive,
LG said it has no plans to offer other streaming
"As Blu-ray player sales are expected to triple in three years, consumers are craving content and seeking a premium home entertainment experience," said LG Electronics USA President Teddy Hwang. "The BD300 is another LG industry first and provides consumers with an advanced high-def disc player with unparalleled flexibility and networked access for services such as Netflix."
U.S. consumer awareness about Blu-ray is rising, but
adoption of the technology still faces challenges due to
price, and perceptions among consumers content with
standard DVDs, according to research company NPD Group.
LG expects between 3 million and 4 million
Blu-ray players to be sold industrywide for calendar
year 2008 and that this number should triple over the
next few years.