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Thursday, July 31, 2008
LG BD300 Blu-ray Player to Stream Netflix Movies From Web

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 details.

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 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 services yet.

"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.

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