This announcement is welcome, but why only on the Xbox?
Microsoft Corp. and Netflix, Inc., the world’s largest online movie rental service, today unveiled an exclusive partnership to offer consumers the ability to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Xbox 360 will be the only game system that lets users instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. This movie watching innovation will be available to Xbox LIVE Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers and will let those users enjoy streaming movies from Netflix on Xbox LIVE at no additional cost.
Netflix on Xbox 360 is an important component of the new Xbox experience, a new generation of games and entertainment experiences that will be available on Xbox 360 consoles this fall. The new Xbox experience, also announced today at the E3 Media and Business Summit, represents the first time in history that a mass-market consumer electronics device has been re-invented through free software, giving people more fun and intuitive ways to interact, play and enjoy entertainment content.
It sure seems like it should be possible for this service to be ported to Windows Media Center. As an early adopter of Media Center technologies and a Netflix subscriber who isn’t a gamer, I feel left out (to put it mildly) when I read announcements like this. Look at this description, for instance:
From the Netflix Web site, members simply add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues. Those choices will be automatically displayed on the TV screen via Xbox 360 and available to watch instantly. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to instantly streaming movies to the TV, Xbox LIVE Gold members can fast-forward, pause and rewind, all using either their Xbox 360 Controller or Media Remote. In all, the user interface creates a highly personalized experience that puts viewers in control.
I’d love to be able to do this via a Media Center Extender, but I guess my only option for now is an unsupported user-written plug-in. Thanks, Netflix. And thanks, Microsoft. At least you can get an earful from your own community now.
Update: Chris Lanier seems to agree:
Yesterday Microsoft announced that they are partnering with Netflix to bring Netflix’s streaming content to the Xbox 360 Dashboard. What was not announced however is the same in Media Center. The good news is that Microsoft now has the backend to make it work. The bad news [is] that knowing them Netflix streaming may never be ported to Media Center. Looks like the Xbox 360 Dashboard is still Media Center biggest enemy.
Be sure to read the comments here and under Chris’s post.