Netflix streaming on the way to your Wii

Chris Caceres · March 25, 2010 · Short URL:

But don't get your hopes up, not everyone will receive access just yet

Netflix announced on Thursday, Nintendo via Wii streaming functionality is on the way - oddly enough, in the mail. 

Why do I use the word 'oddly?'  Well, what Netflix is trying to do is turn your Nintendo Wii into a device for playing back movies from its Instant Streaming service.  So you may wonder, why is it coming in the mail?...the streaming functionality only works with a physical disc you have to load in your console, like a DVD or a game.

If you know a bit of Netflix' history on video game consoles, inserting a disc to get streams going is nothing too new.  PS3 users streaming movies from Netflix need to do the same thing.  On the other hand, XBox 360 users have it an app installed on their operating system, which is a bit more convenient than constantly inserting a disc to download movies.  And it's not like you can't install and download games on the Wii, so why the need for a disc - something Netflix has yet to share.  

Either way, it's another great step at getting online video on living room televisions...the blurring between TV and the Internet...something I'm a big fan of if you read my articles.  And with Wiis now having the capability to play back this instant streaming service, Netflix could potentially see a lot more business.  

Here in the US alone, there around 26 million Wiis in people's households.  86 percent of those Wiis are located in the living room.  For Netflix, this is awesome for its business model, as the company can only benefit from users streaming its services as opposed to mail ordering DVD's.  Reports across the Web estimate it costs Netflix about $0.06 to deliver an SD stream and $0.09 to deliever an HD stream.  In contrast Netflix spends about 78 cents out and back for sending a DVD via physical mail.

If you own a Wii and signed up to receive a disc in the mail, don't get your hopes up just yet.  The first roll out of Netflix via Wii will be somewhat a test phase.  Netflix said, "Today, we shipped out instant streaming discs for the Wii to some of our Netflix members. Their feedback will ensure that we deliver a great experience to everyone when we launch."  

Some users commented on the blog saying they received email confirmation a disc was on the way, while others commented they were still waiting.  Netflix did not announce how many lucky users they picked for this testing phase.  

But when it does officially roll out to whoever wants Netflix via Wii, they won't have to pay a penny extra, not even for the disc.  This is all fine and dandy if the Wii is your only option to get streaming video on your television - why?  Nintendo Wii isn't in anyway High Definition.  The console only supports resolutions up to 480p.  Nothing close to the PS3 or XBox 360 which can run 720p and 1080p videos.  Also, most titles available on Netflix' streaming service are bit older - it's actually quite rare to find a brand new release. 

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