Netflix: Now Streaming to an iPhone Near You

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It's finally here!

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) is living up to its recent promise to offer subscribers access to its digital library through Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone. The new app will also work on Wi-Fi-tethered iPod touch devices.

Yes, everyone knew that this was coming since Netflix introduced streaming on Apple's iPad during its April launch. It was the most popular third-party App Store download at the time. The large iPad screen makes it a natural multimedia device for Netflix's streaming services.

However, while Netflix can reach millions of existing and potential subscribers through the iPad, it now has access to the tens of millions of people in the country with iPhone or iPod touch media players.

I kicked the tires this morning, walking away impressed. The image quality is crisp, and it will even work on 3G if a faster Wi-Fi connection isn't available. AT&T (NYSE: T  ) has resisted at points to have rich media taxing its overburdened cellular network, but it seems to be playing nice here.

The app also lets users resume streaming a flick or television show on different platforms, something that (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) has made popular for Kindle e-books.

Is it a perfect streaming experience? No. The screen is more than a bit small. I decided to see how well it would work on a foreign film, so I fired up Bliss -- and almost had to squint to follow along with the subtitles.

However, I've decided to coin a few expressions.

  • Streamers can't be choosers.
  • You don't look a gift stream in the mouth.
  • Netflix -- ummm -- rocks.

Isn't is just a matter of time before Netflix bumps up its rates? It seems too good to be true. $8.99 a month for unlimited streams and the steady trickle of DVD discs for releases that can't be found on its expanding streaming library? The attractive value proposition has helped Netflix quickly ramp up to 15 million subscribers.

It's quickly catching up to cable leader Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA  ) 23.2 million -- and shrinking -- couch potatoes.

Sure, it may want to wait until it sees what Coinstar's (Nasdaq: CSTR  ) Redbox digital strategy will be later this year before tweaking price points, but the wiggle room appears to be there.

The smaller the screens get in Netflix's world, the bigger the market potential.

Will Netflix ever stop growing? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Apple,, and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix shareholder -- and subscriber -- since 2002. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2010, at 4:51 PM, feldmail wrote:

    Why do you continue to be concerned about Coinstar's Redbox streaming offering? How would this compete? Why should Redbox get more people interested in their digital solution than the digital offering coming from 100 other companies? Redbox is only talking up this point because they know that they aren't relevant otherwise. So they throw out the digital bone and get you, Barrons and everyone else talking about it!

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2010, at 6:07 PM, damastr wrote:

    I beg to differ about "AT&T playing nice". That's most likely because they have now removed the "unlimited" data plans and are quite convinced that most people will either use wi-fi to stream these movies or end up paying AT&T for exceeding their quota. Of course there are legacy customers who continue to have unlimited 3G but they would be a small percentage of overall user base.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2010, at 9:01 PM, rtavis wrote:

    Oh, please.... I actually tried watching a downloaded movie on my iPhone during my last coast-to-coast flight, just to see if this was remotely feasible. Sorry, no. Simply no. I'm not enough of a media addict to watch a movie on an iPhone screen. Love my iPhone, wouldn't part with it... but not for movies.

    Why are media companies like Netflix even bothering with this? News is OK, but not movies!

  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2010, at 11:25 AM, runcody98 wrote:

    Shut Up! Why are you pushing for a higher price? Netflix's competition isn't only iTunes, Redbox, coinstar and the brick n mortar blockbusters. Netflix's competition also includes the price of gas, the cost of food, that new tractor, bookcase, vacation, new car, college education, fee for band camp, shoes and bus fare to work!

    You idiots!

    How about Netflix is providing an entertainment service that is an affordable escape that I will allow in my non-essential goods and services. Hence Netflix makes sales and income growth above the expectations of its stock holders. So the need to raise prices is not necessary! However the need to look for ways to offer better content over as many devices and hedge the growth of customer signups with significant service offerings.

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2010, at 12:00 AM, zholy wrote:

    That’s why I love Netflix. They have the best service and they’re always offering new things to make their service better. I can’t wait to add the app to my iphone. It’ll make traffic jams a lot easier to sit through.

    my blog--best free iPhone 4 apps,lol!

  • Report this Comment On August 30, 2010, at 11:42 PM, AlphaCenturion wrote:

    Not only is watching a movie on your phone extremely awkward and uncomfortable but it will absolutely DESTROY your battery life. Those are only minor issues though, let's bid NFLX up another 20%!

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