If you build it, they will come. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) just built out its network of movie-streaming partners in order to keep subscribers coming.
Netflix subscribers can already stream a few thousand titles to their living room through hardware like Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox 360, Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 3, and TiVo's (Nasdaq: TIVO ) System 3 systems. But more means merrier, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made it very clear he wants to be part of every Internet-ready device that might be connected to your TV.
Today, you can add consumer electronics heavyweights Toshiba, Panasonic (NYSE: PC ) , Sharp, and Sanyo to that list of Netflix partners, as well as Funai, which distributes products from other giants like Philips (NYSE: PHG ) and Sylvania. Blu-ray players and network-connected television sets from all of these brands will soon be able to plug into Netflix servers and start streaming movies directly to you.
I don't think it's an accident that this expansion of streaming technologies comes the same week as a seemingly consumer-antagonistic partnership with Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) that will lead to fewer DVD rentals and more streaming licenses in the long run. Netflix is simply playing to its strengths and laying the groundwork for dominance in the coming all-digital era.
Hastings will not rest until every modern TV set, every media-playing set-top box, and maybe even the cable box itself can connect to his services. This has been his vision from the very beginning, or we'd be talking about Mailflix today rather than Netflix.
I'm not the only one who thinks that Mr. Hastings is running on a winning track. Of the more than 7,100 Motley Fool CAPS ratings on this stock, 83% have upturned thumbs. I still think Netflix deserves even better, so why don't you grab a 100% free CAPS account and cast your own vote today?