Maybe the iPad is the new Apple TV.
Following yesterday's software update, Netflix's (Nasdaq: NFLX ) digital streaming app for Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPads now allows users to pipe their movies to high-def televisions. Sure, you'll need a $29-$49 cable to make it happen, but Macworld's nonetheless unearthed a pretty cool upgrade here.
Netflix streams into your television through a wide series of appliances. Netflix-ready hardware, which originally consisted of a Roku box, Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox, TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO ) DVRs, and select Blu-ray players seems to expand with every passing month.
Why should anyone care about a cabled iPad joining the crowded playing field? Well, it's all about iPad's growing popularity and its portability.
Apple has already sold more than a million of the devices, and they can be lugged around just about anywhere.
Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI ) has to hate this. Movie night at a non-Netflix -- but Wi-Fi friendly -- home no longer means heading out to the video store for a DVD rental. An iPad-carrying subscriber can just take the show on the road. Thousands of streaming titles are suddenly available, without having to lug around a video console or any other wired home theater appliance.
LodgeNet (Nasdaq: LNET ) and hotel operators must loathe this, too. LodgeNet's pay-per-view interactive boxes are available in 1.9 million hotel rooms. A tourist with an iPad now has more entertainment options.
Maybe the impact of this move won't hit home until Netflix rolls out its streaming app to the more ubiquitous iPhone and iPod touch. Still, I suspect Apple's about to sell a ton of accessory cables.
Will the iPad change the way we're entertained? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.