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Apple and Netflix Get Even Cozier

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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.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Apple and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves his iPad. He does own shares in Netflix. He 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 (2) | Recommend This Article (15)

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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 May 21, 2010, at 9:00 AM, BioBat wrote:

    I have to admit that I've been surprised by the success of the iPad. I honestly thought the price point was going to be a barrier to wide acceptance but it turns out I was wrong.

    I think it's another sign (along with increasing car purchases, computer purchases) that the economy or at least people's view on the economy has turned around - people don't go spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars - when jobs are in question.

    With the inclusion of Netflix streaming, I think you're going to see a more rapid expansion of its use and a greater and greater adoption of online titles (which has already gotten significantly better in the past 2-3 months).

    Good times for both companies and with the current market correction - a good time to buy into both.

  • Report this Comment On May 21, 2010, at 11:16 AM, TMFBent wrote:

    Better find a way to plug an ethernet cable into your iPad, because HD streaming on netflix isn't exactly awesome over wireless networks. It's rarely even HD when you're running a fully hardwired system -- but that's netflix's bad, not the network's.

    Bandwidth at my house is better than FIOS for downloads, but streaming netflix is still iffy a lot of the time, and it was a lot worse before I poked a hole in the ceiling and ran a cable to the teli.

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