Sooner or later, even your loveseat will be capable of streaming movies through Netflix
The DVD-renting giant's latest step in living room domination is a deal with Samsung (OTC BB: SSNLF.PK), allowing its instant streaming service to play on Samsung's BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray disc players. The Netflix service is available at no additional cost to subscribers of the company's unlimited plans.
The Samsung deal isn't perfect. You need to have a wired broadband connection within reach of the player, unlike the stand-alone Roku player, which has more mainstream appeal through Wi-Fi. However, it's just one more home-theater appliance that can get Netflix's nascent PC-streaming service into your living room, where it's far more useful for conventional family viewing.
As a refresher to anyone who's been away over the past few months:
- The ball got rolling in January, when Netflix hooked up with select LG high-def components.
- The Netflix Player by Roku came out in May.
- A deal with Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT)was struck two months later, with Xbox 360 playback gearing up for launch later this year.
Live streaming is a loss leader for Netflix. It doesn't charge its subscribers for the service, yet studios still expect royalties, and there are chunky bandwidth costs to pay. However, it's the right approach at a time when titans like Amazon.com
Giving away the service as a perk to its paying subscribers is good for customer retention, naturally. If this past quarter is any indication, it's also not hurting the bottom line. Margins actually expanded as revealed in Monday's third-quarter report. With subscribers less likely to stray, Netflix can spend less on attracting new members.
This of course leads to just one final question for Netflix: Where exactly do I plug the Ethernet cable into my loveseat?
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix subscriber -- and shareholder -- since 2002. 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.