Is there any Web-tethered device that won't provide Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) subscribers access to their streaming celluloid in a few years?

Netflix announced Thursday morning that it will team up with Sony (NYSE:SNE) to offer owners of Sony BRAVIA HDTVs with Internet video the ability to watch any movies in the Netflix catalog that are accessible digitally. The service is available at no additional cost to subscribers of any of Netflix's unlimited rental plans.

Sony is the latest consumer electronics giant to shake hands with the fast-growing DVD rental specialist. LG, Samsung, TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO), and VIZIO have all signed deals to make Netflix streams available seamlessly through their home theater contraptions.

The Sony deal is a bit of a breakthrough, though. Sony and Netflix haven't been the best of friends lately. Blame the falling-out on Netflix's cozy relationship with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT):

  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sits on Microsoft's board of directors.
  • The company's streams rely on Microsoft's Silverlight technology, instead of Adobe's (NASDAQ:ADBE) more popular Flash platform.
  • Gold subscribers of Xbox 360 Live have had access to Netflix streams for nearly a year, and there appears to be no rush to rival video game consoles.

That last point is huge. Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 are prime candidates for Netflix streaming. Young gamers love watching movies. More than a million Xbox owners activated the Netflix services -- streaming a whopping 1.5 billion minutes of video -- in the first three months they were available. Surely, Sony's PS3 die-hard users would love a crack at that. It's the only console that plays back Blu-ray discs, so you know that most of them like kicking back and watching a movie or two to rest their controller-happy hands.

If you don't think this irks Sony, ask yourself why the Japanese conglomerate pulled several of its streaming movie titles for Xbox users -- and not any other Netflix streaming enabler -- in November. 

The deal using BRAVIA may be the first step in ultimately giving PS3 owners access to the more than 12,000 titles that Netflix makes available digitally. Given Netflix's 10.3 million subscribers and Sony's struggles to make its PS3 as dominant as earlier PlayStation incarnations, this is a bigger breakthrough than even Sony may care to admit.

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Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Netflix and Nintendo are Stock Advisor recommendations. Nintendo is a Global Gains selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

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