Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) subscribers streaming flicks and television shows on their Wii or PS3 consoles are in for a treat this week. The cumbersome process of loading a disc into their systems to kick off the viewing process is history.

The latest PS3 operating system update -- or a free download from Wii's virtual store -- lets gamers tap into their online queues directly from their console menus. This is the way that Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360 owners have been doing it for two years. It's about time that Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Nintendo (OTC BB: NTDOY.PK) caught up.

Conspiracy theories abound, though it's more than likely that Netflix and Microsoft had an exclusivity deal in place for disc-less streaming. The playing field has finally been leveled.

What's the big deal? It's only a disc? Netflix subscribers have been ejecting discs over the past decade without complaining. However, it's inconvenient for a gamer to have to swap out discs to catch a streaming movie when they know that it hasn't been necessary on the Xbox since that service launched late in 2008.

It's not a major deterrent, of course. Nintendo's press release this morning indicates that 3 million of its Wii owners have already connected their consoles to Netflix. The rub is that seamless streaming is becoming ubiquitous. Whether someone fires up a TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) or buys any of new gadgets powered by Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) new Google TV line, Netflix connectivity is a non-negotiable feature.

Simplicity's timing is perfect. It launched a streaming service in Canada last month -- the first of likely many overseas markets where Netflix goes in without the need to open regional distribution centers or deal with physical inventory.

Streaming has been a big winner for Netflix, helping subscriber retention by giving members better value for their unlimited plans. It also helps differentiate Netflix from the growing kiosk fleet of Coinstar's (Nasdaq: CSTR) Redbox.

Less mail, more moving pictures.

Rock on, Netflix.

What do you think of Netflix's streaming service? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Netflix and Nintendo Co. Limited are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix shareholder -- and subscriber -- since 2002. Rick 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.