Closer To A Netflix Set-Top Box?

Dave Zatz —  October 18, 2007

Several months ago Netflix brought on Anthony Wood (founder of ReplayTV) to “deliver movies directly to subscribers’ televisions via the Internetâ€?- substantiating years of set-top box rumors and speculation. It now appears they’re closer to making it a reality given a recent Netflix trademark update filing:

Computer hardware, set top boxes and computer software, namely audio and video receivers and transmitters and computer software programs enabling receipt, download, playing, viewing, and rental of audio and video programming through the use of internet connections to computer hardware and receiver and transmitter apparatuses that connect to a television set or monitor.

If you’re taking requests, Netflix, I’d like to suggest maintaining the current online viewing fee structure (with super-size upsell options) and introducing hardware @ $199 with $50 price reductions every six months to hit the 99 dollar magic number within a year. Can you succeed where others (Akimbo, Moviebeam) have failed?

9 responses to Closer To A Netflix Set-Top Box?

  1. So I was just thinking that it would be crazy to spend even $100 if I was limited in the number of hours I could stream.

    So I just to check the website, and it is now unlimited streaming for the $13.99 plan and up. When did this change? I don’t remember anything about it on the web.

    That said, I’d rather Netflix target other STBs rather then trying to create their own. As you note so many others have failed. Give me a Netflix blade on the Xbox 360. Or a Netflix plug-in for Media Center that would also work on the Xbox 360 and other Extenders. Target existing STBs, don’t create new ones.

  2. Ok, the question HAS to be asked. Why to they think they can make this 1-trick pony box work where even Apple TV can’t?

    Is this a last ditch effort before they A) Buy Tivo B) Partner with Tivo C) Sell to Amazon and still use Tivo

    Either way, the answer is NOT another 1-trick pony box if you have Tivo already in place that can do more than stream movies.

  3. Michael Portuesi October 18, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Agreed. I have a TiVo and a Playstation 3, both of which have the capability to stream movies. I don’t want another one-trick-pony set-top box, which is one reason why AppleTV doesn’t have a place in my home.

  4. I wonder how many millions will eventually be written off for this future failure?

    That may have been the harshest written comment I’ve put together but Netflix building a box is so amazingly illogical. Xbox360, TiVos, STBs, etc… why build a box? Craziness.

  5. The thing Netflix has that some of these others don’t is a large customer base and a working business model. They can afford to experiment and they have a built-in audience of movie fans to advertise to. If they come up with a simple and inexpensive box that just streams video (as the online service does now) they might be able to pull it off. Then again, we all have set-top box fatigue – both in terms of too many cables and more money to invest.

    If the Xbox 360 added more content, enhanced the interface, and informed people of movie rentals OR Amazon added HD to Unbox on TiVo they might be able to end the battle before Netflix joins the fray.

    Though, as my buddy Tim says, it’s a moot point anyway given the scores of cable and satellite boxes with PPV/VOD.

  6. why oh why couldn’t TiVo and Netflix have come together. It would have been a perfect partnership. If netflix kept the same business model of pay X amount per month and receive X amount of movies at a time, this would have been a huge blessing for TiVo I believe. I am still holding my breath that Netflix and TiVo partnetship still happens.

  7. Perhaps Pay for $150 worth of movies “In Advance” & get the box for $9.99 …
    Any more than that & they can keep it.
    There’s too much VOD ect to warrant paying a Hundred or Hundreds of dollars for a box that simply gives you the privledge of buying their rental movies ….

  8. My bet is that they release a couple cheap boxs, like $50-100, have a couple quarters of bump, and just make money on the subs.

    HD in DVD, on-demand streaming for the price of one download on apple. It’s a tremendous value proposition for the consumer, and will be profitable for Netflix.

  9. It seems like other set-top boxes under the same business model haven’t done that well. That being said, Netflix has a large enough user base that maybe they will be able to make it work… Although it needs HD!