Netflix revealed their television set-top box ambitions yesterday. Hacking Netflix spoke directly with CEO Reed Hastings:
Our model is that we don’t want one Netflix-branded box, we want to see 100 Netflix-capable boxes. We want to be embedded in high-def DVD players, Internet games, dedicated set-top boxes, a wide range of options
Given much of the speculation leading up to this point, I’m somewhat surprised they’ve decided to create a Netflix service rather than their box. However, the strategy makes a lot of sense in limiting risk and maximizing exposure. After all, which companies (other than Apple) wouldn’t want Netflix on their Internet-connected television devices?
LG is up first, and has targeted Q2 2008 for delivery of a Netflix-enabled STB. No other details regarding functionality or pricing were made available at this time. No specific details on video streaming pricing were announced either, though the assumptions (Reuters, AP, NY Times) seem to be that the Netflix streaming service would inherit the current web-based model – either a specific number of viewing hours based on dollars spent monthly, or unlimited content.
As I said recently, given content licensing fees and Netflix’s low-cost subscriptions, I don’t see how unlimited streaming could be an economically viable business plan… Time will tell if they stick with it. And if they do, I’d expect some pre-roll advertising with movie content and commercials (à la Hulu) embedded within television shows.