Netflix’s movie and TV streaming service will become available for Sony’s PS3 video game console, the companies announced. The PS3 is now the only video game console that plays Blu-ray discs and Netflix streams.
But there’s a twist: PS3 users will initially need to run a (free) Blu-ray disc to play online movies. From Netflix:
Initially, watching movies instantly streamed from Netflix via the PS3 system will be enabled by a free, instant streaming Blu-ray disc that is being made available to all Netflix members. The free instant streaming disc leverages Blu-ray’s BD-Live™ technology to access the Internet and activate the Netflix user interface on the PS3 system, which must be online via Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Netflix members simply slide the disc into their PS3 systems to reveal movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly. … Netflix members and PS3 system owners can now reserve a free instant streaming disc for PS3 systems by going to www.netflix.com/ps3. Upon availability, the instant streaming disc will be delivered for free by first-class mail, generally one business day after members request it.
Great news for both companies: The PS3 is finally selling, and could provide new subscribers (and lower churn) for Netflix. (Sony has sold about 9 million PS3s; Netflix has about 11 million subs.) In September, the PS3 outsold the Xbox and Wii in the U.S., according to NPD Group. And now it gets another great feature.
This ends Microsoft’s exclusive with Netflix: While Netflix’s streaming service is now available for a handful of devices, the Xbox 360 had previously been the exclusive video game gadget.
And unlike the Xbox-Netflix tie-up, which requires an Xbox Live subscription, the Netflix add-on will be free for PS3 owners.