17,000 - That's how many movies and television shows PS3 owners, who are also Netflix members, will be able to stream over their system in November. The company will send out a special Blu-Ray disc next month to any account holder who signs up here
, finally allowing Sony to play catch up since this feature has been available on Xbox 360 for almost a year. While the disc-loading process is a little more cumbersome, there are undeniable benefits
to people who already use the PS3 to watch Netflix-mailed Blu-Rays and don't want to pay $50 a year for the required Xbox Live Gold membership if the main benefit for them is to watch high-definition movies.
Steve Swasey, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Netflix, was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the newly announced Sony-Netflix partnership:
The top question from commenters is: Can we expect that, one day, we wont need to swap a game disc for the required Netflix streaming disc?
Late next year we expect to have an embedded solution available for PS3s via a system software update slated for release through the PlayStation Network.
The other burning question comes from gamers outside the United States. Will streaming be available internationally at any point?
Netflix will make its first effort internationally in the second half of next year which would include streaming but not DVDs. We haven't said when or where.
Netflix streaming via PS3 takes advantage of BD-Live technology. But, will we see these Internet-enabled extras right away? Will they be comparable to whats on a Blu-Ray disc.
See the news release, attached.
[Editor's Note: We won't have you re-read the press release. It states that the disc will use "BD-Live technology to access the Internet and activate the Netflix user interface on the PS3 system."
The use of the term BD-Live led everyone to assume that features, such as commentary and behind-the-scenes extras, is what that meant. After all, the main attraction of BD-Live is being able to use the Internet to enhance typical DVD extras. Sadly, as a Joystiq interview on the same subject points out, PS3 won't receive any extra feature enhancements.
In the end, BD-Live is mentioned solely because the disc-loading process connects to the Internet to stream movies. Thankfully, however, movies streamed to the PS3 through BD-Live on Netflix will be available in HD.]
Will PS3 see any other advantages?
Choosing movies right on the screen in addition to the Instant Queue.
The Xbox 360 and TiVo interfaces are different. Will the menus on PS3 be unique, too? Make use of the XMB theme?
Unique but very similar.
Instant Queue came to Xbox 360 on November 19, 2008, almost one year ago. Why is Netflix streaming coming to PS3 now?
It's a terrific time to enable PS3 users to watch instantly from Netflix.
The Instant Queue grew from 12,000 movies and TV episodes available a year ago to more than 17,000 today. What exciting additions can we expect to see over the next 12 months?
More great movies and TV episodes to watch instantly.
Our thanks to Mr. Swasey for taking time to explain more about how we'll soon have another way to stream our Netflix movies to our HDTVs.