New LG HDTVs Bypass Set-Top Boxes to Stream Netflix Movies
LG Electronics this spring will launch a series of broadband-enabled HDTVs that will stream movies, TV shows, and other high-definition content from Netflix, without the need for an external set-top box, the company has announced. LG and Netflix are demonstrating the new products this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The LG plasma and LCD sets will include software that allows users to access the Netflix Web site, where they can stream movies and other shows. After selected by a user, a movie will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds, the companies say. Pricing is fuzzy at this time, but some reports indicate that LG's Internet-ready TVs will likely cost $200 to $300 more than comparable sets without Web features. Subscriber fees for Netflix' DVD rental service currently start at $9 a month.
LG already offers a Blu-ray disc player that streams Netflix movies, but today's announcement is significant because no external device is required to access Web content. Many questions remain, however.
Will the new LG sets will be Wi-Fi-enabled? Wireless connectivity would be big plus for home users with Wi-Fi routers. And given the variation in broadband speeds and services, what will the Netflix streaming movies look like? Subscribers of low-end DSL services will certainly want to know.