Sony Adds Netflix Streaming Video
Sony Electronics was early to offer HDTVs capable of connecting to the Internet, but the company has been missing one very obvious streaming video provider-until now. Today Sony unveiled its latest content partners, the most noteworthy of which is Netflix.
Netflix's Instant Queue video-on-demand is already available on devices from Microsoft (Xbox360 game console), LG Electronics (Blu-ray players and HDTVs), Roku (Digital Video Player) , Samsung (Blu-ray players), TiVo and Vizio.
In each of those instances but the Xbox 360, Netflix was a notable feature of a new device a consumer would have to purchase. Sony's partnership with Netflix is significant because it means that most Sony televisions from the past two years will be compatible with the service.
Sony says any Bravia Internet Video-capable HDTV will be able to handle the Netflix service when it comes online this fall. That includes the currently shipping W5100, Z5100, and XBR9 series (available in 40-, 46-, and 52-inch screen sizes), and any HDTVs compatible with Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link, a $199 add-on module available for most of Sony's television released in the past two years. The Internet Video Link provides access to content from over 25 providers, including content from over 25 providers including Amazon Video On Demand, YouTube, Sports Illustrated, Sony Pictures, Crackle, Slacker, Epicurious.com, Concierge.com, Style.com, and Dailymotion
The Netflix Instant Queue will work similarly, but not identically, to other implementations we've seen. Sony says you'll need to first go online to Netflix and load up your Instant Queue with available movies and video; then you can select Netflix from the TV's crossmedia bar, and you'll have access to the queue. However, Sony says its presentation and interface for accessing the Instant Queue is its own design. "We think it's a little more elegant," noted a Sony spokesman.
Potentially, this could open up Netflix to a large chunk of HDTVs already in the market: According to NPD Group's data, Sony's TVs have ranked second in unit volume share for the past two years. Even though the Bravia Internet Link costs $199 (about $100 more than the Roku Digital Video Player), Internet Link offers a ton of extra functionality beyond just adding Netflix Instant Queue playback.
In addition to the Netflix partnership, Sony announced it was adding content from Demand Media (which includes Golflink.com, Livestrong.com, and eHow.com) and from ON Networks(Golf Tips, Play Value, and Beautiful Places).