Netflix streaming coming to iPhone and iPad tablet? Buzz this

Posted by Prasada Martala Mar 2, 2010

If the recent survey is any indication, Netflix soon may be able to claim a true anywhere-anytime online streaming service through its Watch Instantly program.The DVD rental company sent out a survey asking its customers if they would be interested in an iPhone online streaming application that lets users watch movies and TV shows over Wi-Fi network. Netflix streaming application, which is embedded in numerous internet connected gaming consoles, high definition TV sets, DVD players and Blu-ray disc players, already lets its subscribers watch movies and TV shows online without waiting for a physical DVD in mail.

With the advent of services like EPIX and HBO Go, Netflix is feeling the need to go mobile to maintain its competitive advantage. Even though there are number of iPhone applications for Netflix queue management, like iPhlix and PhoneFlicks none of them facilitate online streaming. On Feb 17, Sony announced that Netflix streaming will be available on its Wi-Fi enabled personal internet viewer - Dash. Recent survey explores the possibility of similar streaming application for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad tablet devices.

Challenges: Netflix's first challenge would be to convince Apple to allow its streaming application on iPhone and other mobile internet devices, as it directly competes with Apple's iTunes service. Once the application is available on iPhones connected through Wi-Fi, Netflix has a bigger challenge of getting cellular mobile operators agree to allow the service on their 3G networks. Carriers have every reason to not to allow any online media streaming service through 3G as it clogs their network (as seen in AT&T network for iPhone usage). Mobile carriers may agree to allow the service over 3G for a fee - either flat rate or per GB data transfer, which brings a final challenge for Netflix: Can Netflix provide free online streaming for its subscribers forever? Netflix already pays Content Delivery Networks (CDN) like Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 to stream its media content to TVs, gaming consoles and computers. Having to pay iPhone carriers for 3G use of streaming service means more overhead costs for Netflix.

Availability of Netflix streaming on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad tablet would definitely help the DVD rental company get more subscribers in long term.

Netflix survey text below:

Imagine that Netflix offers its subscribers the ability to instantly watch movies & TV episodes on their iPhone. The selection availability to instantly watch includes some new releases, lots of classics and TV episodes. There are no advertisements or trailers, and movies start in as little as 30 seconds. You can fast-forward, rewind, and pause or watch again. The movies & TV episodes you instantly watch are included in your Netflix membership for no additional fee.

Whenever you want to instantly watch content on your iPhone, your iPhone must be connected to a Wi-Fi network (such as one you might have at home or at work, or in public places like coffee shops, book stores, hotels, airports, etc.)

If this functionality were available, how likely would you or someone in your household be to instantly watch movies & TV episodes on your iPhone via a Wi-Fi network?

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