Netflix will take its entertainment brand to gamers through an exclusive deal with Microsoft, which will offer Xbox 360 customers access to some 10,000 movies and TV shows downloaded from Netflix over the Internet.
The deal is part of Netflix’s strategy to expand beyond its DVD-by-mail rental business to deliver video to Internet-based devices. The first such device is from Roku, which sells a $99 set-top box that can play certain Netflix titles on TVs.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will be the only game system that lets users instantly watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix.
The companies said Xbox Live with Netflix will be available in late fall, starting with 10,000 titles. Customers must subscribe to both the Xbox Live Gold Internet gaming service as well as Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service.
“Netflix and Xbox 360 are a perfect combination, the leading online movie rental service and the leading games and entertainment system joining forces to create an all-in-one entertainment experience with content for everyone,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, in a statement.
From the Netflix Web site, members simply add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant queues. Those choices will be automatically displayed on the TV screen via Xbox 360 and available to watch in as little as 30 seconds.
Microsoft has separately tried to build Xbox into a platform for video entertainment. The software giant’s Xbox Live Marketplace Video Store currently has content from more than 45 networks and studios with “more than twice the high-definition content than the nearest cable provider” and more than 6,000 hours of TV shows and movies.