M+E Daily

Sony To Offer Netflix Streaming To PS3 Users

Netflix is gaining another digital link to living-room TVs, in a deal with Sony to offer the company’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service via Web-connected PlayStation 3 consoles.

Beginning next month, Sony’s PlayStation Network will offer Netflix streaming at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers who also own the console. For Sony, the agreement brings to the PS3 an enhancement that Microsoft has offered on the rival Xbox 360 console since November 2008. Microsoft integrates Netflix access within the paid version of its Xbox Live network.

Initially, at least, there is a catch with the Sony-Netflix service: users must rent a special Blu-ray disc from Netflix, load it into their players, and access the streaming service via the disc’s BD Live features.

Streaming has proven to be popular with Netflix subscribers. About 42% of Netflix’s 11.1 million subscribers streamed at least 15 minutes of a TV show or movie during the company’s third quarter, up from 22% in 2008, CEO Reed Hastings told analysts in a conference call last week.

Unlimited streaming comes as part of Netflix’s $8.99 monthly subscription plan. New-release films and current TV seasons are largely absent from the service. But that could change if current discussions between Netflix and studios lead to a new home entertainment release window scheme.