- 21 May 08, 09:41 GMT
There is no doubt the internet is a marvellous tool providing us with a window on the world that we could never have imagined.
But when it comes to sitting down with a glass of vino and kicking back to watch George Clooney do his thing with those Ocean Eleven boys in a movie, it has its limits. Frankly for my money, the piddly computer screen really can't compete with a lovely 56-inch flat screen HDTV.
Now it doesn't have to thanks to a new web-to-TV set top box.
Netflix clearly sees that it can't carry on forever with its present business model of delivering DVD's to your door packaged in iconic red envelopes. And as broadband connections improve and proliferate, this almost seems like the logical next step.
I am not alone in that thinking because the company's stock rose over 10% on the announcement of the device.
When it comes to streaming video via the internet, Netflix has some serious competition in the form of AppleTV, TiVo, Microsoft, Vudu, and Comcast. But the industry is still young and Forrester Analyst James McQuivey says the launch of the Netflix Player proves that this is part of the "coming war over the territory known as the consumer living room."
Netflix has a few advantages over its competitors. First off, its player is cheaper at just $99 ($50) compared to between $230 (£115) and nearly $300 (£150). Secondly, the company boasts over 8 million subscribers and the DVD rights to 100,000 titles, George Clooney included.
Where it falls down is that it actually only has the digital rights to 10,000 movies and TV episodes. And most of those are movies that are at least five years old along with some TV shows and indie flicks thrown in.
If you are a Netflix subscriber, the service costs zlich.
In comparison Apple has 1,000 movies, but most of those are new releases.
And perhaps the clincher over any other devices out there is the simplicity of the box itself. A high speed internet connection can either be plugged into the box or the device can pick up a wireless signal.
At the moment, it's only available Stateside.
The reviewers have been raving about it and commending its picture quality, download speed and ease of use. Though one did note it's a shame it's just another ugly black box.
There's time enough for this new kid on the block to take a leaf out of Apple's design bible and offer a myriad of colours.
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