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Nintendo Wii To Get Netflix Streaming 213

motang writes "Netflix and Nintendo is set to announce Netflix streaming service for the Wii soon. Subscribers who have the unlimited streaming service can watch non-HD version of the movies on their Wii with a special Netflix disc inserted." The thing I can't understand is why the PS3 and Wii have to require a disc. Both are capable of downloading applications and executing them. Why should I be required to dedicate my disc slot to stream a movie? Of course, my netflix queue is half-filled with Ken Burns documentaries, so if I lost the disc, I think that would just make the wife happier.
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Nintendo Wii To Get Netflix Streaming

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  • wife.

  • Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by absurdhero ( 614828 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @11:59AM (#30751468) Homepage

    Microsoft may have an exclusive deal with Netflix to have built-in Netflix support. Simply giving DVDs out with software for the other platforms *without* the possibility to install it may get around this agreement.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From what I understand the netflix streaming API is silverlight. So Microsoft easily implemented this on X-Box. However, ps3 is using the blu-ray live feature to access Netflix and I have no idea what nintendo will use.

      I'm assuming Netflix is in the process of overhauling it's streaming system to cooperate with ps3 and wii. Since ps3 is slated as having a software version in the near to distant future (possibly with the implementation of a paid for premium version of the Playstation Network).

      However, beside

    • That doesn't account for Tivo, Boxee or Roku, which can stream it out of the box.

    • Re:Microsoft (Score:4, Informative)

      by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:22PM (#30751812)

      I don't know about the PS3, but I know technical limitations for memory on the Wii pretty much make this crap anyways.

      The Wii can "download" apps, but its internal (flash) memory is incredibly small. Their "run from the SD slot" is a kludge that doesn't actually run the app from the SD slot, it copies it into part of the internal (flash) memory first.

      I'm willing to bet the Netflix app is simply too big to fit inside the flash reliably.

      • Re:Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @02:15PM (#30753572)
        I'm willing to bet the Netflix app is simply too big to fit inside the flash reliably.

        Nah, I doubt that's a problem. The Opera web browser fits comfortably inside flash memory, and that includes flash; unless they're incompetent, a dedicated media player should be much smaller.

        The problem with the Wii is probably just the limited ram to buffer the streaming video itself; it might be more dependent on a smooth and fast connection than the other two console. On the other hand, it's not streaming HD video, so that might not be as much of a problem. Either way, it's better to have the option than not have it.
    • Spot-on. I don't have the link ready, but Microsoft had an exclusive deal with Netflix for an embedded player. Something like one year or so. Of course, a disk isn't embedded, and therefore, not subject to exclusivity agreement.

      What I'm wondering is the take-up and pay-out numbers. Is it really that much of a pain in the ass - and therefore take-up hurdle - that it significantly impacts utilization? Or did Microsoft just completely overpay for a very limited exclusivity, that really isn't?

  • by BBF_BBF ( 812493 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:05PM (#30751558)
    Rumor has it that Microsoft has an exclusivity contract with netflix for streaming built into gaming consoles which expires sometime near the end of year.

    The PS3 will go disc free later this year, but didn't supply details as to why. However, since the Wii has far less storage, this may or may not be possible on the Wii... []
    • by alen ( 225700 )

      even if there was no exclusive MS deal than it would take some months to code the functionality into the existing firmware, test it, etc. there is also a storage limitation for the firmware and PS3 along with the Wii keep adding new features, channels, etc. Could it be that the Netflix software needs more space than what is currently available so that a disc is the only practical solution?

      when the consoles were released there was some forward thinking to add features, but it seems feature creep is outpacing

    • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <(hector) (at) (> on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:21PM (#30751802) Homepage

      A player does not take much space, and discs can't add storage to a Wii anyway (for caching or what have you). The Wii's ridiculously small storage and lack of expandability does not affect this particular application.

    • by markus o'farkus ( 98120 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:31PM (#30751910)

      Yup. NetFlix dances around the issue (see: ). But it's pretty obvious this is the reason why.

      I don't think firmware QA is the primary reason here. It's an app. There's not much difference between QAing an app loading from local storage vs. an app loading from disc.

      Actually at this point, PS3 Netflix streaming is superior to the Xbox solution... you might need to put a disc in, but you don't need to fork over $50/year for an Xbox Live Gold membership.

      Seems like a decent tradeoff.

    • I think it's surprising that someone into consoles & interested in Netflix playback would still be ignorant of the likely reason why it requires a disc.

      I think that a Netflix app is probably on the order of standard game you'd download on the Wii. Video files aren't saved locally, it's all just streaming.

  • It took 3 years for the Wii to get an easy way to watch movies.
    • by bipbop ( 1144919 )
      Gosh, it's been twenty years and my Super Nintendo still won't play movies! Now, do I upgrade to a Sony Nintendo or a Microsoft Nintendo, or do I go out and buy a Betamax deck?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:18PM (#30751752)

    Go go to reserve a disc.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 )

      I presume that worked for you, but for me it re-routed to /MemberHome. If I go to just [] (without the Wii specifier) I get a page to request a PS3 disc.

      I have a Wii, but not a PS3, so I'll continue to wait patiently. Thanks for the tip anyway; I hope to use it soon.

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @12:18PM (#30751756) Homepage

    ...Microsoft has an exclusivity deal with Netflix for the time being []. Either due to technical or legal reasons, requiring the disc is a way to get around this. Considering Sony has already said the required disc is temporary [], this implies the exclusivity deal is nearing its end. This also implies any disc required for the Wii would be temporary as well.

    Calm down people. Jeebus.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 )

      To be clear, I'm not miffed that I have to use a disc to watch Netflix on my Wii; I'm miffed that exclusive contracts are legal, and that Netflix signed one with Microsoft.

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        The vast majority of the time, I would agree with you...but in this instance, considering the majority of Netflix's streaming services used Silverlight when Netflix Streaming arrived on the 360, this didn't suprise me at all.

        Not saying it's right, just saying I understand why it happend in this case.

  • ... my Wii does not output in 1080p, will movies streamed by Netflix display in HD? If not, why bother?
    • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

      I would say because the bulk of what Netflix currently streams is only available in standard-def anyways...the amount of HD content they stream grows on a regular basis, but it is still a small percentage of their overall offerings.

    • ... my Wii does not output in 1080p, will movies streamed by Netflix display in HD? If not, why bother?

      The majority of the Netflix streams are 480 (DVD). The best ones top out at 720, and even those require permission from the studio to use.

    • I'm willing to bet that a significant number of Wiis are not connected to televisions capable of 1080p.

      • I'm willing to bet the 10Mb/s or so would also be an issue.
    • ... my Wii does not output in 1080p, will movies streamed by Netflix display in HD? If not, why bother?

      Because, believe it or not, most Wii end users would rather have Netflix streaming in 480p than nothing at all. The vast majority of end users still do most of their at-home movie-watching in 1080p and are ok with that.

      • The vast majority of end users still do most of their at-home movie-watching in 1080p and are ok with that.

        Did you brainfart there, and mean "480p and are ok with that" or did I miss something in my pre-coffee haze?

    • will movies streamed by Netflix display in HD?

      No. From the summary:

      motang writes "Netflix and Nintendo is set to announce Netflix streaming service for the Wii soon. Subscribers ... can watch non-HD version of the movies on their Wii ..."

    • by Myopic ( 18616 )

      My guess is that it's because 1080p is not the exclusive way to enjoy movies.

      I'm actually a little surprised the question got out of your mind and through your fingers before you realized that obvious conclusion.

  • Still waiting for this in Canada and other parts of the world. I think the main problem is the CRTC wanting to control how all content is distributed in Canada.
    Netflix: Does not work
    Hulu: Does not work
    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

      I think the problem with Hulu is about licensing.

    • The fact that iTunes allows you to rent and buy digital movies makes me think that it's more to do with licensing and companies not wanting to deal with the Canadian market, moreso than anything to do with the CRTC. Do you have any information to back up that the CRTC is causing problems?
  • Back in August when this was news: []

    The exclusivity was tied to an online delivery service integrated into the console. Netflix gets around this with Wii and PS3 by essentially selling a "Netflix Game" that streams the video from the service.

  • I don't know whether I've just got one from a bad batch, but my Wii is terrible at streaming Flash video in its browser. Both BBC iPlayer and YouTube stop frequently to buffer.

    I guess it could be lack of memory to buffer in. Or it could be a bad WiFi connection -- it's close to the AP and other nearby devices do fine.

    I'd be mightily upset if I got this sort of performance on video that I'd paid for.

  • BDJ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FatherOfONe ( 515801 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2010 @01:38PM (#30753074)

    The reason the PS3 currently uses a disc is that the entire netflix program is written in Java. Specifically a BDJ. So the PS3 treats this disc as a Blue-Ray movie and runs their Java program as any Blue-Ray player is required to do. It really doesn't use any specific PS3 only code. They are working on a version that won't require the disc and will hopefully have it out soon (this year). I would "guess" it might be possible to take the PS3 disc and put it in to some modern BlueRay player and get it to work.

    In my opinion this is pretty impressive what they have done with BDJ, and it shows what it is capable of. It also shows exactly why Microsoft didn't want this as a standard.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      If this were true, then it would work in ANY Blu-Ray player hooked up to a network cable. Can anyone confirm this?
  • I mean for the PS3, Xbox360 and Wii. I tried watching Hulu on my PS3 and it wouldn't play. (And I'd rather watch TV on my TV than my computer. Oh, and I have a remote for the PS3 which further makes me want to watch hulu on my PS3.)

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham