LG Electronics announced that it will introduce this week at the CES show in Las Vegas new broadband-enabled HDTVs that have embedded software to support Netflix’s streaming service without requiring an additional set-top box. The new LCD and plasma sets from LG are expected to be one of several new products at CES that make it easier to bring Internet content to the living room TV.
LG and Netflix, which now makes some 12,000 movies and TV shows available online in addition to its traditional DVD rental business, first announced a partnership at last year’s CES show to develop a dedicated set-top box to deliver Netflix streaming movies. Since then, a dedicated Netflix set-top made by another firm, Roku, has hit the market while LG has incorporated Netflix streaming capability into its broadband-enabled Blu-ray high-definition optical disc players.
Just last week, LG announced that those Blu-ray players will also now deliver CinemaNow on-demand movies and YouTube Web videos in addition to the Netflix streaming content.
“Embedding the Netflix streaming software in the television is a natural progression of our partnership with Netflix and our innovative product line,” said LG Electronics USA President Teddy Hwang in a statement. “This is an LG industry-first, which provides another flexible option for consumers seeking to access exciting content directly through their HDTV.”
Instantly streaming content from Netflix to the LG HDTVs will rely on a broadband connection and Queue-based user interface. Netflix members will use the Netflix Web site to add movies and TV episodes to their individual instant Queues. Those choices will automatically be displayed on members’ TVs and available to watch instantly through the HDTV. Once selected, movies will begin playing in as little as 30 seconds. Netflix members will be able to browse and make selections right on the TV screen, read synopses and rate movies and have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding the video stream.
The Netflix-LG partnership is one of several new ways to deliver online movies to TV sets, including Vudu’s set-top box and the online movie store incorporated into Sony’s Playstation game console. (See related: Web Movies Ready for Prime Time)
“LG Electronics was first to embrace Netflix as a streaming partner a year ago, and was first in 2008 to introduce a Blu-ray disc player that streams movies from Netflix,” added Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in a statement. “So it’s fitting that LG is the first to introduce Netflix instant streaming directly to the TV with these next-generation HDTVs.”