It was almost a year ago when it was announced that the PlayStation 3 owners would be receiving the ability to stream Netflix movies and TV shows to their systems. As a feature that Xbox 360 owners had been enjoying for sometime at that point, the announcement was welcomed by PS3 owners. Unfortunately, due to an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft, PS3 owners were stuck with launching the application from a Blu-Ray disc supplied by Netflix. It was speculated that Microsoft's exclusivity deal on software integration into the system was set to end in late 2010. That rumor appears to true as earlier today it was announced that starting Monday October 18, 2010, PS3 owners will no longer need to use the disc for streaming.
Along with the disc-free streaming announcement, Greg Peters, VP of Product Development at Netflix, announced on the US PlayStation Blog some other changes that will be rolling out on the 18th as well:
"There is even more good news for PS3 owners: starting on Monday you’ll be able to instantly watch some movies and TV shows in 1080p high definition, listen to Dolby 5.1 channel surround sound, and view an increasing portion of our content library with subtitles. This will bring the home theater experience right to your living room and make instantly watching movies even more enjoyable."
Sony's VP of Network Operations, Eric Lempel, also demonstrated some new changes in a video preview of the application. In the video he showed that the app will need to be installed, and will then reside in the video column of the XMB. The in-app interface has been redesigned to take advantage of the Dual-Shock 3 and will offer search and recommendation options.
You can view the demonstration video below:
As someone who frequently uses my PS3 as a media server due to it being not as loud as my 360, this seems like a welcome fix. One aspect that is not discussed in this announcement that concerns me is whether or not PS3 owners will appear online while using the app. Currently, when watching a Blu-Ray or using Netflix, they appear as "offline," which can be disappointing if friends hop on Modern Warfare 2 and players remain unaware until they exit the app. Hopefully, this revised Netflix app will fix that issue and will list players' status as "online" so that they might see friend updates and messages. With the app coming Monday, we will not have to wait much longer to try it out.
Anyone else excited for this? How many of you actually use Netflix streaming on your Xbox 360 or PS3?
The new PlayStation 3 Netflix application will be available on October 18, 2010.
Sources: PlayStation Blog