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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tivo set to Strem NetFlix movies by Year's End

Netflix_tivo_pr_shot Four years in the making, the Tivo/Netflix streaming partnership is finally ready for prime time. Tivo begins software tests Thursday and expects to have the entire Netflix streaming collection available to subscribers of both services by early December.

The companies originally announced plans to serve Netflix movies-on-demand to Tivo boxes in 2004 but shelved plans due to a lack of available content.

The new partnership will allow Tivo subscibers to access the 12,000 streamable films and TV shows previously available to only those Netflix members with PCs (Netflix announced just days ago that Mac users will also soon be able to stream their queue).

While 12,000 is still a small fraction of Netflix's direct-to-your-mailbox DVD library of 100,000, it is definitely a start, and puts it in the game against such competitors as Apple TV

"Tivo is leading the charge in bringing content that’s not normally available on television to consumers," says Tara Maitra, Vice President of Content Services at Tivo, "making content available in a way that’s really easy to use."

This partnership is in line with Tivo's attempts to establish its status as a "one-box solution for aggregating, searching, and delivering the best content available anywhere right to the TV." To that end, Tivo has recently announced content partnerships with YouTube, Amazon's Unbox, Rhapsody and Jaman.

Netflix is similarly working to make its content available in as many places as possible. This year the company has streamed content into set-top boxes manufactured by LG, Samsung and Roku. This week Netflix announced a partnership with Microsoft to stream its film content online to Mac users using the Silverlight player. In a few weeks Netflix content will be available on XBOX 360.

"It has always been our goal to get in any device that gets to the TV, including the TV itself,” says Steve Swasey, Netflix' VP of Corporate Communications. The company hopes to stream its content directly to television sets by the end of 2009. "Netflix has wanted to be providing content directly to the TV since the inception of the company," says Swasey. "But some things take time."

By Meghan Keane