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2/2/2009
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Netflix May Be Considering HBO Downloads

In addition to the HBO content, subscribers would still have access to the 12,000 movies and TV episodes Netflix currently offers online at no additional charge.

Netflix has reportedly sent a survey to customers asking if they would be willing to pay an additional $10 a month to watch HBO movies and shows online.

In the survey, posted on the blog Hacking Netflix, the movie rental service asks subscribers if they would be willing to pay to have HBO content streamed to their computers or to an Internet-connected device attached to their digital TVs. Such devices could include the Netflix Player built by Roku, Microsoft's Xbox 360 video-game console, a TiVo digital video recorder, or select Blu-ray disk player from LG Electronics and Samsung.

In addition to the HBO content, subscribers would still have access to the 12,000 movies and TV episodes Netflix currently offers online at no additional charge. HBO shows that could be made available include The Wire, Entourage, and Big Love, and movies such as Jumper, Gladiator, and I Am Legend.

Netflix, along with rival Blockbuster, has been expanding its offerings online and has been signing deals with consumer electronics manufacturers to supporter their services in devices.

Blockbuster last month announced a partnership with Sonic Solutions in which the movie-rental company would use Sonic's content-delivery system to offer movie downloads to Apple Macs and Windows PCs, portable media players, Blu-ray disc players, personal video recorders, set-top boxes, mobile phones, and Web-connected TVs.

Blockbuster plans to market the service online and through its retail stores, where the company also plans to sell some of the supporting devices. Blockbuster has more than 7,500 stores worldwide. Blockbuster and Sonic said they're working with a host of consumer electronics manufacturers, but did not say who they are.

The overall online video market is expected to grow from $1.2 billion this year to $4.5 billion by 2012, according to analyst firm In-Stat. How much of that will be online movie rentals is unclear. The same In-Stat study found that more than half of U.S. consumers still favor purchasing physical disks when they buy movies or TV shows.

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