Samsung Electronics on Thursday released a software upgrade that makes it possible to play movies from Netflix's on-demand service through two of Samsung's existing Blu-ray disk players.
The upgrade is available as a download that's accessible through the broadband connection on the BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 players. The feature marks the beginning of a partnership in which the two companies will work on integrating Netflix's movie-streaming service to other Samsung home entertainment products.
The Netflix feature is available at no additional charge. The BD-P2500 and BD-P2550, which cost $400 each, will display a queue of Netflix movies that users build online through the movie service's Web site. Movies are selected through the player's remote control, and users have the option of reading synopses and rating movies through their TVs. They also have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding movies.
While the Samsung machines are capable of playing high-definition Blu-ray disks, the Netflix streaming service does not offer high-definition content.
Samsung is not the first consumer electronics vendor to offer Netflix movies through it products. In July, LG Electronics said it would launch this year the LG BD300 player, which could also stream Netflix movies through a broadband connection. Netflix has said that its long-term goal is to integrate its service into products from Sony and Panasonic, as well.
In May, Netflix started challenging Apple for space in people's home entertainment centers with the launch of a player for streaming movies to a TV set. Roku, a company specializing in digital streaming media technology, makes the box, which sells for $100 and is available on the Web. Beyond the cost of the player, Netflix subscribers can stream movies at no additional charge.
Apple last year started selling the Apple TV, which connects via the Internet to the company's iTunes music and video store. Through the device, people can rent movies and TV shows.
While streaming and renting movies over the Web is small in terms of revenue when compared with DVD rentals, analysts believe that consumers eventually will turn to the Web for movies much like they have for music. Online music services have had a major impact on falling CD sales.