I’ll reserve judgment until I actually experience it, but this announcement by Netflix has me pretty excited. It basically allows you to
download stream a movie “instantly” from the Netflix website, and watch it on your computer. In my case it can be my Media Center computer. It looks like it’s Internet Explorer only, which I guess means “sorry Macintosh people”. According to the press release you’ll need to download a small browser applet and the video will appear very quickly. Quality will depend on your Internet connection speed, so this is variable bit rate and hence not a download-able file.
You will get a certain number of hours per month based on your subscription rate. For example, if you rent at the $17.99 level, you will get 18 hours of movie watching time. If you pay at the $5.99 level you’ll get 6 hours of viewing time. That time is a free add-on. You pay nothing extra for the ability to watch movies this way. Netflix will be rolling this out over the next few months, and everyone will have the service by June. I watch videos and TV shows in iTunes this way, so I am excited to see what the experience will be with this new service from Netflix.
UPDATE: Hacking Netflix has the screencast.