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Netflix Coming to the Wii

Netflix pulls the hat trick and brings its streaming movie service to the Nintendo Wii.

 Pretty sure you guys can just sit down and watch the movie.
Xbox 360's got it. PlayStation 3's got it. And, according to today's press release from Nintendo, the Wii will also soon have access to the Netflix streaming movie service. The release is currently set for this spring, and from the sound of it, users can expect an experience similar to what the PlayStation 3 offers, as it will require use of a Netflix boot disc, which will be provided to Netflix subscribers free of charge.

I'm a big fan of the Netflix service, though since I already get what I need out of the service through my 360, this announcement doesn't do much for me personally. Still, while the technical limitations of the system will presumably prevent proper HD streaming, there are a whole lot of Wiis out there, and this can only be a good thing for both Nintendo and Netflix. I will say, though, that it's kind of nuts to consider that you'll be able to stream movies to your Wii via Netflix, though you still can't watch a regular-ass DVD on it.
 
UPDATE: Netflix has launched its Wii disc request page, so if you've got a Wii and a Netflix subscription, head over and call dibs.

You can read the press release in its entirety below.

REDMOND, Wash. & LOS GATOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Nintendo of America Inc. and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq:NFLX] today announced an agreement that will allow Netflix members who are also owners of Nintendo’s Wii™ home console to instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs. Netflix is scheduled to go live on the Wii console this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection.

The partnership between the two companies will extend the reach of content streamed from Netflix farther than ever before, thanks to the mainstream popularity of the Wii console. Wii remains the fastest-selling home console in history, and reaches more consumers than any other device that currently supports streaming movies from Netflix. In December 2009, Nintendo sold well in excess of 3 million Wii consoles in the United States. Wii is the top-selling home video game system of this generation, and as such brings the Netflix experience to a broad and diverse mass market.

“Our research shows that 86 percent of all U.S. Wii consoles are located in the living room,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “The Wii console is the social hub around which friends and family members gather to play games and have fun. Soon both new and longtime Wii owners will enjoy the benefits of Netflix – and a variety of informational and entertainment options – by being Netflix members and connecting their consoles to the Internet.”

“Our goal is to offer Netflix members as many ways as possible to watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix right to their TVs and to give non-members more and compelling reasons to consider the service,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “Joining forces with Nintendo, which has been so immensely popular with consumers since its introduction, is a very meaningful step in that direction.”

With 11.1 million U.S. subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2009, Netflix continues to expand the ways in which its members can watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to TVs via a range of Netflix-ready devices such as the Wii console. Netflix memberships start as low as $8.99 a month, and members also can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. At the same time, consumers continue to demonstrate a preference for Wii consoles, which offer tremendous value, whether measured in fun games, shared experiences or the suggested retail price of just $199.99.

To enable their systems to stream content from Netflix, Wii owners will need a Netflix instant-streaming disc for the Wii console, which will be available at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers. The free disc looks and operates the same as a disc-based Wii game, and the entire user experience will feel natural and intuitive to Wii console owners. Netflix members and Wii console owners can now reserve a free instant-streaming disc by going to www.netflix.com/Wii. Once available in the spring, the discs will be delivered for free by first-class mail.

When the instant-streaming disc is inserted into a member’s Wii system, an array of movie and TV choices will be displayed right on their TV screen. These titles will be conveniently organized into a variety of categories based on members’ personal preferences and will include popular genres, new arrivals and members’ individual instant Queues. Using the Wii Remote™ controller, members will be able to choose a movie or TV episode to watch from their instant Queues or pick one directly from any of the lists. They will also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies, and will have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding their selection.

Netflix adds another dimension to the Wii console’s diverse online features, which range from downloadable new and classic games in the Wii Shop Channel, to online multiplayer gaming with games like Mario Kart™ Wii, to video highlights and information about titles for the Wii and Nintendo DS™ systems via the Nintendo Channel™.

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Posted by MikkaQ

That's neat and all, but I mean for something that's 480p, it's kinda pointless when I can stream from my other two consoles, or the cable box itself... or an apple TV or something in HD. Or just y'know walk to the rental store. Urgh streaming media sucks on my shoddy internets anyway.

Posted by foggel

I take it HD wont be available? 
 
In Europe we have Zune for the xbox 360, and I love the service... only thing is the poor selection of movies. There's only like 50. What's surprising though is that 2010 is one of the movies. Which is a fairly unknown movie in itself, but wait - they don't have 2001. I wonder how they pick them :P

Posted by Kayrack

what really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????!!!!!!!!!

Posted by ZenaxPure

Cool I guess, I will probably give it a try to see how it compares to the 360 for me. Probably can't stream HD but my internet blows hard enough it doesn't matter anyway as I have never been able to stream anything in HD from the 360. Might be more stable though, who knows.

Posted by Special_K

This is a big win for Netflix, there are a ton of Wiis out there.

Posted by scarace360

I wish i had netflix why don't they bring this to Canada. all i want is the streaming i don't want those dvds in the mail.

Posted by harvey_the_pooka

I don´t give a rat´s ass about Netflix I want to White piece of crap to be able to play DVD´s Mine still has still Mario Galaxy in it from the time it came out. 

Posted by SeriouslyNow

I'd hate to be Netflix or Nintendo when the complaints to roll in,  Wireless, streaming video and a slow CPU with little in the way of hardware acceleration for processing said streamed video do a not a good mix make.

Posted by Meowayne
@harvey_the_pooka said:
" I don´t give a rat´s ass about Netflix I want to White piece of crap to be able to play DVD´s Mine still has still Mario Galaxy in it from the time it came out.  "
It takes 20 minutes to teach a Wii to play DVDs.
Posted by harvey_the_pooka

i don´t mean the homebrew crap. I want it out of the box or through a firmware update. I shouldn´t be that hard for them to do...

Posted by ax3m4hn

i wonder if there will only be a family section
Posted by demontium
@ax3m4hn said:
" i wonder if there will only be a family section "
Nice avatar.
Posted by Linkyshinks
Edited by Willy105

It's still like a sixthieth of the entire Wii audience.