Netflix Launching Streaming Service; No Downloads Or Burns; Complicated Viewing Hours Quota System

Netflix, which has been yo-yoing over its digital movie delivery strategy for a few years now, has finally decided on something: it has tied up with movie studios to offer streamed movies to its DVD service subscribers. The service is called “Watch Now” and it says will take 10-15 second to start watching. The studios are: NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, Lion’s Gate and New Line Cinema.
Under the program, customers will not own the films and will not be able to burn them to a DVD or view them on other devices..only PC. Also, in a rather curious twist, the service won’t cost anything for subscribers, who will be allotted monthly viewing time according to their particular plan. Those subscribing to the $17.99 monthly plan, for instance, will be given 18 hours of viewing time. I am not so sure that’s the best idea, but good to test out the concept since these are early days.
The service will be rolled out in phases over the next six months.
AP: Netflix expects to introduce the instant viewing system to about 250,000 more subscribers each week through June so it can cope with the increased demand. After accepting an applet that takes a minute to install, subscribers will be able to watch anywhere from six hours to 48 hours of material per month.
The company has budgeted about $40 million this year to expand its data centers and cover the licensing fees for the roughly 1,000 movies and TV shows that will be initially available for online delivery.
NYT: The service uses streaming technology that Netflix built on top of Microsoft software, and works only on recent versions of Windows and Internet Explorer.
All in all, pretty complicated…it is the one thing Netflix didn’t learn from Apple iTunes.
Updated: From the company release: Besides the movie studios, content is being provided by A&E, BBC Worldwide, IFC, Starz Digital, among others.
Below see how the move service works, via a screencast from Hackingnetflix.