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Netflix Streams Disney, CBS TV Content

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The biggest drawback to the Netflix streaming service was its lack of quality content (unless you consider Improve Your Sailing Skills quality). But Netflix took a small step towards fixing that problem today by adding TV content from CBS and the Disney Channel.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix subscribers will be able to watch shows like CSI and Hannah Montana through the streaming service a day after they air on TV (just in time for the fall season!). Netflix has a similar arrangement with NBC for shows like Heroes.

Under the deal, Netflix will eventually add roughly 500 older TV episodes from Disney and 350 episodes from CBS, bolstering its current streaming library of roughly 12,000 titles. Netflix’s chief content officer told the Journal that the company expects to have dozens of new television shows for the service from new and existing partners over the coming months.

The CBS and Disney deals are a step in the right direction. As the company ramps up the availability of its streaming service beyond the Roku to more devices like the Xbox and LG Blu-Ray player, the company must have decent content in place or it will lose the audiences from these new outlets. Getting that content will be tough, given the thicket of licensing restrictions and the desire to keep DVD sales from declining.

But of all the major online content services, Netflix offers the most economical, an all-you-can-watch smorgasbord of content for as little as $8.99 a month, compared with Apple and Amazon, which require paying for every TV show or season that you want to watch. There are still video picture quality issues, like no HD, but companies like Roku say that the visual quality is improving, even as bit rates drop.