Netflix (s NFLX) has started to send out a first batch of the disks required to access its Watch Instantly service with Nintendo’s (s NTDOY) Wii gaming console, according to a post published on its corporate blog. There, VP of Marketing Jessie Becker writes that Netflix is shipping an unspecified amount of disks to some subscribers, in order to get feedback on the Wii version of the service before it officially launches.
The DVD rental subscription service first announced its plans to bring Watch Instantly to the Wii in January. Netflix has asked subscribers interested in accessing the service through their Wii to request a free disk online. Users will have to pop in the disk every time they want to access the service, according to a company spokesperson, who didn’t want to reveal how many disks the company will send out as part of this first shipment. Netflix mailed out 100,000 similar disks when it started to support Watch Instantly on Sony’s (s SNE) PS3 in November.
Netflix has been making huge inroads with its Watch Instantly service. The company has said that 48 percent of its customers accessed the streaming service during Q4 of 2009. A recent report form the Diffusion Group revealed that 32 percent of Netflix’s broadband customer base are actually watching Netflix streams on their TV, with eight percent turning exclusively to the big screen for Watch Instantly, and 24 percent relying both on PCs and connected TVs.
The company has recently gotten a little tight-lipped about the number of titles available though Watch Instantly, but it has been able to grow its catalog through concessions about release windows that enable Hollywood to sell DVDs through retail outlets before they pop up on Netflix. It has also been moving towards HD streaming, with a company spokesperson telling us in January that it made about 1000 titles available as 720p streams.
However, don’t hold your breath for watching HD on the Wii. The game console’s hardware doesn’t support HD video and in fact maxes out at a bit rate of about 700kbps.
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