Netflix makes it official, launches in U.K. and Ireland

Netflix (s NFLX) pushed the button late Sunday night and officially launched in the U.K. and Ireland. The service is now available to British Internet users for £5.99, and folks in Ireland have to pay €6.99 per month, according to a post on the Netflix blog. Netflix didn’t reveal how big its catalog in both countries is, but a blog post penned by the company’s chief product officer Neil Hunt mentioned shows like Prison Break and Damages as well as films 3:10 to Yuma and The English Patient as examples for content being available through the service.

Just like in the U.S., Netflix will also be available through various mobile and connected devices, including the Wii, (s NTDOY) the PS3, (s SNE) the Xbox, (s MSFT) the Apple (s AAPL) TV and the Roku boxes, as well as iOS devices. One key difference to the U.S. offering will be that users in the two European countries will be able to connect their accounts to Facebook to share their viewing habits and receive recommendations from friends. Netflix hasn’t launched similar functionality in the U.S. yet due to a privacy law that stems from times when renting a movie still meant getting a VHS tape at your local video store.

Netflix isn’t the only one eyeing the U.K. market. Amazon (s AMZN) subsidiary LoveFilm already operates a Netflix-like streaming service in the country, and Skype and KaZaA co-founder Janus Friis plans to launch a Netflix competitor called Vdio early this year in the U.K. as well.