LG Unveils a Blu-ray Player That Will Also Stream Netflix Video

Slipping into other devices is the best hope for Netflix and other Web video services.

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Netflix viewers can start, fast forward and rewind movies with the player's remote.
Netflix viewers can start, fast forward and rewind movies with the player's remote.

LG today offered details of its plans to stream Netflix videos to TVs through a new box—and announced that the box will include a Blu-ray disk player.

That's encouraging for the nascent business of streaming Web video to living rooms, which are already crowded with too many set-top devices. The Web's best shot at couch potatoes will be through devices they've already embraced, such as DVD players. Or ideally, the connection will go directly to the TV itself, such as those that Hewlett-Packard and other manufacturers have developed.

Netflix streams will also appear this fall on Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles. And Netflix has said it is working with other device makers to include its service, which offers more than 12,000 titles.

A stand-alone Netflix player from Roku has been more popular than I would have expected. The small company quickly sold out its initial stock of the $100 devices, though the shortages now appear over.

The Netflix service will get its biggest boost from partnerships with LG, Microsoft, and other big companies that already sell millions of consumer devices.

Now, Blu-ray players aren't cheap. LG is only saying the BD300 will sell for less than $500. So that player alone won't take the Netflix service into the mass market.

But it's a step toward it.