Netflix streaming will get cheaper, and I hope even easier, for those of us who own a TiVo. Netflix has agreed to send its free streaming service to TVs through the TiVo box.
That adds more than 12,000 Netflix titles—including first-run movies from Starz—that can be watched on-demand through TiVo. Besides shows recorded from broadcast or cable, the box already can tap movies from Amazon Video on Demand. But those movies cost money. The Netflix movies stream for free, at least for Netflix subscribers.
The viewing charge has discouraged me from using the Amazon service. Generally, pay-per-view TV hasn't lived up to expectations, either across the Internet or even on cable systems. We just aren't willing to pay to stream a movie or TV show.
But the Amazon flicks on TiVo also have been too awkward to use. When I've tried it, it's difficult to find a movie using just the TiVo remote, and the menus were s-l-o-w. I had to burrow through several to even get to the service.
Netflix, with partners like Roku, which makes a box to bring the service to TVs, has done a great job of simplifying the streaming process. Netflix keeps it simple by offloading much of the work to its website. It's there that users search for movies and set up their "instant-watching" queue.
I expect the Netflix service will prove popular once it gets integrated into TVs themselves, or other boxes such as DVD players and DVRs like TiVo. I just hope TiVo doesn't slow the "instant viewing" process. Put Netflix high on its menus and make it easy to reach.
Most of us won't know until next month, when TiVo hopes to make the service widely available. The company promises "quick and easy" access to Netflix. I hope it delivers.