Thursday, August 9, 2007

Instant watching on Mac, Firefox, and more

Hey, all. I'm Steve, responsible for the instant watching feature on our site.

First, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the comments and feedback you've already posted. I've read everything, and look forward to hearing more of your ideas.

Next, as my first post, I wanted to answer a couple of your questions about Mac, Firefox and beyond.

Bottom line: we're committed to giving all of our members access to our instant watching feature. Both Mac and Firefox are on the list. Also, many of you have seen our public statements that we're bringing Netflix to the TV in 2008. I can't say anything more specific about that, except to note how excited I am about what we're working on.

In the meantime, here's a little more regarding Mac and Firefox. While Boot Camp and virtualization programs work great for watching movies instantly on an Intel Mac, I know that's not the solution we all want (ps - I've been a Mac user since the days of the 128K Mac, and many of us at Netflix use them at work and at home.) So here's the deal:

A key issue for delivering movies online is that the studios require use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) to protect titles. And that's our holdup for the Mac - there's not yet a studio-sanctioned, publicly-available Mac DRM solution (Apple doesn't license theirs). I can promise you that, when an approved solution becomes available for the Mac, we'll be there. I'll also say that Silverlight 1.1 looks like a promising candidate - but that its DRM isn't likely to be fully available until 2008.

Firefox for Windows is a different issue, and one we hope to address by early 2008. An upcoming version of our movie viewer will support Firefox as well as some new features, and I'll post more on that as we get closer to deployment.

Another comment I hear frequently is about the selection of titles available right now for instant watching. Two things on that:

First, the majority of the studios’ content is committed to traditional broadcast channels for the next several years. As a result, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Walmart.com, and everyone else delivering movies online have access to far less content than what’s available on DVD. That said, we’re working closely with the studios to expand content for electronic delivery, and even today we have more than any other electronic delivery service I'm aware of. We're continually adding new choices - we're up to over 4,500 movies and TV episodes this week - and that growth will accelerate into next year.

Also, besides some really great movies and shows from the full catalog, we're starting to receive newer content and exclusives. The Office was a big hit with our viewers over the past month or so. Pan's Labyrinth and several other recent releases will be out this month, with more to come this fall. We have a special preview of Californication, a new Showtime series with David Duchovny, available right now (btw - adults only recommended for that one). There will be lots more where those came from.

So, we hear you: get you to the Mac, Firefox, and the TV. Get you more great movies and TV shows. We're listening, and we're taking action. Thanks, everyone. Keep the comments and questions coming, and let me know what you'd like to hear more about.