Thursday, September 11, 2008

LG Electronics BD300 is impressive

Hello, Steve Swasey here. I'm vice president of corporate communications for Netflix. Last week I joined one of our technology partners, LG Electronics, to show off their new BD300 Blu-ray disc player.

Recall Netflix and LG Electronics announced their partnership in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. In July I joined LG at a sneak peek of the BD300 at LG's "Summer Line Tour" in New York, at which we provided some details about the product.

Last week LG formally rolled out the BD300 at the CEDIA show (Custom Electronics Design and Installion Association) in Denver. I spoke at the LG news conference to a standing room only crowd of journalists and bloggers. You've probably read the reviews so I won't repeat details here, except that the BD300 is sleek.

Foot traffic was heavy at the LG booth, with a lot of people interested in seeing this first and only Blu-ray disc player to instantly stream movies from Netflix. Of course LG set up demo units with some pretty impressive wide screen TVs. "Billabong Odyssey" never looked so good.

The BD300 will be available at retail in about three weeks for $399.00.

Good stuff.


  1. Well that's great. But how about doing something about the problem that causes 95% of blu rays to arrive cracked?

    Something like, oh I don't know, better packaging?

    I like how Netflix has a blog dedicated to selling us to this LG blu ray player, but doesn't mention that there's a HUGE problem with actually getting blu rays that aren't cracked.

    I've heard everything from blaming the studios to sorting facilities.

    How about stop with the excuses and just fix the problem? Or when people start to buy this blu ray player and more people enable their accounts and receive cracked and unplayable blu rays discs, what will happen?

  2. I was very interested in getting this device, but in truth, I have no further desire to deal with physical media– so the Roku it is, and I've loved it for the past month.

    I look forward to seeing the Instant Watch grow and develop!

  3. I think maybe the true reason for Netlix to be investing in this technology is that they realise that Blue Rays are much more prone to minor scratches and blemishes than regular cds.

    Because so much more information is compressed into such a small area, I find myself sending a large proportion of the Blue Ray discs I get back because even if they have a minor blemish, the players go completely crazy and crash.

    I think the only way to prevent this is to upgrade the packaging, with plastic that doesn't bend when sent through the USPS. I think the post office sorting machines are pretty much guaranteeing that most Blue Ray disks won't work after shipment. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth gambling with them and sending them back and forth.

    Streaming movies would be great, but how realistic is this, I'm thinking you'll have to have the most expensive high end badwidth internet connection in order to handle of the data that would be in the stream for a true blue ray quality video.

    Are the movies predownloaded by the system prior to play? Otherwise the buffer waits must be tremendous right?

  4. interesting article +1

  5. Not to mention that Comcast will soon be putting a cap of 250 gigabytes/month on their Broadband accounts. I'm not sure how big the Netflix movies are - as far as streaming is concerned, but I see hitting the 250 G limit if I go to streaming instead of getting the disk in the mail.

  6. Yah, my thoughts exactly, one Blue Ray disk is capable of storing up to 50gb of information, that means if you have Comcast you will be limited to about 5 movies a month.

    I'm sure this sytem probably uses some proprietory compression algorithm but that has yet to be determined. The real test will be to put it under real world conditions (meaning, not in a demo booth) where thousands of people will attempt to download the same movie at the same time. Aside from the server issues alone, I think the technologies going to have a lot of practical limitations. Early adopters be ware, you may end up paying a pretty penny for a mound of frustrations.

    Not to mention who will provide technical support, LG or Netflix? But thats a whole other issue.

  7. Wow. Technological leaps and bounds are taking place right before our eyes.

    Too bad the ONE GUY they have working on the Mac Watch It Now is still napping.

  8. Hello, a frequent and long time Netlix user here. I'm a paying customer.

    A few things.

    I've recently discovered the damaged blu-ray problem you've been having for about a year. Good stuff.

    So this is where I ask: Why not concentrate on developing and executing sturdier mailers rather than pushing a technology that you obviously have incredible amounts of issues with?

    Over the past 3 1/2 weeks, on the 3 at a time plan, I've received about 8 damaged blu-ray discs. Each has an identical crack in the corner of the disc. I received 2 that weren't damaged.

    Each representative blamed either the studios for creating a great scratch-resistant-but-more-prone-to-cracks disc, or the postal service.

    So here's my problem. Why, oh why, haven't you addressed this widespread problem in this blog dedicated to screw ups? (And marketing).

    And most importantly: Why haven't you implemented a sturdier mailer that won't allow for damage?

    Stop blaming people/situations/acts of God. Just fix the problem.

  9. I don't think this is the right place to post this, but is anyone else having trouble with "Watch Instantly" if you are running IE 8?
    We have watched several movies. I installed IE 8 and now I get an incompatibility error telling me to run IE 6 or later!!

    What's to do?

  10. Dear Netflix,

    Mail service to APO customers is a continuing problem, made worse by the fact that we cannot take advantage of the Instant Viewing
    option, even though we are American citizens serving overseas. Would like to strongly suggest that you allow APO customers to report the discs are in the mail, as soon as they mail them, so that the next disc can be on it's way. The way you have the 'Report Trouble' feature set right now on the website, we cannot report the movie as mailed until 6-7 days AFTER we've mailed it. This makes the turnaround time 15-20 days for us to receive a movie. Come on! We are honest, paying customers, and would like to have the same service as our fellow citizens in the States.

    If we had the option of reporting the movie 'mailed' (or lost, if you prefer that verbiage), as soon as we mailed it, this would enable us to receive movies in a more timely fashion. As it stands, we're paying $17 a month, and averaging only about 3-4 movies a month, about $5 per movie.


    Lisa Wolfe
    US Embassy Cairo

  11. Meh. I would be a lot more interested to see progress on a PS3 version of the Netflix streaming app. (Although I understand that is unlikely as they want to build their own streaming store.)

    Interesting note about PS3s. Any chance you guys can swing your weight to help make them add a "Never Connect" preferences for their BluRay preferences? Right now the options are "Always Connect" or "Ask me if you can invade my privacy every time", so I don't do BluRay.

  12. @ Lisa

    This is the second time I have seen you post this. You know what? YOU ARE receiving the same service as US Netflix members. We can't report something as lost for several days, either. Not Netflix's fault that you chose to sign up while living in Egypt. Why should you be able to monopolize more discs just because YOU CHOSE a career that takes you oversees? How about just being glad that they ship to APO addresses at all? How is Netflix supposed to be able to tell the difference between honest customers and people gaming the system. Just because someone has an APO address doesn't automatically make them a good person. What do people there without Netflix subscriptions do? Find out and try that. Or better yet, coordinate with other Netflixers with similar taste, share movies, and see if you can coordinate something to improve your situation. Mighty be more productive than whining on a blog.

  13. Is there a way we can propose movies for you to buy? Netflix is great, but there is a lot you don't have.

    Filipe Castro

  14. Filipe Castro, log into, click Contact Us, click Title Request.

  15. Mybe the real reason for Netlix to invest in this technology is the $$$

  16. Many reasons for Netlix to invest on this technology!
    But Market and Money is the first ones!

  17. Seems to depend on the player a lot. I currently use my XBox 360 as a standard DVD player, and every now and then it freezes and I get disc read errors. If I pop it into my Mac and run DVD Player, I have no problems. I thought these formats all had error correcting codes? I remember early articles for CDs boasting about the RE error correction system and how discs would work if they got scratched. The reality is you get pops and freezes wit the slightest blemishes.

    And it *should* work better. I do error correction systems for wireless communication links. We did a system with multiple channels (one high speed data stream was divided into many channels to process at a slower clock rate) where you could lose an entire channel, but completely reconstruct it from the error correction information spread across the other channels.

    And this is two guys in an underfunded lab. These massive international technical standard groups can't do ant better?

  18. Dear Steve Swasey, I like your method about the LG BD300. I personally use this disc player. It has very low price of $399.00. It’s amazing.

    Sam Martian

    Online Marketing Solution

  19. Why isn't Netflix also partnering with Tivo to deliver Watch Instantly content to Tivo boxes? Tivo already has a following (aka market share). Why invest in yet another devise that will just compete with the bazillion already in the market? I have no desire to buy another device, but would be thrilled to be able to download to the Tivo I already have.

  20. I have many LG products that I am very happy with. I would recommend this product at well.


    Shoulder Holster

  21. out of 450 something movie in my queue only 29 are available for instant viewing. until you offer more movies this box is useless.

    btw-been getting blu-ray discs since they were available on netflix and have never had an issue watching one/problems.

  22. No wonder I'm waiting forever for my blurays! They're being shipped to egypt...