Netflix pushes the red envelope with new Web-to-TV box

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Netflix on Tuesday introduced a dedicated set-top box to allow its subscribers to view movies delivered through the Internet on television screens.

The company known for sending DVDs packaged in iconic red envelopes to 8.2 million subscribers said that the small square box is made by Roku, a Silicon Valley tech company in which Netflix has invested $6 million.

Netflix said earlier that LG Electronics is making a Blu-ray Disc player that also will deliver digital Netflix movies, and the company has struck a deal for its technology to be embedded in at least two more devices from partners not yet revealed. The Roku box, though, appears to be unique in that it has just one purpose: Internet-delivered Netflix movies.

Netflix has DVD rights to 100,000 titles, though it has digital delivery rights to just 10,000. The box sells online at Netflix.com and Roku.com for $99.99, and the on-demand movies are available to Netflix subscribers at no additional cost.

Dubbed the Netflix Player by Roku, the device will compete with Apple TV and Vudu as well as TiVo, which has partnered with Amazon's Unbox service.

"Now, streaming video isn't limited to people sitting in front of the PC; it's ready for the TV in the living room," Roku CEO Anthony Wood said. (partialdiff)
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