US-Korean Breakthrough for Mainstream TV Movie Downloads?

04 January 2008

LOS GATOS, California: The downloading of movies, TV shows and other internet content direct to personal computers has yet to catch the mainstream tide.

Even such heavily hyped iPTV products as Apple TV (pictured above) have failed to achieve significant public support, due to its PC-only interface and uninspiring content.

All that could be about to change. As of this coming Sunday, the galaxy's premier gizmology event, the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, will showcase a new venture between America's Netflix, the world's largest online movie rental service, and South Korean consumer electronics giant LG.

Due to launch in the second half of 2008, a new LG internet-enabled domestic TV will allow Netflix to download movies via the web, completely bypassing the need for a PC.

Informed observers say this could be the big break-through awaited by media purveyors, advertisers and consumers alike.

Netflix already offers its 7 million DVD rental customers an option to access internet-streamed movies and TV shows via a PC, at the same rate as its standard $17 monthly DVD rental fee - a price that will apply to owners of the new LG TV set.

Netflix ceo Reed Hastings says its present iPTV-streaming service is popular mainly among the under-25 age group, which has few hang-ups about watching video on a PC. But that approach isn't going to "get to the whole market", he admits.

The LG partnership is the "first of many" Netflix hopes to unveil this year with TV manufacturers and makers of other hardware devices such as videogame consoles.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff