Netflix to Take a Bite out of Apple?

We’ve already looked at the iTunes movie rental service alongside Netflix’s streaming offering. Side by side, it appears that the two video services are in completely separate leagues. Netflix offers unlimited streaming from its library of over 6,000 titles absolutely free of charge to all of its unlimited mail order subscribers. Apple on the other hand, charges between $3 and $5 for a single online rental that can only be watched for 24 hours from first play. Even so, we all know that the iTunes service will fare well as a result of hype, simplicity and marketing. During 2008 however, Netflix is rumored to have a few tricks up its sleeve that could potentially put a nice bump in Apple’s road. Firstly, there are multiple instances of Netflix confirming that it plans to attack Mac incompatibility issues head on. The current lack of available Mac-compatible DRM protection has been the source of the hold-up as Apple, of course, does not license their DRM solution. Microsoft’s cross-platform DRM encoding is already in beta however, and you can expect Netflix to be an early adopter. To complete the circle, Netflix will also be adding a set top box to their catalog that will allow Netflix-streamed content to be played on TV sets. With all this in store from the leader in mail order movie rentals, can we expect them to dominate the video download arena as well? They might not be as shiny as Apple or Amazon but they certainly seem to be positioned to provide a real competing service.


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