A native, disc-free version of streaming video service Netflix is coming to U.S. PlayStation 3s on October 18, nearly one year after the service originally arrived on Sony's console.
The introduction of the new version of the service next week puts PS3's Netflix offering on par with that on the Xbox 360, which launched the service in 2008 with no disc requirement. The Nintendo Wii currently offers streaming Netflix that still requires a disc.
Netflix's "Watch Instantly" streaming video service has become integral to the rent-by-mail video company's growth in the digital sector in recent years. In April, industry analyst Michael Pachter said he expected game consoles to create 3 million
new Netflix subscribers this year. In May, Nintendo said it had nearly 1 million Netflix users on Wii following the service's launch on that console in March.
The updated disc-free PS3 version of Netflix will allow users to access streaming movies via the console's XMB interface. The service will also support 1080p resolution and 5.1 channel surround sound on certain streamed movies and TV shows, a feature currently wholly unique to PS3's version of the streaming software.
Sony also said that the amount of time to start a video's playback will be improved over the disc-based version, which lags behind versions of the service on other hardware.
Netflix subscriptions cost as little as $9 a month and include access to unlimited streaming videos and rentals delivered by mail.
Video game console makers are locked in a battle for the living room, continually adding non-gaming entertainment features to their boxes, such as Facebook and Twitter access, Hulu video streaming, Last.fm, and, in the UK, streaming videos from LoveFilm