Netflix is the first streaming video provider to get its own button on the remote controls of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray disc players, and other devices.
Starting in the spring, a button sporting the red Netflix logo will appear on Blu-ray disc player remotes from Best Buy, which has its own in-house Dynex brand; Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba. The latter three consumer electronics makers have also agreed to place the button on remotes for their Internet-connected TVs.
Netflix has also convinced set-top box makers Boxee, Iomega, and Roku to include one-click access to the video service on their remote controls. Netflix, which announced the arrangements on Tuesday, did not provide details on the deals behind the prominent placement.
How long Netflix competitors Hulu, CinemaNow, and others will leave such prime real estate to their rival remains to be seen. Having a button on a remote is important because it makes accessing the service very easy, a necessary component to enticing use. Roughly one in four digital televisions are Internet-enabled today and the number is growing.
More than 250 consumer electronics ship with a link to Netflix on their user interface software. The company has 16 million subscribers to its streaming movie and flate-rate, rent-by-mail DVD service. The company has been moving aggressively into Internet delivery of movies, posing a threat to cable TV companies. Analysts say the latter have already seen some subscribers trade cable for cheaper, good-enough services like Netflix's, which typically have to wait much longer to license popular movies for streaming online.
Netflix has been beefing up its online content with TV shows. The company announced last month that it would add shows from Disney-ABC Television Group to its library. The agreement added many more episodes from such shows as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." The deal also added episodes from shows not previously available for streaming, including "Brothers & Sisters," "Ugly Betty," and "Reaper," and for the first time included content from the ABC Family network.