Netflix Set to Send Films over the Internet

The movie rental giant will pipe films and TV shows over the Internet at no extra charge. But only a small number of subscribers will be able to use it at first, and only a fraction of the company's 70,000 titles will be available.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The reality of Internet video is prompting online movie rental giant Netflix to make its next move. The company has already revolutionized movie watching by renting out DVDs through the mail. Starting this week, Netflix's customers will no longer have to wait by the mailbox. The company will start piping movies and TV shows directly through the Internet.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's only a couple of years ago that Blockbuster was the outdated model and Netflix was the new one. Now Netflix is trying to catch the new wave. There is no extra charge for this online service, but to start off, only a small number of subscribers will be able to use it, and only a fraction of the company's titles will be available over the Internet.

Netflix says it will expand the service once it's sure the computers can handle the demand.

MONTAGNE: There is a drawback: the instant viewing system only works on personal computers and laptops equipped with high speed Internet connections and the Windows Operating System, which means you can't watch the video on your cell phone or your iPod.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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