Netflix has given word that they will begin delivery of TV shows and films over IP starting this week. Customers will be given choices in IP rental plans ranging from 6 hours of viewing time per month up to 48 hours. I assume they’ve capped it at 48 hours to combat piracy, because once the signal is in your home, you can do whatever you want with it (technically – not legally). At launch, Netflix will offer about 1,000 titles and will only be available on Windows XP PCs with IE.
Now what about picture quality? The quality is limited to what a subscriber’s bandwidth can take. DVD quality will be at around 3 mbits; however, a picture will still stream all the way down to 1 mbit.
The company will first roll out the service to 250,000 existing users per month, then scale to meet the needs of their 6 million subscribers. They are claiming that they will be fully scaled by June. It seems that Netflix’s master plan is unfolding right before our eyes. This will cut out shipping costs – which are a majority of the company’s costs to begin with. If this model ends up a success, I can imagine their profits would skyrocket. Once they form some partnerships to get set-top-boxes in living rooms, this may be the end-all, be-all solution for TV / Movie rental.