netflix.jpgInstant gratification is the name of the game in the 21st century. It is no longer popular nor convenient to rent a DVD online and get it posted via the mail. Rather, we would like to choose a movie and watch it immediately, preferably with just a few clicks of button and our bottom still glued to the living room couch. Netflix offers a new device which allows its subscribers to have access to thousands of movies and TV shows from its catalogue instantly for free. Subscribers to its online DVD rental service who are paying about $20 a month only have to purchase a set-top box costing $99. The Netflix box, made by Silicon Valley startup Roku Inc., is the first of several devices that will pipe Netflix’s streaming service to TV sets. This will give subscribers unlimited access to 10,000 shows out of the 100,000 titles available in Netflix’s library.

Netflix’s set-top box is dirt cheap compared to similar Internet-to-TV devices made by Apple Inc. and Vudu Inc. costing $229 to $295 respectively. The compact 5-inch-by-5-inch gizmo uses high-speed Internet connections to stream movies to users’ television screens. Dubbed ‘Watch Now’, the streaming service by Netflick offers big value at a low cost. It is easy to install and extremely user-friendly – just plug it in and press a few buttons like a remote control. A high-speed Internet connection can either be plugged into the box or the device can pick up a wireless signal. The downside is that Netflix does not offer new movie releases in its streaming service even if users are willing to pay extra for them. Besides, as there is no hard drive, a slow Internet connection could play havoc to one’s viewing experience.

LG Electronics is expected to include the streaming capability in a Blu-ray DVD player that it plans to debut during the second half of this year. And rumors are in the pipeline that the service could team up with Microsoft for Watch Now movies to be channeled to the Xbox 360.