Netflix: There's a Movie Waiting on Your iPhone
Among the 1,000-plus new features included in Apple’s iPhone 3.0 is a new open standard for live video streaming over HTTP, and soon, Netflix will make use of it. Well, that’s the rumor anyway.
An industry executive said to be familiar with the company’s plans tells Multichannel News that Netflix plans to extend its Watch Instantly video-streaming service to the Nintendo Wii and to the iPhone and iPod touch as well.
It’s not entirely clear how the company plans to bring Watch Instantly to the iPhone. Presumably, it will use a native iPhone app, since the device doesn’t support Silverlight, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Flash-esque also-ran.
That said, there are some hurdles to negotiate there since native video streaming on iPhone 3.0 doesn’t yet support digital rights management.
Another issue likely to prove problematic: Bandwidth. Watch Instantly streaming typically requires a fair bit of bandwidth and might prove problematic over 3G connections. AT&T (T), which hobbled SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone over bandwidth concerns, will probably see things that way. Which means Netflix’s app, if it is indeed in development, will be limited to Wi-Fi like the SlingPlayer.
Beyond that and the DRM issue, there’s not much more I can think of to prevent such an app from being brought to the iPhone. There’s not much overlapping content between Watch Instantly and Apple’s iTunes service. And even if there was, there’s no real rivalry here that might inspire Apple to block Netflix’s (NFLX) service. iTunes is run pretty much at break-even to support sales of Apple (AAPL) devices. And a Netflix app for iPhone would arguably help Apple do that as well.