Bravia Gets Netflix. What About Playstation 3?

By  |  Thursday, July 9, 2009 at 5:43 pm

netflix2Thanks to a partnership with Netflix, Sony Electronics’ Internet-capable Bravia televisions will be able to stream Netflix movies starting this fall.

That’s great news for Bravia owners, but I want to know whether Sony ever intends to bring Netflix to the Playstation 3. The odds of finding out for sure are admittedly slim, so let’s take a look at what’s been said to determine the likelyhood:

The chatter began last year, shortly after Netflix came to the Xbox 360 as part of a major interface update. John Koller, director of hardware marketing for the Playstation, told GamePro in December that the PS3 would focus on rentals and downloads. He cited a focus group in which participants weren’t enthused about Netflix on the Xbox 360, because they could just as easily watch movies on their laptops. Sounds fishy to me, but for our purposes it’s a vote of no Netflix interest on Sony’s part.

In February, Sony got downright nasty, responding to Microsoft’s boasts of one million Netflix sign-ups on the Xbox 360. In a rebuttal, Sony passed around a list of bullet points explaining why its service is better. Chalk this up as another sign Netflix isn’t coming to the PS3.

But then, there were some glimmers of hope. March saw a survey asking Netflix subscribers whether they’d stream to their PS3s if all it took was a $10 streaming disc that somehow handled the job. The next month, a Netflix job posting sought an engineer to build out the service on gaming consoles, prompting a Netflix spokesman to say that “for now,” console streaming is exclusive to the Xbox 360.¬†Finally, in May,¬†another Netflix survey appeared, but without the $10 streaming disc fee, and with the possibility of Wii streaming as well.

Which brings us to today. The stars are ever-closer to aligning, but there are barriers. For starters, we don’t know whether Microsoft has Netflix locked in an exclusive console arrangement. Ignoring that, it’d take some serious pride-swallowing for Sony to follow Microsoft in such obvious fashion. And there’s evidence that Sony’s doing just fine without Netflix anyway.

In short, I’m not counting on PS3 Netflix support anytime soon.

 
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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Sean Says:

    I wouldn't say it would take serious "pride-swallowing" for Sony to put Netflix on the PS3. It only makes sense, really, and would be a welcome addition.

  2. Brock Batsell Says:

    According to the MS press release at the time, they have an exclusive contract for game consoles:

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2008/jul08/07-14instantstreampr.mspx

    No idea how long it lasts (perhaps a year, and we’ll be hearing more about PS3 on July 14th? or whenever the contract went into effect through service activation), but I’d say that’s the bigger obstacle to Netflix on PS3 than Sony’s posturing. And a streaming disc would have to use the Java runtime (BD-J) built in to Blu-ray, though there would be DRM obstacles (and perhaps infrastructure obstacles now that they’ve switched to Silverlight). Totally doable, but much less likely now that they have an open relationship with Sony.

  3. Marc Says:

    check out http://www.themediamall.com/playon for a product called PlayOn. It works pretty well and supports Hulu, CBS, CNN, ESPN. The netflix part is the winner for me.

  4. Tim Says:

    I hope PS3 gets netflix soon. I’m a 360 owner and I love the integrated netflix service. I believe that the more devices that stream netflix the more movie studios will include new releases on the streaming service which is good for everyone. Right now the biggest issue with the service is lack of big titles. Don’t get me wrong, the selection they have is great but you have to do a lot of digging to find the gems.

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