Netflix Goes Streaming With $99.99 Box

The snailmail era of movie rentals had to end sooner or later.

Netflix is taking to the Internet with The Netflix Player by Roku, a $99.99 box that lets subscribers instantly stream movies and TV episodes directly to their TV sets.

It’s available for purchase at the Roku Web site.

“We’re excited to bring the first Netflix ready device to the market,” said Anthony Wood, CEO and founder of Roku, based in Saratoga, Calif. “The seamless integration of the Netflix service into our player has resulted in true ease of use for the consumer. Now, streaming video isn’t limited to people sitting in front of the PC; it’s ready for the TV in the living room.”

Netflix praised the box’s simplicity and cost. “First, it allows consumers to use the full power of the Netflix Web site to choose movies for their instant queue, and then automatically displays only those choices on the TV screen,” said Reed Hastings, chairman and CEO of Netflix. “That’s a major improvement versus the clutter of trying to choose from 10,000 films on the TV. Second, there are no extra charges and no viewing restrictions. For a one-time purchase of $99, Netflix members can watch as much as they want and as often as they want without paying more or impacting the number of DVDs they receive.”

Subscribers would still have to pay their regular monthly Netflix membership fees, starting around $5.

The Netflix Player is roughly the size of a paperback book, the companies say, and can integrate easily into any home entertainment system by connecting it to a TV and the Internet. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled.