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LG Ships Netflix-enabled HDTV Sets

Very much thinking inside the box, LG now says its DTV panels with internal Netflix connections for streaming content from the movie rental site (first prototyped at CES last January) are now being shipped to dealers.

Netflix, boasting more than 9 million monthly subs, distributes its content via a growing variety of venues — notably set-top boxes available from various firms, not to mention its original it’s-in-the-mail scheme. But the LGE models are the first DTV units to include Netflix streaming software inside the set.

To date, Netflix offers more than 100,000 titles, although only a small percentage have been digitized for streaming (and an even smaller percentage are available yet in Blu-ray 1080p).

LG’s two new models — a 47-inch LCD (47LH50) and a 50-inch plasma (50PS80) — are available starting now, the company said. Two more Netflix-enriched models, a 42-inch LCD and 60-inch plasma, will be shipped before the end of the summer.

Yet perhaps most surprising of all to DTV observers could be the fact that LG is offering as many new plasma models as LCD. In the past year, some makers have abandoned plasma production altogether.