Netflix HD Streaming Now Flows via Xbox 360

Netflix, the online movie rental service that is trying to push much of its snail-mail disc business to streaming, has given its 8.7 million members instant-streaming access to a few thousand movies and TV episodes via the Xbox 360 video game console from Microsoft. A growing number of titles will be HD, according to Netflix, and Xbox 360 will stream the content directly to living room TV sets.

The available HD fare is still miniscule for the moment. About 12,000 (out of approximately 100,000 mail-able DVD titles) are also instantly accessible at the Netflix Web site by members—and only about 300 of those 12,000 titles are offered in HD streaming (close to 720p), thus far. Subscriber selections are automatically displayed on a TV screen via the Xbox console. Netflix says selections should begin to stream (at least the SD variety) within about 30 seconds of selection.

Netflix plans to steadily increase the number of HD titles (films and TV) available to subs equipped with Xbox 360 units. The HD streams will not be fed with typical surround sound, however. That will come later.