Samsung, LG Players Latest to Access Netflix HD

The updated players will access Netflix’s current library of about 12,000 titles.
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In a trend that appears to spell good news (and a future) for Netflix beyond its current success as an online-generated snail mail rental service, Samsung and LGE have each introduced a Netflix-streaming Blu-ray Disc player/set-top box. The updated players will access Netflix’s current library of about 12,000 titles, including a growing HD menu—currently about 300 film and TV titles.

Technically speaking, two Samsung models (BD-P2500 and BD-P2550) permit streaming of SD content only. But this week, Samsung has begun offering an upgrade via a firmware update to allow HD streaming.

The HD will be of the 720p variety—not the 1080p that Blu-ray packaged content provides. And while HD formats typically include digital 5.1 surround sound, the Netflix version of HD via Samsung players will keep audio quality down at an SD level.

Also this week, LGE said owners of its LG BD300 Network Blu-ray player will receive an upgrade for Netflix HD instant-streaming capability. Netflix said it currently has about 8.7 million subscribers, with the vast majority continuing to access DVD titles (usually on a one-day turnaround) through the U.S. mail.

In late November, Netflix announced a partnership with Microsoft to also offer HD titles through the computer firm’s Xbox 360 game console (HD Notebook, Nov. 26, 2008).

Read all HD Notebook items here.