News Article

Netflix on Wii confirmed

Posted by Luke Westaway

Movie-streaming service becomes available this spring — UPDATE

Thank goodness for that! An end to the incessant rumours — Netflix will be making it to the Wii in the next few months, according to The New York Times (and now both companies in a joint statement).

You'll be able to subscribe to the service for the humble sum of $9 per month. Once you're a member it's a simple matter of whacking the Netflix disc into your console and streaming some movies. As the Wii doesn't support HD, you'll be limited to their standard definition range, but if you watch a lot of movies and suspect you could be saving money with a subscription, it might be worth checking out.

Sadly UK users will have to go without, as Netflix is still a US-only service. But seeing as it'll now be available on all three major consoles, and Netflix seems to have made itself something of an industry-standard, world domination may well be the next step.

UPDATE: Netflix and Nintendo have put out a press release announcing the feature, but most importantly point Netflix users towards where they can reserve the free disc for when it launches this spring.

MOVIES, TV EPISODES STREAMED INSTANTLY FROM NETFLIX HEADED TO NINTENDO'S WII CONSOLE THIS SPRING

Millions of U.S. Wii Owners Will Have the Opportunity to Access the World's Largest Online Movie Rental Service

REDMOND, Wash., and LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 13, 2010 – Nintendo of America Inc. and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced an agreement that will allow Netflix members who are also owners of Nintendo's Wii™ home console to instantly watch thousands of movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix directly to their TVs. Netflix is scheduled to go live on the Wii console this spring in the United States at no additional cost to Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month, a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection.

The partnership between the two companies will extend the reach of content streamed from Netflix farther than ever before, thanks to the mainstream popularity of the Wii console. Wii remains the fastest-selling home console in history, and reaches more consumers than any other device that currently supports streaming movies from Netflix. In December 2009, Nintendo sold well in excess of 3 million Wii consoles in the United States. Wii is the top-selling home video game system of this generation, and as such brings the Netflix experience to a broad and diverse mass market.

"Our research shows that 86 percent of all U.S. Wii consoles are located in the living room," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "The Wii console is the social hub around which friends and family members gather to play games and have fun. Soon both new and longtime Wii owners will enjoy the benefits of Netflix – and a variety of informational and entertainment options – by being Netflix members and connecting their consoles to the Internet."

"Our goal is to offer Netflix members as many ways as possible to watch movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix right to their TVs and to give non-members more and compelling reasons to consider the service," said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. "Joining forces with Nintendo, which has been so immensely popular with consumers since its introduction, is a very meaningful step in that direction."

With 11.1 million U.S. subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2009, Netflix continues to expand the ways in which its members can watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to TVs via a range of Netflix-ready devices such as the Wii console. Netflix memberships start as low as $8.99 a month, and members also can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. At the same time, consumers continue to demonstrate a preference for Wii consoles, which offer tremendous value, whether measured in fun games, shared experiences or the suggested retail price of just $199.99.

To enable their systems to stream content from Netflix, Wii owners will need a Netflix instant-streaming disc for the Wii console, which will be available at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers. The free disc looks and operates the same as a disc-based Wii game, and the entire user experience will feel natural and intuitive to Wii console owners. Netflix members and Wii console owners can now reserve a free instant-streaming disc by going to www.netflix.com/Wii. Once available in the spring, the discs will be delivered for free by first-class mail.

When the instant-streaming disc is inserted into a member's Wii system, an array of movie and TV choices will be displayed right on their TV screen. These titles will be conveniently organized into a variety of categories based on members' personal preferences and will include popular genres, new arrivals and members' individual instant Queues. Using the Wii Remote™ controller, members will be able to choose a movie or TV episode to watch from their instant Queues or pick one directly from any of the lists. They will also have the ability to read synopses and rate movies, and will have the option of fast-forwarding and rewinding their selection.

[via nytimes.com]

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User Comments (72)

Nintendokid

#1

Nintendokid said:

Cool but also I here on www.Wiki webkidpedia.com that Wii Video On Demand Channel is coming this year to Wii.

ReZon

#3

ReZon said:

Had this been done a couple of years ago, I would have probably stepped up and supported it. Not so much now though.

joshje

#4

joshje said:

Surely it isn't going to be disk based? Wiiware makes a lot more sense for this kind of service? I imagine a $9 channel with a months subscription included.

Sean_Aaron

#5

Sean_Aaron said:

disc-release could be to try to defeat piracy to prevent people who've hacked their machines from gaming the system?

warioswoods

#6

warioswoods said:

I believe the PS3 NetFlix access is also disc-based, yes?

Anyhow, good news, as I'm a NetFlix user and have pretty much ignored the on-demand part of their service, due to not preferring to watch movies on my laptop.

Twisted

#8

Twisted said:

No sale. Who the hell wants to put a disc in their console to play downloadable movies? Kinda backward don't you think? Then again, it is for the Wii.... so it all strangely makes sense (in that "I don't have a clue what people really want" kind of fashion)

Plus, disc based piracy is so much more popular than WiiWare piracy so using the medium for security makes no sense at all unless they're looking to eke out another $40 for the disc (with the usual 'free months subscription' that actually cost you $40)

IlikeVideoGames

#10

IlikeVideoGames said:

I went ahead and reserved my free disc to use with the Wii. I figure, might as well give it a try. I have Netflix so it is no additional cost to me.

Objection

#11

Objection said:

I'm interested, but likely won't get the service. At least in my own case, the Wii just isn't very good at streaming video in a timely manner.

Rawk_Hawk

#13

Rawk_Hawk said:

This would be ideal for me on my Wii, but I'm not sure I watch enough movies to justify a montly subscription yet. But I will think about it.

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#15

JonWahlgren said:

@Twisted: I take you hate putting DVDs in the player to watch as well? Plus, as warioswoods pointed out, the PS3 has the same dealio.

That being said, hooray 360!

rustythekid

#16

rustythekid said:

If I bought my wii in the US will it work if I live outside the country but I use a credit card from an American bank? I guess I'll have to write to customer support, the strange land where nothing is at it seems and nothing is ever resolved....

motang

#17

motang said:

I would excited if I had Netflix, but since I don’t it really doesn’t matter to be at the moment. But very cool nonetheless.

Twisted

#18

Twisted said:

@Panda. Not at all - because that makes sense. Using a disc for unlocking a system makes no sense:

  • It's totally wasteful in terms of manufacturing. Why waste discs and valuable resources when the front-end could be downloaded at a fraction of the cost to the company and the environment.
  • It's flawed. What if someone pinches your disc or it gets damaged irrecoverably (which also compounds the previous point) Do you pay a premium for a replacement? I guess they'll let you off once (or twice) but I doubt they'll be too happy after two or three replacements discs. And remember you'll be inserting/removing that sucker a hell of a lot more than you would your regular DVD and game discs. Added wear-and-tear on both your disc and your console.
  • It's impractical: Why should people need to insert a disc? Shouldn't the service be available "on-demand"? It sounds lazy, but surely having to get your fat ass off the sofa to physically set the system up every time you want to use it kinda goes against the whole idea of on demand.

I suppose it could have been worse - they could have used a USB dongle :D

ejamer

#19

ejamer said:

So UK has the BBC Player, US has Netflix. Sometimes (and only sometimes) being Canadian sucks.
:p

Too bad this isn't available here though -- it's something I would be interested in, but c'est la vie!

Xkhaoz

#20

Xkhaoz said:

Well, I'm a bit ticked about the disc thing. But as long as the movies aren't on the disc, I"m good.

Ren

#21

Ren said:

Doesn't mention if theres an extra cost for us that already have netflix. I will NOT pay an extra 9 a month for it, but if I can use it in addition to the netflix I already get, like roku than this is fantastic news.
I don't care about res here since the only good DL stuff is tv shows anyway. cool.

IlikeVideoGames

#22

IlikeVideoGames said:

@X What is there to be ticked about. If you have Netflix or sign up for Netflix, they mail you the disc for free at no additional cost to you. You pop it in and you stream.
@Twisted maybe your expectations are just to high. But it could be a lot worse :)

@Crybabies I just do not get it. A lot of people on this site cry foul due the lack of features on the Wii and when you get one you cry foul more. A company offers an added service at no additional cost to your Netflix subscription and they give it to their customers for free and yet people still complain ?
@Anyone for those wanting the disc you can request it at the following link http://www.netflix.com/InstantStreamingDisc?device=Wii
For a more thorough explanation check.
http://www.netflix.com/NRDInfo/Wii

#24

said:

people are crying because you have to insert a CD?

wow..just wow.

Grow up.

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#26

JonWahlgren said:

@Twisted: It's not ideal, I agree, but the disc is I think more of a necessity to get around a one-year home console exclusivity deal that they signed with Microsoft. The PS3 will be getting a downloadable app at some point for this, and I'd expect the same for Wii eventually. Netflix would rather not manufacture and ship more discs than they have to I'd guess.

As for if you keep breaking/losing the disc, well, if that keeps happening then you're doing it wrong. =)

Draaknar

#27

Draaknar said:

I already have a streaming PS3 disc and it works great. But I would always like to get one for the Wii so I can hook it up in another part of the house. :)

Popyman

#31

Popyman said:

So you can do the Wii thing and the getting DVDs in the mail at the same time? That's cool, my parents wanted to get Netflix, this might sell them.

vherub

#32

vherub said:

to clarify why the wii must use a disc (and the ps3):
Microsoft signed up Netflix to an exclusive deal, the particulars of the deal allow the exclusivity to be circumvented so long as the ps3 and wii use a disc to access the service

Wolf

#34

Wolf said:

Oh great news... wait, I'm Canadian. Come on Netflix and expand some more and come up to The Great White North! I can see it now. It's to cold outside to go to the video store, wait! I can get a DVD shipped right to my mailbox!! Oh well, one can only dream...

Crunc

#35

Crunc said:

Popyman - yes, however, only "unlimited" plans include unlimited netflix streaming. You get something like 2 hours of streaming per month on a non-unlimited plan, of which I think there is only one.

I'm looking forward to this as the 360's netflix streaming at 720p isn't working too well for us on our DSL connection. I'm hoping that by only trying to push 480p our way, we may get better results. I'm looking forward to finding out. I do wish we didn't have to use a disc, though. I'm not entirely convinced that in the Wii's case it's just a matter of a contract. Perhaps the Netflix client would take up too much space as well.

BlueFlameBat

#36

BlueFlameBat said:

"...whacking the Netflix disc into your console..."
I don't think I've ever heard or read "whacking" being used that way, but whatever.
Surely there must be some kind of online rental store in Europe and Asia.

LittleIrves

#37

LittleIrves said:

@buffalobob: Let me add another "wow" or five. What's the problem, peeps? My girlfriend/roommate has Netflix, and have my own queue but can't stream on my laptop. So I'm psyched to have this option through the Wii. Still rockin' the old 27" standard definition tv, too, so if the quality is at all close to DVD-quality, I'm happy. A bit worried that the resolution will be poor, as the streaming online isn't quite as sharp as it could be, but hopefully the disc will help....?

Kirk

#38

Kirk said:

Having to insert the DVD just to use the service is a bit annoying imo.

I wouldn't get it anyway but it really should have just been a simple Channel that you install and it should have worked straight from that imo.

Spaceboy

#39

Spaceboy said:

Netflix is my friend. I've streamed season one of Californication and Heroes and the first three seasons of Dexter on my 17 inch lap top, then I order the rest of the seasons on Blu Ray and they come the next day, if not the day after. Streaming straight to my tv will be a great way to share these episodes with my family! And I won't mind putting the disk in at all, seeing as how the only Wii game I've been playing lately is NSMBW, so the swap outs won't be too common. This is a "hooray!" for me.

Lonnie2Hottie

#40

Lonnie2Hottie said:

It's cool and all for the people who will use it. I don't have enough time to play all the games I want, let alone watch movies.

blank_user_1

#42

blank_user_1 said:

I have waited so long for this and the fact that it will finally be available "at no additional charge" is fantastic news. I'm surprised that no one else thought of this, but the disc makes sense if you know the technology it already takes to stream movies off Netflix. The installation process (for Windows) involves MS's Silverlight and DirectX, so the fact that Wii has none of that means Netflix and Nintendo have to build their own optimized drivers. Wii has limited memory built in, so the video rendering software shouldn't be there, and the SD card has delayed load times (think SSBB load times for custom stages on SD card). Thus, the software should be on the DVD.

IlikeVideoGames

#44

IlikeVideoGames said:

@revolver No additional cost and you can go ahead and reserve your disc for free. They will send them out in the spring when the service starts. Here is the link if your interested in reserving your dischttp://www.netflix.com/NRDInfo/Wii

Chatham

#45

Chatham said:

Nice, I already got this on my PS3... (Same disc situation) But it's nice to see Netflix going for EVERY major console! Hell, I might as well reserve a disc as well and see how it runs.

BobberyFan98

#47

BobberyFan98 said:

I may be getting this, since now i could watch the movies i wanted to rather than the entire family usually choosing

Objection

#49

Objection said:

I'd make a joke that people will want their GAMES disc-free next...but that's pretty much where the gaming industry is heading...no me gusta...O.o

Ren

#52

Ren said:

This is such great news to me since I was on the fence about shelling out the 100 bucks for a roku (even though roku is great). I do have a pretty big HD set, but I don't care. The only good content they have is tv series, but maybe that will change soon since all their DL hosts seem to be taking off. I'm actually not as disbelieving about the idea that Ninty might release a new console soon or even an HD upgrade.

I mean with motion plus settling in, starting to phase out the cube games, and adding stuff like netflix, maybe they really are settling in for the long haul, including releasing a backwards compat Wii HD or something. Seems crazy but stranger things have happened. They didn't flinch about putting out that big DS, and we all know how well the various DS versions have done, and those really aren't that much more expensive than a Wii.

deadly_by_design

#53

deadly_by_design said:

So does this solidify the defeat of Nintendo's naive "Gaming Device Only" concept? (no DVD playback, anyone?) Here's hoping the next Wii will have all of the modern perks of Nintendo's contemporaries. (Movies, Robust online services, etc)

jkrguitar

#54

jkrguitar said:

Jeez, all the weak complaints....grow up....Nintedo's supporting the wii in many ways....what's not great about that? This is one more thing that tells me it's gonna be a great year for the Wii! The internet is a hate collector...it's cliche' so why follow? This is good news for us!

StarDust4Ever

#55

StarDust4Ever said:

Big whoopiee-doo! I'd rather own the stuff (DVDs, etc) anyway :P

Even with our high-speed DSL, sometimes the Nintendo Channel can barely stream promo videos without constantly buffering...

I bought my Wii to play games, and my DVD-Recorder/VCR Combo for watching movies (not to mention backing up precious 25-yrs-old VHS tapes, and recording epic Bowser battles/ game endings to DVD)

Nintendokid

#57

Nintendokid said:

The US is so lucky to get Netflix on Wii I just hope Nintendo has something for the Canadian's as well.But it Wouldn't make sence that Wii No Ma is coming to North America & Europe it just could mean that two Wii On Demand services will be runing by to services.

ToastyYogurt

#58

ToastyYogurt said:

Great news! Now we no longer have to watch Netflix on Demand just on the PC! (Or through the TV with the PC plugged in..)

Ren

#59

Ren said:

@ stardust
If you've seen a roku box in action you would think differently. It really is a fantastic option. It's nothing like the Nintendo Channel type of thing. streaming works fine at good resolution with the right kind of compression and a good buffer and netflix has it down very well. It's the best option for tv shows when you hate watching commercials but want to see a series thats on dvd.
If I owned every metiocre movie that I felt like renting for entertainment I'd live in a dump and be totally broke.

FJOJR

#60

FJOJR said:

I'll try the 1 month trial when this starts and possibly continue it if I like it

brandonbwii

#61

brandonbwii said:

This is a tad disappointing. I was hoping for something like Wii no Ma with it's cute family scenario and interface and downloadable coupons for resturants. I guess there is only a "Nintendo Difference" when it fits their needs.

evilralfwiggum

#62

evilralfwiggum said:

As long as it works fine this is great news :) You need an xbox live Gold membership to use Netflix on 360s. So if you didn't pay the extra membership you can't use Netflix on there. BLOWS. So Wii getting Netflix streaming is great news since you don't need anything but the Netflix membership.

Nintendokid

#63

Nintendokid said:

I'm sure Wii No Ma will eventually hit Canada & Europe cause it's only fair for all region's to have a little excitement!!

Marioman64

#64

Marioman64 said:

i'm afraid, i tried watching videos using winamp's orb software and omg the loading time and streaming problems...

and... well besides that im excited, because my mom has a netflix membership and i can use hers. lets hope it works though

MarkyVigoroth

#65

MarkyVigoroth said:

/after checking site/
There will be no Netflix for me. (I would say why, but I do not want my comment to be deleted again.)

PhazonBlue

#67

PhazonBlue said:

I have NetFlix and a Ps3 You have to insert a disc into that as well in order to stream the movies. It's really not that bad. I am excited about this, now I can watch Nexflix in more places since my Wii is in a different room than my Ps3 and My PC.

Phobos

#69

Phobos said:

Netflix on disc for the Wii? Well, it has it's downsides but then again it'll stop hackers and pirates from completely misusing it. I mean, that way they're blockin' access, so that's ok. I mean, I guess.

Thomas_Joseph

#70

Thomas_Joseph said:

To all the people bitching about it not being a channel. If any of you were up to date on Netflix, they'd know that they currently have an exclusive deal with Microsoft and the XBOX360. The disc-based system is the current workaround to allow people with a PS3 and Wii to use Netflix on their machines. For that, I am grateful, and very excited. When their deal ends with Microsoft, no doubt the PS3 and Wii will get channels so the disc becomes obsolete. In the meantime, this is an awesome development, with only the minor of fussing.

Get up off your darn couches now and again you nattering nabobs.

Thomas_Joseph

#71

Thomas_Joseph said:

Question for those who stream Netflix using their XBOX360 or PS3. Do you have problems with it, or does it stream well? I think I may have to move my cable modem to my living room, get the adapter and hook up my Wii directly. Would hate to do that, but may not have a choice.

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