That sure makes things easier

Prepare a cool, condensation-laden drink next time you sit down to watch Netflix on your Wii, because that disc formerly required to stream videos has now become a stylish new coaster. Beating even the regularly scheduled Nintendo Download to the punch today, a native application for the movie service is now available on the Wii Shop channel.

The download is free of charge but can only be used by those with a streaming-enabled Netflix subscription, which should cover most users. Weighing in at a mere 49 blocks, the application has received a slight makeover and now includes a search function.

Wii isn't the only console getting in on the application train, as the PS3's native Netflix app also launches today, bringing 5.1 surround sound, subtitles and alternate audio tracks. While they don't seem to be on Wii, we've asked Netflix for comment on whether subtitles and alternate audio track support is in fact included and will update this story upon response.

[UPDATE] A Netflix rep has confirmed that subtitles and alternate audio tracks are not available in the Wii application.

[UPDATE] Said Netflix rep has confirmed that subtitles and alternate audio tracks are in fact available in the Wii application.

A Wii system update must be installed in order to download and use the channel.

Netflix Now Available as a Download from the Wii Shop Channel

Watching Movies and TV Shows Streamed Instantly from Netflix is Now Just a Click Away

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Beginning today, Netflix members in the United States and Canada can stream content through their Wii™ consoles with Netflix installed on their Wii Menu. The Netflix disc that was used for instant streaming on the Wii console will no longer be required. Netflix members who have a plan starting at $8.99 a month ($7.99 in Canada), a Wii console and a broadband Internet connection can now instantly watch movies and TV shows streamed directly to their TVs by simply downloading Netflix from the Wii Shop Channel. This new channel is available at no extra cost. The new disc-free option installs Netflix on the Wii Menu, making it convenient for Wii owners to quickly access streaming movies and TV shows.

“At this time of year, consumers have a near-insatiable demand for family entertainment,” said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “And this simplified Netflix access will help bring families together more quickly, more easily and in more ways than ever before. More than 3 million Wii systems have already connected to Netflix, demonstrating how easy the service is to set up and use.”

“Wii is a consummate home entertainment platform and has quickly become one of the best and most popular ways to enjoy movies streamed from Netflix,” said Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix. “The availability of Netflix right on the Wii Menu adds significantly to the ease and convenience that attracts our members to the Netflix streaming experience and is an important step in our efforts to continuously improve the service.”