Netflix sees Starz

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

In a game altering play, Netflix has contracted with Starz to add the entertainment channel’s movies to the Watch Now instant watching options AND to provide a live stream of Starz to the Netflix web site.

This means that highly rated first run movies such as Ratatouille and No Country for Old Men, in addition to older classics, TV shows, and other material, are now filling out the Watch Now queue. I spent a happy 20 minutes this morning filling up my queue with shows, and I’ve not even scratched the surface of what’s available.

What makes this deal particularly intelligent on the part of Netflix is that it doesn’t have to try to strike deals with every movie studio— it can just strike a deal with channel providers, instead. In addition, in an interesting move, Netflix also provides a live Starz stream you can subscribe to directly— allowing you to bypass the DVD queue, completely. This moves us closer to the Netflix dream of streaming content, only.

The hottest little digital device on the market has just become the inexpensive Roku box, with its ease of use and setup, and inexpensive price tag; especially when you consider that you can get a Roku box for about the same amount you’d pay for a month of cable service.

The Starz deal follows other breaking stories recently about Netflix making a deal with CBS and Disney, Roku providing an open SDK for others to build channels, in addition to Netflix releasing its API today. With the API, we’ll now be able to integrate Netflix queues with other applications.

Of course, today’s also the day that Comcast starts its bandwidth capping. How soon before this capping comes up against the new internet video capabilities is a toss up—but with Christmas looming, and Netflix streaming available in an attractively priced Roku box, in addition to being included in new blu-ray and game players, I expect a bandwidth show-down beginning next year.

In the meantime, I feel quite smug for having made my Roku purchase, before the rush.