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Netflix CEO Discusses Hulu Plus, Disc-Free PS3 Version
Netflix CEO Discusses Hulu Plus, Disc-Free PS3 Version
July 22, 2010 | By Chris Remo

July 22, 2010 | By Chris Remo
More: Console/PC

With competition becoming increasingly fierce among online streaming services for television and movies, console makers are trying to one-up each other in as many ways as possible, and soon PlayStation 3 will join Xbox 360 in the ability to watch Netflix-streamed video without a dedicated disc.

"Before our next [financial results] in October, we expect to be launching a major new version of our Sony PS3 user interface which doesn't require a disc, and is dynamically updated continuously with the latest Netflix UI improvements," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings this week as part of the company's second-quarter earnings report.

Netflix streaming also launched on Wii with the disc method earlier this year, but there have been no announced plans to shed the optical media component of that collaboration.

Hastings also addressed the recently-announced Hulu Plus service, which offers access to films and full television program seasons for $9.95 a month -- but rather than putting up fighting words right out of the gate, Hastings said Netflix will take notes on its competitor's performance. In fact, he said, both Hulu and Netflix are really competing with cable and satellite providers.

"Once Hulu Plus has a few hundred thousand subscribers we'll be able to learn from consumers what they like about Hulu Plus," he explained. "Then we'll work to incorporate what we find back into Netflix. The Hulu team is sharp, and we're not going to underestimate them. In the long term, Hulu Plus and Netflix share the same major competitive threat, which is the multichannel video programming distributors getting so much better that fewer consumers choose to supplement with Netflix or Hulu Plus."

"Looking at competition, consumers have an enormous array of choices for their entertainment," he added.

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Mark Morrison
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adam, it's the opposite in our house, which includes a toddler, a mass market consumer, and an artsy geek. netflix updates weekly, including adding the new stuff, a few months into release. just this week we streamed surrogates, monsters inc., red cliff, omega man, U2, Fela Kuti, Richard Pryor, Sam Kineson, original Godzilla cartoons, just to name a few. the list of gems, especially iconic and cult stuff is endless on Netflix in my opinion. if you're looking for twilight or avatar then yeah, you may need to wait a while to stream it. there are also many different content provider business models. online streaming is infant. it will evolve quickly, despite the sumner redstones of the world. some studios like lucasfilm won't stream on Netflix yet. hopefully that will change.

do you use hulu plus now? are they really streaming ads into their paid subscription? that’s what mashable reported last week. i wouldn't know how hulu plus is because they haven't sent me the coveted invitation yet. it is good they are concerned about bandwidth issues, but netflix is well ahead of the curve in my opinion.

the netflix ceo's humility in response to his competitor is also unique and refreshing. i just don't see that type of posture with today's pedigree of self entitled media executives.

finally, i believe ‘choice’ as well as ‘competition’ are what's best for consumers, not one model based on watching ads. that’s what tv is and has always been.

Mark Morrison
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good points adam. do you access the netflix inventory from a console? my PS3 won't let me access the whole netflix inventory. have to do that on my computer or iPad. anyone else here have hulu plus yet? is it still streaming ads in the paid subscription accounts?

E Zachary Knight
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The fact that you can't get new or even newish movies on Netflix streaming has nothing to do with Netflix. It is completely controlled by the movie studios. They are the ones that decide when their movies are available for streaming. Right now they have decided that anything that detracts from DVD sales is bad for business and they don't allow for it.

I have to ask you, how many movies that were released on DVD this year do you see on Hulu? Very few if any. Most of the movies on Hulu are older movies as well.

The only thing that hulu has going for it that Netflix does not have is episodes of current television series. I doubt Netflix will get that anytime soon.


Hulu Plus will still stream ads, but you will get access to full seasons of current shows instead of the last five episodes. I think there is some premium movie content as well. I don't have it, but that is what everyone is reporting.

Kevin Patterson
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@Adam - I can live without Cable thanks to Netflix. I watch Hulu from time to time thanks to Play on media server, but prefer Netflix. I guess it would depend on what you enjoy watching. My significant other and I like TV series DVD's, Horror and Scifi movies, and Documentaries. There are tons of these on Netflix so we are happy. My only wish is that there were more History channel shows on Netflix, otherwise Id be completely content.

If you expect netflix to have the latest greatest movies then i would see why you would be disappointed, but being able to watch an entire season of a TV show without commercials is very nice.

Luke Skywalker
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It should be noted that Netflix has been aggressively courting movie studios to gain access to newer movies for their streaming service. Some of these deals are to the detriment of by mail only subscribers. They reached an agreement earlier this year with WB in which, if my memory serves me, Netlfix agreed not to rent copies of new releases for a month (online or via mail) in exchange for a much better selection of the WB catalog available for streaming.

wes bogdan
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I have playstation plus,a requirement,for hulu plus preview and yes ad's are still there but few and far between it doesn't even equal the 1st cable break of your favorite show. There are things i'd like fixed

before plus get's fully released.

1-i used hulu on a ps3 fatty then went to a slim i also own and was told i must wait 24 HOURS-but it didn't affect my laptop which has the hulu desktop on it. If you own 2 ps3's why can't you watch hulu on 1 and later-NOT 24 HOURS later use the other ps3.

2-Like PS + i want to pay by the year not the month by live /ps+ standards by the month is stupid if by the year is so much cheaper.

3-When i was watching hulu it ask me if i wanted to watch a trailer and not be bothered again or small ad's throughout...well i'd like to check trailer before show/movie in my profile so when the show starts

i can enjoy it and hulu can still have their ad's.

I enjoy the hulu on ps3 and the hulu desktop which i dl from hulu labs.

I even tested to see what content i could get and found every episode of the a team,some voltron,he-man,three stooges,abot n costello +warehouse 13 including new shows,stargate sg-1,atlantis and universe.

Seems like a bottomless well of content ATOTS,G4,COMIC CON even stuff more mundane like today,news etc+sports stuff.

I also use netflix but like hulu's web design,ps3 and hulu desktop better and i hate when you stream a show on netflix and the next episode is on disc....not so on hulu.

Mark Morrison
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hey wes, thanks for the Hulu Plus details!