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.