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Netflix puts the Net into Flix

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Netflix, the online movie rental business, is to offer films and TV episodes over the internet. Subscribers download a browser applet, which lets them watch stuff using a real-time playback technology.

According to Netflix, this immediate viewing feature means that customers can watch films on their PC within 10-15 seconds of pressing 'select'. Better still, instant watching requires a minimum of one megabit per second of bandwidth. A three Mbps connection will get you DVD-quality viewing, Netflix says.

The Los Gatos, Calif. company is kicking off with 1,000 movies and TV series for subscribers to watch - at no additional cost - on their PCs. More online movies will come on stream, as and when the company secures download delivery rights.

Customers will have to wait in line, as Netflix is rolling out the service at a fairly leisurely pace, opening up to 250,000 subscribers a week through to June, to ensure that it can cope with demand. Mac users will have to wait somewhat longer - the browser applet is Windows-only.

Netflix today claims about six million customers.

Press release here. ®

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