At long last, Netflix is coming to Ireland - or at least it is in 2012. Here are five things you may not know about the entertainment streaming giant.
Upon launch, Netflix will be compatible with 700 devices
Are there even 700 consumer electronic devices in the world? Apparently so, as Netflix claims to be compatible with over 700 and we're inclined to believe them.
Obviously portability and compatibility are two of the biggest necessities for any on-demand entertainment streaming service so upon launch next year, Netflix will work with PCs, Internet-connected TVs and Macs. That's just the start so gamers will be delighted to hear that the service also works for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Outside of these devices, an array of Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, home theatre systems, digital video recorders and Internet video players are all catered for, in addition to Apple TV and Google TV. We shouldn't have to mention that yes, Apple's iPod, iPad and iPhone will also work. At this rate, we're considering dusting off our attic-dwelling Commodore 64 just to see what happens.
Netflix have not yet to confirm video game rentals for UK and Ireland
If the UK and Ireland version of Netflix has a similar catalogue of films and movies to that of its US offering, it could be the end of our Sky Movies subscription and Xtravision account. Yet what about renting video games? This is one aspect which was not covered whatsoever in this morning's press release.
Although Netflix began as a disc-mailing service, that area of business, particularly for video games, is already well covered by LOVEFiLM, sure to be Netflix's biggest rival upon launch in Europe. In the US, video game rental via mail is primarily dominated by a service called GameFly, yet Netflix have recently set up a seperate entity for all disc-mailing, be it video games or movies - Qwikster.
In other words, Netflix have declared war on the service whose monthly fee business model made it the 'Netflix of video games' and though Qwikster has not yet been announced for launch in the UK and Ireland, it's unlikely the company will sit idly by and allow LOVEFiLM to continue their plans unchallenged.
Netflix has begun plans to create its own shows, including one featuring Kevin Spacey
If services such as Netflix are the future of TV, then it'd make sense if they started creating their own content too, right? In March of this year, the company announced that they would produce their own original programming with politicial drama House of Cards, bolstered by Hollywood heavyweights David Fincher (director of The Social Network, Se7en) and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey.
Although the show won't see the light of day until late 2012, the price tag (believed to be over $100m for the 26-episode series) is a staggering show of intent and perhaps a glimpse of how future TV deals may be made, especially considering that Netflix outbid drama production giants HBO (Band of Brothers, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) and AMC (The Walking Dead, Mad Men) for the distribution rights.
The Skype founders are working on a Netflix rival
With over 25 million subscribers, you'd imagine that it would be crazy for anyone to challenge Netflix in the US but evidently the founders of Skype have just the right amount of crazy. They're working on VDIO, which “lets you instantly watch the best in TV and movies”, but is apparently also completely different.
Hmm... either way, a rolling graphic on the service's site could indicate that VDIO has licensing deals with AMC, Showtime, Fox, Sony and Warner Bros. Unfortunately for VDIO, it is first meant to launch in the UK, so they'd better get their skates on after this morning's news.
Netflix is bigger than the US' biggest cable company
With almost 21.8m streaming subscribers, Netflix is closing in on Comcast, the US' largest cable company. Yet, thanks to a customer base that has grown by nearly 10 million in the past year, it shouldn't be too long until they leave Comcast for dust.
Although Netflix is growing faster than any other video provider, it still has some way to go to dominate the combined cable and satellite viewership across the US main service providers, estimated at around 80 million. Yet with a much smaller population and huge growth predictions, maybe Sky as a whole should be quaking in their boots today too.