Though they began as a DVD-by-mail rental service, Netflix now offers thousands of movies and TV shows as streaming video through their Watch Instantly service. There are several different ways to watch Netflix's online streaming video content on your TV, though it may require an additional device.
Currently, all three video game consoles on the market are compatible with Netflix "Watch Instantly:" Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii. All you will have to do is download a free application for your console. PlayStation 3 users can find this application on the PlayStation Network and Wii However, Xbox 360 users will have to pay a yearly Xbox Live subscription to access Netflix's video stream.
Blu-Ray Players and TiVo
Many new models of high-definition Blu-ray disc players already have Netflix applications. Several different manufacturers include this application, from high-end brands like Philips and Panasonic to generic brands like Vizio and Insignia. These players often include other popular Internet applications, such as Facebook and Pandora Internet Radio. Also, new TiVo digital video recorder models have a built-in Netflix application.
Select HDTV models already have a Netflix "Watch Instantly" player as a pre-installed application. All you will have to do is run the Netflix application from the TV menu screen and you will be able to watch streaming Netflix movies and TV. Brands that have been including Netflix on their HDTVs as of 2011 include Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Vizio and many others.
Streaming Video Players
Another option for Netflix TV connection would be one of the many standalone streaming video units that can connect your TV and access Netflix Instant Watch via a broadband Internet connection. Netflix compatible devices include Roku Player, Apple TV, Logitech Revue, Seagate FreeAgent Theater, Sony Network Media Player and WD TV Network Media Player. These devices can also access many other video-on-demand providers, such as Amazon Instant Video and Vudu.
Home Theater Systems
Several of the same companies that manufacture Netflix ready Blu-ray players also have full surround sound home theatre sets with the same features. Though Netflix Watch Instantly does not currently support surround sound audio, this feature will be implemented in the future. Brands that have been supporting Netflix in their home theatre packages include Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Insignia, and Sony.
Computer Video Output
You can also output video from Netflix through your computer. This will require an addition TV tuner video output device or a television that can accept monitor input.