Today, Microsoft announced another agreement with Netflix to deliver that company's online service to Windows PCs via the Windows Media Center software. Effective immediately, users of Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions can watch movies and TV shows in their Netflix Instant Queues directly from within Windows Media Center, and they can manage their Netflix libraries and DVD queues. Microsoft had previously struck a deal with Netflix to bring Netflix Instant Queue content to the Xbox 360 as well.
"We're continuing to work with the top content providers today to make watching TV on the PC a mainstream experience for the future," says Microsoft Corporate Vice President Craig Eisler. "Consumers understand that content is the driving force when it comes to experiences, and with Netflix, we're underscoring our broader commitment to deliver a rich experience with Windows Media Center."
Netflix joins a growing list of Windows Media Center content providers, which also include CBSSports.com, FOX Sports, and MSNBC.com, as well as MSN Video, Showtime, and others. Microsoft is clearly seeking to capitalize on the public's move to PC-based TV watching, but unlike other solutions—most of which are web-based—Windows Media Center has been around for quite a while and has evolved into a mature and sophisticated platform.
Currently, only the Windows Vista version of Windows Media Center is compatible with Netflix. Presumably, this support will be coming to Windows 7 in the future, as well. With Windows 7, Windows Media Center is more broadly available across the various product versions: It's included with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.