Netflix officially made its streaming video service available on the Wii today, after several weeks of soft-launching the service.
It provides instant play of selected movies and TV shows through the Wii when a special Netflix disc is playing in the console. Netflix is providing the discs free to people who subscribe to plans starting at $8.99 a month. Here’s a link to the Netflix Wii registration site.
The Wii is late to the Netflix party. Instant-play Netflix streaming has been available for a while on the Xbox 360, PlayStation3 and all sorts of Blu-ray players and Web-connected TVs.
But it’s still a nice addition for Wii owners looking for a simple way to get Netflix streaming to their TVs. It’s also a big step forward for the Wii, which otherwise lacks the movie playback capabilities of the Xbox and PS3.
I’ve been testing it at home and prefer the Wii setup over Netflix on my Tivo HD, even though the Wii service is lower resolution. That’s because I’ve got weak DSL service at home and the lower res video streams just fine on the Wii, but pauses to buffer now and then on the high-def Tivo.
For families who already have Netflix and a Wii, the service could become an auxiliary DVR in the family room, providing a big library of on-demand movies and TV shows. The service also includes Netflix DVDs by mail (although note that Netflix recently agreed to delay new releases from a few major studios for up to 28 days).