December 08, 2008 by Arlen Schweiger
I guess December 8 certainly qualifies as “early December.” When we told you about TiVo adding Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service back at the end of October, the companies had mentioned a wider rollout would be available in early December, and so they made an official announcement today about how you can marry the two services.
The good news is that today’s official word also carries confirmation that the TiVo Series3, TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL boxes will include the HD option from Netflix as well as all the standard-def material.
Of course, Netflix’s streaming doesn’t have quite the selection of its physical disc library—but it does have more than 12,000 movies and TV shows, and counting. A small fraction of that is high-def material, and TiVo notes that both standard and HD titles are “expectec to grow in the weeks and months ahead,” so we figure Netflix has some more goodies up its sleeve.
The guys over at CNet got a chance to play around with the TiVo/Netflix combo this weekend and had some pretty nice things to say for the most part, especially as the TiVo streaming product compares to that of the Roku box that’s also expected to add high-def by the end of the year.
CNet noted that the movies that were available in HD (though it wasn’t always clear as you were picking them out) were more like really good-looking DVDs: Although the term “near-DVD” is often abused with video-streaming services, it accurately describes the video quality offered by Netflix streaming on TiVo. We fired up a bunch of movies and we were never disappointed by how they looked. Pan’s Labrynth was available in “HD” and in most cases it looked as good as a well-mastered DVD.
The other upside was that everything streamed right away, so the experience was more like what you would have when calling up a DVR’d (er, TiVo’d) video rather than actual Internet streaming.
All in all, it sounds like those who have TiVo and Netflix subscriptions can doubly rejoice this holiday season.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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