Neflix has taken its first steps towards the next generation of rental viewership: The DVD rental Web site has begun offering instant, on-demand streaming of some of its movie library while rival Blockbuster readies a competing plan of its own.
The feature, known as “instant viewing,” works like this: Netflix subscribers will be able to watch streaming movies, from the Netflix site, with the use of a free Movie Viewer video player. How much video subscribers can watch is dependent upon the plan to which they subscribe. For each $1 of their monthly plan cost, subscribers can view 1 hour of the instant video per month. Plans range from $4.99 to $47.99 a month.
The movies customers download can be totally independent of their existing Netflix queue. The system, for now, is only available on Windows and, according to a Slate.com review, offers only about 1,000 of the service’s approximately 70,000 DVDs, very few of which are newer releases.