Netflix streaming for Macs out of beta

Posted by Christian Zibreg

Chicago (IL) – Netflix “Watch Instantly” movie streaming for Intel-based Mac is out of beta and now available to all Netflix subscribers who own Macs. Netflix emailed Mac subscribers earlier today to announce that the service is now open to all Mac users who wish to try it out. Watch Instantly still features only a small portion of Netflix’s library, but users are promised that they will be able to stream more than 12,000 movies and TV shows by the end of the year.

Watch Instantly is enabled on Intel-based Macs through Microsoft's Silverlight technology to deliver dynamic streams. It also allows a quick launch of videos with encoding quality that adapts in real time to the connection speed of a computer. Silverlight includes a platform- and browser-agnostic copy protection that prevents video stream ripping.

Watch Instantly is free for Netflix subscribers, but available streaming volume depends on individual subscription plans. For instance, unlimited streaming is included in plans priced at $8.99 per month and above. At this time, Watch Instantly is not supported on Apple TV, although the device seems to be a natural fit for the service. However, there is an unofficial workaround that involves a free multi-platform multimedia player called Boxee, which has been updated with Netflix support to let users access their Netflix instant queue, recommendations, browse recently added and most popular titles and access the Watch Instantly feature.

Boxee also provides streaming movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as streaming content from websites like Hulu, Netflix, CBS, Comedy Central, Last.fm, and Flickr. The catch: Netflix support in the player does not currently work on Apple TV due to limited processing resources, but developers noted they are working on a solution. Apple TV readers should note that installing Boxee player requires hacks that circumvent Apple TV’s warranty.