Netflix Video Streaming Coming to Windows Phone

Dave Zatz —  March 15, 2010 — 7 Comments

At MIX10, Microsoft’s developer conference, in addition to Pandora, Sling and Xbox gaming, it looks like the new Windows Phone 7 platform may also host a Netflix streaming video app in their upcoming marketplace. Given Netflix’s previous integration of MS video and DRM technologies (Windows, Silverlight, Xbox), today’s demo shouldn’t come as any surprise. I only hope the shipping version is a bit easier on the eyes. Branding is important, but can we dial down the (Verizon) red? Actually, I have two more hopes. Additional, premium content. And an iPhone client.

7 responses to Netflix Video Streaming Coming to Windows Phone

  1. What kind of bitrate can we expect?

    Cell phones only get 5GB of data per month.

    Netflix will need create a “mobile” rip to get the file size down to something manageable.

  2. Netflix is pretty use to creating multiple rips – also do not forget that since this is for 2 to 4 inch LCD screens they will not exactly need to worry about overcompressing it ;)

  3. GeorgeO, Good question. I’ve been Slinging for years with no problems. But the max resolution has been 320×240. Whereas the new Windows Phones will have higher resolutions – that could result in more data usage if Netflix utilizes (versus stretches). And don’t forget all these phones will likely also incorporate WiFi. Lastly, given the relaxing of the iPhone app approval process for data-intensive services it wouldn’t surprise me to see carriers institute larger caps as part of a new service tier and/or overage fees later this year. In fact, I think my (former) MiFi has data overage fees built in when you exceed 5GB.

  4. awesome, want it. Want to go there!

  5. Wouldn’t Apple have a problem with Netflix undercutting it’s current video sales model? I want an iphone app (really an ipad app) too but I don’t see one happening anytime soon.

  6. Yeah, they might not like it. But I don’t think that’d be a basis for denying it. Gets into anti-competitive practices and what not.

  7. For those wondering about bitrates, as far as I can tell from the last blog post on netflix about bitrates, the new VC-1 ABR encodes (which can switch resolution every 2 seconds or so depending on available bandwidth, congestion, etc) are encoded at 375, 500, 1000, and 1500kbps. Assuming they used the lowest bitrate a 22 minute show would use up about 62 Megabytes of bandwidth. If you had a 5GB cap, you’d have to watch 80 such shows in a month to hit the limit.

    If it worked like the sling app on the iPhone you could force it to the lower quality if you wanted.

    I’m not sure the higher resolution screen means they’d have to do higher than 320×240 Dave. All depends what delivers the best quality. At 30fps lots of cable shows are encoded at 352×480 for example and that’s at 3.75Mbps or so (MPEG-2 of course, so maybe half that for a VC-1 encode, but still, much higher than these bitrates) and of course displayed on a 720×480 “large” TV. I assume your bandwidth will have a lot more to do with it.

    BTW Dave, did you see the Hacking Netflix post yesterday:

    http://www.hackingnetflix.com/2010/03/blockbuster-warns-about-bankruptcy-because-of-debt.html

    I hear foreboding music playing…

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