Netflix "Watch Instantly" Hits The Xbox 360

It's been a long wait, but today the Xbox 360 finally gets access to Netflix's Watch Instantly library courtesy of the "New Xbox Experience" update. To partake in the streaming video festivities you'll need a Netflix account (the 1 disc unlimited $8.99 plan at the minimum), and an Xbox Live Gold membership. Once you've updated your console, you can set up the console with your Netflix account by selecting the Netflix icon in the Video Marketplace. Simply download a small application to your console, confirm the authorization code you receive on the console via the Netflix website, and you've got full access to your Watch Instantly queue.

The entire process is wonderfully simple, and shows how easily Netflix can deploy their software on other devices. The Netflix living room invasion started with the $100 Roku box, a device which currently serves only to stream Netflix content, and can now also be found on a few Blu-ray players as well. Down the line, you can expect to see it on the Playstation 3, and perhaps even embedded within televisions and mobile devices.

It's ironic that Netflix, a company that has built itself from the ground up by revolutionizing the way we rent films via DVD, sees a future in streaming media. The HD-DVD and Bluray war was largely ignored by most consumers (except for us hardcore film-geek types), and Sony seems to be finding their Bluray victory empty given that format's limp sales throughout the year. Netflix is aiming to take on HD streaming as well with 300 initial HD titles available to 360 owners today, and HD availability for all Netflix set-top devices by the end of the month.

If you're not yet an Xbox 360 owner, now is certainly the time to jump in. I'm already using my PC to watch Netflix content on my TV, but I'm definitely going to check out HD content via my 360 as well. Aside from the hilariously unsubtle lack of Sony Pictures titles, the 360 does an excellent job streaming Netflix content (not that the task is all that difficult), and I predict it will lead to a widespread procrastination epidemic across America.

Discuss: Do you plan to use your Xbox 360 for Netflix streaming, or is this enough of a feature to convince you to get one? What titles are you looking forward to watching the most?