July 14, 2008 / 6:38 PM / 12 years ago

Netflix to be carried on Microsoft's Xbox console

Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 game console is displayed in Tokyo April 6, 2006. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A long-rumored tie-up between online movie rental company Netflix Inc and Microsoft Corp to let Netflix subscribers watch streamed movies and TV shows on Xbox 360 game consoles will become a reality this fall, the companies said on Monday.

The service, expected to launch as a software upgrade for the Xbox 360, will be offered at no additional cost to Netflix subscribers who also hold Xbox 360 Live Gold memberships, the companies said at the E3 Media and Business Summit in Los Angeles.

XBox users will be able to access more than 10,000 Netflix titles now available as part of a feature called “Watch Instantly” that Netflix launched in 2007.

Earlier this year, Netflix announced two other partnerships with set top box makers — Roku and LG Electronics Inc — in its quest to bring streamed content from its Web-based catalog to the television.

The $100 Netflix Player by Roku sold out its first shipment within weeks of its launch earlier this year. The LG box is expected to be available in the second half of the year.

Rumors of a partnership with Microsoft have swirled in the blogosphere since last year, when Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings joined Microsoft’s board of directors and Netflix began surveying subscribers about their interest in accessing movies through an Xbox.

Netflix has more than 8.2 million subscribers. Microsoft has sold more than 10 million Xbox consoles and offers limited movie rental through its Xbox Live subscription service.

It was not immediately clear on Monday how many Netflix subscribers own Xbox 360s and have Xbox Live Gold memberships.

Shares of Netflix were up 90 cents, or 3.3 percent, at $28.11 in afternoon Nasdaq trade.

Reporting by Gina Keating; editing by John Wallace

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