Netflix Wii discs on the way

Online movie rental company now shipping discs to let subscribers watch streaming video through Nintendo's console.

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The Wii may not support DVD playback, but that's no longer going to keep Nintendo's console from facilitating a family movie night. Movie rental service Netflix this week began sending out discs that will allow its subscribers to watch streaming movies on the system.

Wii owners will finally be able to watch Howard the Duck any time they want!
Wii owners will finally be able to watch Howard the Duck any time they want!

When the discs arrive, users will be able to peruse the Netflix catalog of streaming films, as well as examine their own queues. Other functionality included in the Wii service will be the ability to rate video selections, as well as fast-forward, rewind, and pause them as on other streaming platforms. Netflix subscriptions begin at $9 a month, and Nintendo won't be adding its own charges for use of the service.

Nintendo is the last of the console makers to welcome Netflix to its system. Microsoft first introduced the company's streaming video rentals to its Xbox Live service in late 2008, with Sony adding it to the PlayStation Network roughly a year later.

While analysts considered Netflix a meaningful draw for consumers on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the service's appeal on the Wii is unclear. When the Wii streaming deal was first announced, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter estimated that fewer than 20 percent of Wiis were connected to the Internet, compared to 75 percent of Xbox 360s and 80 percent of PS3s.

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