During the Apple keynote yesterday, while Apple CEO Tim Cook was busy telling us about the improvements and enhancements to Apple TV, all I could think was ‘if Apple is about to announce a subscription service, the powers that be at Netflix will have simultaneous heart attacks’. With all of the missteps made by Netflix lately I am not sure they would survive something like that. Fortunately for them, that wasn’t in the cards (yet).
What Apple did do was improve their delivery device such that Netflix can now offer 1080p HD video when streamed to the new Apple TV appliances. In a move that can only be described as clever, Netflix has opted to allow users to sign up for Netflix directly through their Apple TV and pay for subscriptions to their service via iTunes. Sure it might mean a little lost revenue by routing customers through Apple, but what they gain in ease of use should pay off for the media streaming company.
These upgrades mean your television and movies can be enjoyed in full HD 1080p quality with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. This addition is good for Apple TV too because the more services that integrate with the device means more value for consumers (and more reason to upgrade for those who already own one).
Nothing has been said about what happens to those with existing Netflix subscriptions. While you can certainly still login and use them from your new Apple TV it isn’t clear whether you can transition your billing to operate through iTunes when it hasn’t in the past.
If you plan on watching a lot of HD content you may need to review your current Internet subscription as well. Apple recommends at least 8Mbps if you want to watch 1080p videos, while 6Mbps is needed for 720p. A standard DSL line with 2.5Mbps is adequate for standard-definition programs.