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Netflix Instant Watch coming to Apple iPad

April 1, 2010 |  1:51 pm

Netflix Logo Netflix's popular Instant Watch feature is coming to the iPad, according to sources close to Apple.

The feature lets Netflix subscribers watch from a library of 17,000 movies and TV shows available on demand via the Internet.

The application is considered key in Apple's vision for its 9.7-inch iPad tablet computer as a multimedia entertainment device, not just an overgrown iPod Touch.

Apple declined to comment.

Netflix would not confirm a deal with Apple. "Today is April Fools Day," said Steve Swasey. "Tomorrow is Good Friday. Let’s see what Saturday brings."

Apple is set to launch the iPad on Saturday. Priced between $499 and $829, depending on memory capacity and wireless features, the device has so far received rave reviews, including one from the Wall Street Journal, which called it a "laptop killer." The New York Times reviewed it as a " "goof proof computer."

For Netflix, the decision to add its Instant Watch application to the iPad is a no-brainer. The company has been busy embedding Instant Watch to a number of consumer electronic devices, from the Xbox 360 video game console and the PlayStation 3 to the Sony Dash and LG's Blu-ray Disc players. 

The strategy has played out well for both sides. Netflix is able to reduce its customer churn and acquire some new ones, while the device makers get a killer app that's free to use, at least for the 12.3 million paying subscribers of the mail-order DVD rental service. (Only those who pay for Netflix service can access Instant Watch, which streams the video via the Internet.)

About half of Netflix subscribers have accessed Instant Watch at least once in the quarter ended Dec. 31, according to Netflix's quarterly financial report.

News of its service coming to the iPad pumped up the company's shares by $1.26, or 1.7%, to $75 Thursday.

-- Alex Pham 

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