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Sony presses 'pause' on streaming Netflix Instant Watch movies to Xbox 360*

November 19, 2008 |  2:32 pm
Netflix on Xbox Live

* UPDATED NOV. 26: Some Sony titles have since made their way to the Xbox 360. Click here for an update of this post.


Sony is fine with selling its movies and TV shows through digital means -- just not, apparently, when it involves working with its chief video game rival.

Sony has thrown a minor monkey wrench in the launch of Microsoft's revamped Xbox Live online platform. The rejiggered Xbox Live has, among other new features, the ability to stream about 12,000 movies and shows from Netflix's Instant Watch service to Microsoft's Xbox 360 video game console.

But now it's 12,000 minus "a couple of hundred" titles, Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said. He declined to reveal the studios behind those titles. But an executive with knowledge of the matter confirmed reports that they come from Sony, which makes the PlayStation 3 console, and its subsidiaries. (The executive declined to be named, citing sensitive negotiations between Sony and Netflix.)

"We're very hopeful we will have these titles on the Xbox 360 shortly," said Swasey, who added that it would be a matter of "weeks" rather than months.

Sony issued the following statement:

This issue is not specific to Xbox or any other individual platform.  Sony Pictures is currently in discussions with the relevant parties to resolve certain licensing matters related to the distribution of its motion pictures.  Given the ongoing nature of these discussions, we don't think it is appropriate to comment further at this time.   

Netflix subscribers who can't wait to stream "Superbad," "Drunken Master," "Bad Boys" or "Karate Kid" can still watch them on the Roku Netflix Player, the TiVo digital video recorder and several Blu-ray players made by Samsung and LG, as well as on Macs and PCs. Just not on the Xbox 360.

-- Alex Pham

Photo : Image of the Netflix service on Xbox Live by Microsoft

*UPDATED at 5:35 p.m. with a statement from Sony.