The long-anticipated set-top box from Netflix is headed toward your living room this summer, according to several major news providers including the Associated Press, The New York Times, and Reuters. The good news is that unlike the optical supremacy battle going on between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, the capability to tap into Netflix's movies-on-demand service could become a standard option on many upcoming consumer-level DVD players and set-top boxes as an added feature--not the sole purpose. Boxes equipped with the Netflix service (including the purported next revision of LG's flagship BH series of dual HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players) will be able to tap into Netflix's on-demand service that streams movies without having to wait for the discs to arrive in the mail.
There's no word on price, exact release date, or the inclusion of an a la carte rental system similar to Vudu or the one that's rumored to be coming to iTunes and Apple TV later this month, but based on Netflix's existing model, it looks like the company is trying to help take a step out of getting on-demand movies on the TV from the PC for people who don't want to shell out for a media extender, or other streaming device.
In addition to LG, Netflix is reportedly making deals with other hardware manufacturers to get the streaming service bundled in upcoming players and game consoles, although with Microsoft already having its own integrated movie rental marketplace, the chances of adding a competing product on the XBOX 360 are slim.