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Netflix launches all 13 episodes of 'House of Cards'

The company's second original series is now out with all of its episodes available for streaming.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Netflix users who want to tune int o the new "House of Cards" series can watch all 13 episodes as of today.

Based on a BBC miniseries, "House of Cards" is a drama that takes place in the political underbelly of Washington, D.C., with all the elements designed to lure viewers -- sex, greed, and corruption. The series stars Kevin Spacey as a Washington congressmen with Robin Wright as his wife. They will "stop at nothing to conquer everything," according to the show's description.

Co-produced by Spacey and Oscar-nominated director David Fincher, the show found a place on Netflix after the company reportedly outbid HBO and other networks.

Why release all episodes in one shot? The company is apparentlytrying to disrupt the status quo in how TV strings viewers along.

"House of Cards" is Netflix's second attempt at an original series following "Lilyhammer," which premiered last February. And there's more to come.

The fourth season of "Arrested Development" will stream on Netflix in May, with all 14 episodes available on the same day. A supernatural thriller named "Hemlock Grove" will debut in April, followed later in the year by a series from "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan called "Orange is the New Black" and by the second season of "Lilyhammer."

And Netflix is aiming to fill its streaming airwaves with even more original shows.

In an interview this week with GQ, Netflix's chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said he hopes to make at least five new series a year. His dream would be an original show created by Warren Beatty. He's also "warming up" Jodie Foster, who directed an episode of "Orange is the New Black," to develop a series.

To attract Hollywood producers, Sarandos promises them a large audience and real money but without the usual network hassles, such as meddling executives, pilot episodes, and no full-season commitments.

Of course, Netflix itself is paying real money to bring in these original shows, and the profit has to be worth the investment.

That means Netflix needs to promote them as a way to convince non-subscribers to sign up, just as HBO, Showtime, and other cable networks promote their shows.

Will the strategy work? It's a bold move on Netflix's part. But if it pays off, the company could achieve Sarandos' goal "to become HBO faster than HBO can become us."