Netflix releases video streaming app for iPhone

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Netflix released an app August 26 to allow subscribers to view movies and TV shows from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

The app is the latest example of Netflix expanding its reach beyond the traditional mailbox. The DVD rental company also provides streaming on televisions using the XBox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii, as well as on the iPad.

“Netflix has the big goal of being ubiquitous on any screen you want to watch movies or TV episodes on,” said Steve Swasey, VP of corporate communications.

To stream video, a consumer's iPhone or iPod Touch must have a WiFi or 3G signal. The selection of movies and TV shows is identical to what Netflix offers through other streaming options, which are more limited than its through-the-mail offerings.

However, Netflix's streaming catalog is growing. In the past two months, Netflix announced distribution deals with Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Relativity Media.

Swasey said Netflix is doing little to market the app, other than issuing a news release and mentioning it on the company's blog. He said consumers have been anticipating the app's release since CEO Reed Hastings announced plans for it at Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference in June.

“This is one of those things you don't need to ostensibly market,” Swasey said. “When you have a ubiquitous name like Netflix and you have a ubiquitous name like Apple, and they come together, it's pretty well known.”

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