A new war is on for downloadable movies to your television

If you thought the war between HD DVD and Blu-ray was ugly, take a look a the current battle for downloadable Internet movies to your television. Off the top of my head, I can watch download a movie to any of the following devices and then watch it on my television: TiVo via Amazon Unbox, Apple TV and now Netflix.

The Netflix Player by RokuI’ve written previously about how you can watch Netflix’s instant movies on your television by streaming them to a laptop connected to your television. But today that whole process just got easier. Netflix now has a small device, manufactured by a company called Roku, that you can hook up to your television that allows you to directly watch any of their over 10,000 instant selections right on your television. The only requirements are the $99 device and any plan from Netflix that costs $9/month or higher.

Does this make Netflix the new leader? Depends on what you are looking for. The Netflix device will not support high definition movies out-of-the-box although rumor is that this will be coming soon. Amazon Unbox doesn’t have high definition movies either. Apple TV does. But then again, Amazon Unbox and Apple TV movies cost $3.99 (make that $4.99 for Apple TV high definition releases). With Netflix, you get access to all 10,000 instant play movies and television shows for free (well, not really free since you have to have a monthly plan, but it sounds good). But then again good luck finding a current release in the Netflix instant play library. And let’s not forget that in order to watch an Amazon Unbox movie on your television you’ll need an Internet enabled TiVo box.

Clear as mud, right?

My advice? If you’re a noobie, stay clear and let the dust settle. Or be like me and secretly desire an Apple TV but don’t tell anyone!

Note: Speaking of Netflix, I have 4 free one-month trial cards if you are interested. These give you two more weeks than you can get with the basic free trial offer on the Netflix web site. First come, first serve. Just leave a comment on this blog post letting me know you want one. Be sure to provide your email address, which will only be seen by Noobie, in the appropriate field (not the comment field) when leaving your comment. Hurry, they expire June 15, 2008.