I've been a member of Netflix for about a year now, because I was previously guilty of forgetting to return movies on time and spending a fortune in late fees. My family watches movies at night a couple times a week in the summer months, and then in the winter we tend to watch a little more. We work around this by adjusting the membership to a lower cost, less-movies-per-month plan for the summer and can increase it for the winter months when we watch more.
Recently, my son noticed that the Netflix logo appeared on his Xbox 360, when he was just browsing through his “dashboard.” He knows way more about the Xbox than I ever will, but when he showed me the Netflix logo I investigated it and sure enough – you can watch the “instant queue” movies from your Netflix account on your television, streaming through the Xbox 360 Live.
We currently have a free membership to the Xbox 360 Live. There are a number of options for continuing the membership after our membership runs out, from $7.99 per month on a month-to-month plan, to $19.99 for a 3 month plan, to $49.99 for a full year. Doing an internet search online showed me a few ways to get redemption codes for Xbox live, too. If you're not aware, the Xbox Live community allows you to download game content, and play multi-player games with real people in real time. Turns out many of the games that you would buy in the stores are available for download, at a reduced price over purchasing the physical game – but eventually you would run out of hard drive space on your Xbox to store downloaded games and content.
Connecting the Netflix account to our Xbox 360 wasn't as easy as I expected. The Xbox gives you a special code to enter into your Netflix account, but we ended up having to restart the Xbox about three times and enter three different codes before it was accepted and “connected.”
Once the connection was established, it was just a matter of scrolling through the “instant queue” using the Xbox 360 controller and the television screen. We found a movie we wanted to watch, selected it, and it streamed directly to the TV.
Netflix has a variety of devices which can be used to watch movies from the “watch instantly” collection (which by the way, doesn't include every movie in Netflix's database) but most of them are rather expensive. If I didn't already have an Xbox 360, I certainly wouldn't have run out to buy one just to stream movies from Netflix, in the same way that I wouldn't run out to buy any of the other instant devices just for that purpose. But, for anyone who already has both the Xbox 360 and a Netflix account – you might consider connecting them to enjoy your Netflix movies via the television instead of the computer screen.