Netflix 'Watch Instantly' for Mac Goes Public Beta

Netflix has opened the doors for Mac users who want to try their "Watch Instantly" feature -- you can now sign up to be part of a public beta program to test the service before its general roll-out.

Netflix announced in late October that it had begun the rollout of its long-awaited media player for the Macintosh. The player enables Netflix subscribers to "watch instantly" thousands of the movie and television show titles Netflix also offers for home delivery on DVD as part of its subscription-based service.

Netflix's "Watch Instantly" capability is dependent on Microsoft Silverlight, Microsoft's multimedia delivery system that's positioned as a competitor to Adobe Flash. Mac users who visit the opt-in link above are required to install the latest version of Silverlight before they can proceed.

The videos are copy-protected via Silverlight's built-in digital rights management (DRM) technology, and Netflix claims there are presently about 12,000 videos that can be viewed using the service.

Unlike Apple's iTunes Store, which enables users to download videos and transfer them to an iPhone or iPod or view them on a television using Apple TV, Netflix's service streams content to a Mac only -- there's no way to transfer the video to another device.

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