Netflix to release set-top box by the end of the year?

We've been hearing about Netflix's plans to deliver movies via the web for quite a while now, and it turns out they might be doing it through a proprietary set-top box before the end of this year. During a panel discussion at an Independent Film & Television Alliance meeting, Netflix's VP of original programming, Eric Besner, reportedly revealed plans for a device that will enable customers to add movies to their queue and download them overnight, presumably to an internal hard drive. An official statement from the movie rental powerhouse to the SEC suggests, among other things, that nothing has actually been decided yet, and that if the box is real, it will only be part of a much larger plan to deliver downloaded content. It looks like we'll have to wait a while for details -- like if download-and-burn will become a reality -- but a report is apparently on the way in early 2007, describing what the company has come up with after investing somewhere between five and ten million dollars in research this year alone. So sit tight and enjoy your new Vongo subscription or wait patiently for Steve Jobs to lock down the iTunes movie store and we'll give you a heads up when we have more info.

[Via Zatz Not Funny]