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Netflix to stream natively from HDMI-equipped tablets (updated)

Darren Murph
07.20.11
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You read that correctly -- Netflix streaming is about to get really real on impending Honeycomb tablets. One of the nuggets that makes Lenovo's newly unveiled IdeaPad K1 so special is the internal DRM module that allows it to play nice with a fresh build of the Netflix app. As we saw back at MWC with the LG Revolution, future Android 3.x tablets (with an unspecified hardware inclusion) will not only support native Watch Instantly streaming over mini-HDMI / HDMI, but it'll also enable something totally new: local storage. The fresh build of the app -- which will remain exclusive to Lenovo for "a short while" -- will have a heretofore unseen option that'll let subscribers store flicks locally for offline viewing. We're told by Lenovo that files can be stored on the internal flash as well as on microSD cards, and while we've yet to get a hands-on look at the app, we'll be doing everything we can to change that.

Just to answer the obvious question: no, your existing Honeycomb tablet won't be able to support this goodness through a firmware update. You'll actually need a slate with the requisite hardware within to take advantage, and it's hard to say at this point who will follow Lenovo down the path. We're hoping that the added functionality won't lead to a boost in Netflix's monthly rate, but given the history of the app, we can't say we're too terrified about that possibility. So, how fast will the APK be ripped from the fabric of a K1 and thrown out onto the web? Somewhere between "quickly" and "you've got to be kidding me," we're surmising.

Update: So, it seems something has changed since our D9 meeting. There's no offline viewing support, but the streaming is still here. Too bad, but we're hoping it'll be added (back?) in a future update.

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