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Netflix, Nintendo Get Cozier

Netflix now offers a channel on the Nintendo Wii's menu, shoring up a key service amid increased competition.
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REDMOND, Wash. (TheStreet) -- Tired of taking out your Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report disc to play New Super Mario Brothers? Fret no longer, Nintendo (NTDOY.PK) Wii owners, the disc is out of lives.

Nintendo of America announced this morning that the red disc that Wii-bound Netflix subscribers received as part of their $8.99-and-up subscription earlier this year is being replaced with a download from the Wii Shop Channel that makes Netflix a channel choice on the Wii Menu. While a minor inconvenience for disc-switching Wii owners, the Netflix disc's demotion means Wii Netflix subscribers will finally have similar access to their counterparts who watch Netflix on the

Microsoft

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Xbox and

Sony

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PlayStation 3.

Though Netflix subscribers on the Wii still won't have access to Netflix's 720p streaming content because of the console's technical limitations, they still get an interface superior to that used by Netflix subscribers on other platforms, including entry-level Samsung Blu-ray players. Where those Samsung customers only have access to their streaming queue and can only add new content from their computers or other devices, the Wii interface offers access to the entire streaming library through genre and search while allowing users to alter their queue directly from the console. It's not a massive step for either Netflix or the Wii, but with Netflix competitors like Hulu Plus,

Amazon

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on Demand and

Apple's

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iTunes pushing into other platforms and new options like

Google

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TV arriving with greater frequency, it's a sound way for both Netflix and Nintendo to shore up an already attractive service.

--Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet.com. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, The Boston Phoenix, Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent.