Netflix, master of DVD rentals, will expand streaming video business

What does Netflix Inc. (NFLX), the company that mastered home delivery of DVDs, have next up its corporate sleeve? Chief Executive Reed Hastings was coy during the company's third-quarter earnings conference call Thursday. But he did make it clear that Netflix would start streaming video on another device in addition to Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Xbox gaming console, a service that began a year ago.

Hastings said Netflix intends to partner with a consumer-electronics firm later this year that has a "material installed base," i.e., a computing system already in use. To some that may mean a link-up using Sony Corp.'s (SNE) PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Ltd.'s (NTDOY) Wii. UBS Analyst Brian Fitzgerald said as much in a note to investors, telling them to expect a fourth-quarter launch of another gaming console.