"Initially, watching movies instantly streamed from Netflix via the PS3 system will be enabled by a free, instant streaming Blu-ray disc," Sony explains, which "leverages Blu-ray's BD-Live technology to access the Internet and activate the Netflix user interface on the PS3 system."
The disc will "Reveal movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly... conveniently organized into a variety of categories based on members' personal preferences, popular genres, new arrivals and members' individual instant Queues."
Rival console Xbox 360 has supported Netflix streaming direct from the dashboard--no disc required--since the 'New Xbox Experience' update of November 2008.
Netflix has previously expressed interest in expanding to all consoles. Several surveys earlier this year gauged interest in a "Netflix Instant Streaming Disc" for the Wii or PlayStation 3. Initial surveys suggested a price of $10, revised to free in later surveys. An April job listing sought an "Engineering Leader" with "deep experience developing and testing media rich applications on current generation gaming consoles."
Reservations are now open for the disc, which Netflix "expects" will become available next month. The service will be available, as Netflix, only in the United States.