After years of rumors and speculation (and a little fantasizing of my own) about a Netflix set-top box, the company has finally announced its intentions.

The New York Times is reporting that Netflix will license its service to hardware manufacturers rather than build its own standalone box.  Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said, ““We want to be integrated on every Internet-connected device, game system, high-definition DVD player and dedicated Internet set-top box… Eventually, as TVs have wireless connectivity built into them, we’ll integrate right into the television.”

The service will likely be similar to the existing streaming service the Netflix offers customers. Currently, NF customers can stream a library of around 6,000 movies to their PC.

I would buy a Netflix-enabled device in a heartbeat. Although I have a couple of HD-DVD players at home, I really want to have my HD content delivered over IP, not on a proprietary disc.

It will be interesting to see how VUDU responds to this announcement. As I mentioned in my initial review of the VUDU service, the only thing holding it back is the pricing structure of the content. The hardware, the interface and the picture quality (especially the HD stuff) are all excellent.

Whichever company or, hopefully, *companies* step up and offer an affordable, all-you-can-eat subscription model will get my business.

I’ll be attending LG’s press event at CES next week. They are expected to reveal more details about which of their products will have Netflix support built in. The NYT article speculates that it could be LG’s dual-mode HD DVD/Blu-ray DVD player.

Do you use Netflix or Blockbuster Online to get your movies? Would you switch to a streaming service if the prices were similar?