You might recall that I bought a Roku player a few months ago to make it easier for me to watch high-quality versions of Netflix's Watch Instantly offerings. My biggest complaint about Roku and Watch Instantly was that the selection was pretty slim -- mostly we've used it to watch old TV shows, and even then I suspect we watch more TV on Watch Instantly has a great selection of low-budget independent features and documentaries, and even some short films, but if you want Hollywood blockbusters you're better off with the DVDs.

Fortunately, the Watch Instantly pickings are starting to improve. Netflix has just partnered with Starz Entertainment to offer more than 1,000 movies that Starz has licensed for its own video-on-demand services. Starz already has deals with Disney and Sony, so these movies include a lot of (relatively) newer Hollywood big-budget films, like Ratatouille, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, No Country for Old Men, and Superbad. These still aren't as recent as the films you can get mailed to you on DVD from Netflix (or rent at your local video store), but it's a significant improvement over the previous Watch Instantly offerings for recent mainstream movies. In addition, Netflix also signed deals last month with the Disney Channel and CBS to add some of their TV shows to the Watch Instantly lineup, like Hannah Montana and CSI. Those aren't movie-related deals, but I got excited because I can now watch the Disney TV show in which a cousin of mine plays an amusingly bad-tempered chef.
categories Features, Cinematical