A new feather in the Sony PS3's cap is its ability to stream instantly thousands of movies and TV episodes from Netflix. From next month, Netflix members in the U.S. will have access to the Netflix library via their PS3s at no extra cost. Netflix says the PS3 is currently sitting in around 9 million U.S. homes while Netflix has notched up an impressive 11.1 million U.S. subscribers.

If you weren’t convinced that Sony had positioned the PS3 as much more than a games console, this is further proof. The new partnership adds to the PS3’s already impressive capabilities list of being a high-definition games console, Blu-ray movie player, music player, photo viewer, Internet access device, as well as having the ability to tap into the PlayStation Network portal for exclusive games, movies and TV shows.

For a fairly reasonable US$8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed to their TVs and computers via Netflix-ready devices such as the PS3 system and/or receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes.

"The PlayStation 3 system has always been about more than just gaming, and it will soon be the only platform in the industry to offer consumers such a variety of convenient options for enjoying movies and TV shows," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO, SCEA. "Whether you want to watch content on Blu-ray disc and DVD, download it from the PlayStation Network's video delivery service, or stream videos instantly from Netflix, the PS3 system is the only solution that offers it all."

"As instantly watching movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix becomes an increasingly popular way to enjoy the Netflix service, our goal is to rapidly expand the devices that stream to our members," said Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings. "As a leading game console and Blu-ray disc player, bringing Netflix to the PS3 system is a real win for both Netflix members and PS3 system-owners."

How do you get it?

Strangely, rather than downloading an app from the PlayStation Network (maybe that’s coming later) subscribers will need to wait til a free Blu-ray disc arrives with the Netflix app embedded on it before than can start instant streaming.

Netflix members play the disc on their PS3 systems which reveals movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly. These titles are organized into a variety of categories based on members' personal preferences, popular genres, new arrivals and members' individual instant Queues. Members can use the Netflix website or navigate directly on their PS3s to add movies and TV shows to their Queues. The PS3's wireless controller becomes the movie's remote control.

Netflix members and PS3 owners can reserve a free instant streaming disc for their PS3 systems online.