The distribution deal Netflix (NFLX-$55.32) signed with Sony is important because it not only ends the lock Microsoft had on the U.S. movie-rental service provider in the game console market — the Xbox 360 had previously been the exclusive videogame brand (the expiring agreement was recently extended to spring 2010 at Microsoft’s option) — but also because it broadens the number of TV sets already enabled to accept streaming Internet content. And, with about nine million PS3 users, Sony offers fertile ground from which Netflix can grow its own subscriber base.
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