In addition to receiving optical discs via US mail, all Netflix subscribers are permitted, at no extra cost, to stream movies and television programming over the Internet to their PCs. The big advantage to this method is that the content can be viewed almost immediately, but there are major drawbacks.
The collection of movie titles available for streaming is only a fraction of the size of the DVD rental pool. Also, very few new releases can be streamed. Netflix is working to try to improve this situation, but the studios have their own financial interests to protect and will not necessarily be cooperative when it comes to movies. However, television shows are a different matter, and some of these can be streamed soon after broadcast.
Without special equipment, a streamed movie or TV program must be watched on a PC screen. But if you have certain devices, you can watch on your TV screen. Among those devices are the Netflix Player by Roku, some Blu-ray players, TiVo and Xbox 360. You connect these devices to the Internet via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.