There isn’t any word on when/if it will be deployed but there is some very interesting information about the direction that Netflix is heading with their Watch Now feature. Of particular interest to several people I know at about 7min into the presentation they show a shared movie viewing interface that allows you to sync up movie viewing with people that are, presumably, on your Netflix Friends list. There is also a built in IM client for chat.
A few of the other things that they show off are Firefox and Macintosh compatibility as well as support for Chapters and Subtitles which are all extremely welcome additions.
Something else that is not stated, but I think is at least somewhat implicit is that since the new player is built on Microsoft’s Silverlight (formerly WPF/e) technology it should be relatively easy to create a Media Center plug-in that can run the player. I’m hoping that is part of their design plans but I’m not quite holding my breath just yet.
All that said I have to say that I actually think that the existing implementation is an excellent start. There have been a couple of occasions when I was between movie shipments and wanted to watch something that I was able to use Watch Now to see a few things, including all of Red Dwarf Series 2 and 3. While it is not nearly as comfortable to watch things at my desk as it is from my couch, the convenience was still nice.