Speaking at Re/code’s technology conference on Thursday, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings delivered some disappointing news to the company’s biggest fans. The company, which started out delivering DVDs in the mail and helped usher in the era of on-demand video streaming, won’t be offering live sports or a set-top box of its own anytime soon.
When it comes to releasing a streaming device, there’s just no reason for Netflix to devote the time and resources necessary to create its first piece of hardware. You can find a Netflix app on pretty much any set-top box available today, in addition to almost any connected gadget, and any company hoping to launch a new streaming device will need to bring Netflix on board if it hopes to even stand a chance against the competition. “We’re working on over 1,000 devices now,” Hastings notes. “There’s no value-add for us to do a device.”
Adding the ability to stream live sports could be a huge get for Netflix. It’s one area where streaming services still can’t compete with traditional cable providers, and it seems unlikely we’ll see that change any time soon. According to CNET, Hastings explained his company doesn’t have the “time, energy or money” to buy its way into live sports broadcasting. Still, he’s not ruling out the possibility of live TV entirely. “Live in general isn’t a big area for us,” he said. “But it’s just beginning.”
During the Q&A session Hastings also touched on his company’s ongoing dispute with Comcast and the decision to pay the cable provider directly to ensure faster speeds. He noted that at the time Netflix “had to take a deal,” but went on to add that the industry in general is starting down a slippery slope. “If they charge the Internet a little bit now, as they grow, they’re going to charge more and more and more,” he said. “It’s getting ahead of that principle.”
Netflix clearly has its hands full at the moment, and it seems the company won’t be pushing out with a piece of hardware or live sports any time soon. Still, as long as we get another season of House of Cards you won’t hear any complaints from us.