FT’s report comes about a month after La Nacion published similar information. Meanwhile, La Nacion’s article came several months after Uberbin.net said in December that Netflix would likely be coming to the region this year. Finally, Seeking Alpha reported last week that Netflix plans to launch in South America.
I spoke with a Netflix spokesman last month and he declined to comment on the company’s plans. So far, Netflix has only operated in countries where the rule of law limits pirated downloads and the use of illegal video streaming sites such as those common in Latin America.
So-called “pirate” video services are extremely popular in Argentina. The online streaming service Cuevana is a perfect example. Cuevana, created by three college-aged Argentines, has become a tremendous success. Cuevana claims to have around 450,000 registered users.
Cuevana offers an exceptionally good service and it does so for free. Its questionable legality doesn’t seem to deter Argentines from using it and it’s legitimate to ask how Netflix could ever compete with such a free service.
But in the U.S., at least, Netflix offers something that Cuevana and other services do not. Netflix provides high quality HD streaming directly to your TV. If Netflix can offer such a service in Argentina, it will likely have a good chance of being a success.
However, for that to happen, Argentina’s comparatively slow bandwidth speeds will first have to improve dramatically. High quality streaming requires a fast Internet connection.
Happily, higher download speeds may be coming our way soon. Cablevisión has already confirmed that it plans to offer a super-fast Internet service in the first half of 2011. The company plans to launch the so-called DOCSIS 3.0 modem technology, giving customers download speeds that are around 10x faster than current rates.
That would let online addicts and heavy downloaders obtain speeds of up to 30 Megabits or even faster this year, easily enough to stream HD movies and TV shows directly to household TV sets, or to iPhones and iPads, etc.