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Netflix launches globally

Netflix has launched its service globally, bringing its Internet TV network to more than 130 countries in the world

Netflix has launched its service globally, bringing its internet TV network to a further 130 countries in the world.

The announcement was made by the firm’s chief executive Reed Hastings at his keynote speech at the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network,” said Hastings. “With this launch, consumers around the world – from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo – will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously – no more waiting.

“With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

Netflix now offers its services to over 190 countries throughout the world, having served 60 before the global launch.

Hastings also confirmed that Netflix would begin offering HDR (high dynamic range) content later this year.

In 2016, the company plans to release 31 new and returning original series, 24 original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series.

While largely available in English in most new countries, Netflix today added Arabic, Korean, as well as simplified and traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

“From today onwards, we will listen and we will learn, gradually adding more languages, more content and more ways for people to engage with Netflix,” said Hastings. “We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”

Netflix will not yet be available in China, though the company continues to explore options for providing the service. It also won’t be available in Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to US government restrictions on American companies.

“Netflix is now truly the first global online video service. This is quite an accolade within a short period of time, but the exclusion of China is notable,” said Paolo Pescatore, director of multi-play and media at CCS Insight. “However, local providers’ around the world should be worried and are now under pressure to step up.

“This also lays down the gauntlet to other web giants who are increasingly looking to strengthen their presence in video on a global scale.

Since Netflix launched its streaming service in 2007, the service has expanded globally, first to Canada, then to Latin America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan to include 60 countries.

Netflix is available on almost any device, including computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and game consoles, and automatically provides the optimal streaming quality based on available bandwidth. Many titles are available in high definition with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound, and some in Ultra HD 4K.