Netflix, the online subscription service for movies and television shows, will be expanding to the United Kingdom and Ireland in early 2012. It will offer movies and television titles for instant streaming over the internet to televisions via a range of consumer electronics devices, as well as on Windows and Apple personal computers, tablets and mobile phones. Further details about pricing, content and supported devices will be announced closer to launch.

Netflix has been streaming to subscribers in the United States since 2007, adding Canada in 2010 and 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in September 2011.

Netflix started out renting DVDs by mail but has been migrating to online streaming, which it will use exclusively in its international expansion. The company upset many of its loyal subscribers by announcing that it would rebrand its traditional DVD rental business in a subsidiary called Qwikster, a move that it rapidly revoked in response to customer reaction.

The move to the United Kingdom and Ireland will put Netflix in direct competition with LoveFilm, which has employed a similar business model and strategy, and which was acquired by Amazon in January 2011 for around £200 million. Netflix has a market capitalization of over $6 billion. Amazon has a market cap of over $100 billion.