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Teslas will soon be able to stream Netflix and Hulu, Elon Musk says

Soon you might be able to binge-watch your favorite show while in your Tesla — provided your Tesla is parked.

In a tweet on July 27, Tesla founder Elon Musk announced that the ability to stream Netflix and Hulu through the car’s display is on its way: “Ability to stream YouTube & Netflix when car is stopped coming to your Tesla soon! Has an amazingly immersive, cinematic feel due to the comfy seats & surround sound audio,” says Musk.

Ability to stream YouTube & Netflix when car is stopped coming to your Tesla soon! Has an amazingly immersive, cinematic feel due to the comfy seats & surround sound audio.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 27, 2019

At E3 earlier this year Musk teased that the ability to stream YouTube via Tesla’s display was coming, so the fact that Hulu and Netflix will one day be available as well isn’t exactly surprising.

Enabling streaming video on the vehicle’s central display will happen through a software update. Currently, the screens do not support HTML5, which is required for the services to work. Presumably, version 10 of the software for Tesla’s screens will add that ability. As we noted when Musk made that initial YouTube announcement, by enabling YouTube there was no reason why Tesla couldn’t enable Netflix and Hulu (and other video services) as well.

Tesla has long offered games and other “Easter eggs” on its display. During Musk’s E3 announcement he revealed that Fallout Shelter would be coming to the vehicles in addition to YouTube. Cuphead2048, Missile CommandAsteroidsLunar Lander, and Centipede are already available in the vehicles.

Requiring the vehicles to be parked in order to stream video begs the question of when exactly Musk sees the display being used as a video player.

Of course, it makes sense not to allow someone to be streaming Stranger Things while they’re cruising down the freeway, even with autopilot engaged, but are consumers really interested in strapping in for movie time while they’re inside a vehicle? In a follow-up tweet, Musk suggested that streaming on the road might one day be a possibility:

When full self-driving is approved by regulators, we will enable video while moving

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 27, 2019

Until then, it will be interesting to see how the feature is used. Sure, Teslas have “comfy seats” and “surround-sound audio” as Musk suggests in his tweet, but the display is also positioned in such a way that those in the car viewing a movie might not quite get the “immersive cinematic feel” that you’re after — at least not as immersive as simply getting out of the car and watching the video on your home television instead.

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Emily Price
Emily is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. Her book "Productivity Hacks: 500+ Easy Ways to Accomplish More at…
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