You are aware that you can build a decent multimedia system for about 400$US, right?
Not everyone has 400$ to spare.
Syaing "I've already got [whatever platform], how do I make it do what I want?" is often not a helpful approach."
Sure. But saying "Swap to Windows" isn't exactly any more helpful, is it? I'm not going to shell out for a Windows license and I'm not going to install it illegaly. If I can't play netflix on the operating system of my choice, they're not having my business, simple as that. Besides, at the price I would pay for a netflix movie, I'll get the DVD instead; sometimes at a car boot sale, sometimes at the thrift shop, sometimes at poundland, and I even pay full price, at times. It might score slightly lower on the "instant gratification" scale, but at least I'm watching the films on my own terms.
2. Some idiots will use MS-only tech ANYWAY, breaking support for anything but the Windows platform and alienating a substantial user base.
3. If the spec is open (looking at dot net), some open source group will produce their own version to permit interoperability with other platforms.
Wasn't it netflix that required Silverlight to be installed?
4. However, this doesn't guarantee that code written for Windows-based products will actually work out of the box on the other platforms.
An example of this once again is dotnet: Even with the whole CLR available on Linux, some idiot will tie their source code into a proprietary Windows API, e.g. to have SharePoint interoperability.
6. In some cases, an MS spec will end up sufficiently well-documented that it becomes the de-facto norm across platforms. The
Anyway, I'm not exactly looking forward to the implications.
<CanHasDIY> Do I look like a cat to you, boy?
Your friend may have to get with the times, because let's face it: the days that physical media were a requirement for distribution are over. It's so much more convenient for people not to have to leave the comfort of their own home when they want to watch a movie. It's for a reason that rental places have now started mailing out the media and accepting them back by mail: It's far more convenient than having to go to a DVD store.
I don't rent movies, but I do buy them on DVD. However, I'm cheap; I rarely ever pay full price for them. For the most of it, I either get them refurbished or from the thrift shop. Very sorry but I'm no longer willing to sponsor the thugs that call themselves "the movie industry". Also, I still like having the physical item, which allows me to watch them at my convenience (rather than being forced to watch them within 24 hours from paying), in reasonable full-screen quality. To me, there's still some added value to physical media. If your friend wants to remain in business, he'll have to either switch business model to media-less distribution, or provide significant added value that downloadable movies cannot offer.
In the end, it's not about watching moving images but about entertainment. If your friend provides a one-stop no-hassle solution for that, he might draw people to his shop. In addition to DVD, he might consider selling various snacks and beverages. For rom-coms, perhaps he might provide candles, essential oils or whatever else sets the mood. Perhaps it's worth considering making a deal with a local restaurant and provide dinner vouchers at reduced price.
Now the above isn't new. The media business has been doing many of the above already for a good number of years. If your friend insists focusing on selling or renting out physical media, he'll have a very, very tough time ahead.