US streaming service with 25 million customers confirms UK and Ireland expansion.

Leading streaming service Netflix has confirmed that it will launch in the UK and Ireland in early 2012, in a move widely anticipated by the industry.

Details on pricing, content, supported devices and exact launch dates are yet to be announced, though a number of UK distributors are believed to be tying up deals with the service.

The company has been streaming in the US since 2007, adding Canada in 2010 and 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in September 2011. An entry in Spain is also anticipated, with chief executive Reed Hastings earmarking international expansion as a key driver in the coming years.

Netflix already has a subscriber base of 25 million, making it the leading player in online subscription services. In recent months local UK and European streaming services such as LoveFilm have been busy expanding their offerings.

In the US, at a fee of $7.99 a month, members can instantly watch films and TV episodes streamed over the Internet to PCs, Macs and TVs. Devices streaming from Netflix include Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Nintendo’s Wii and Sony’s PS3 consoles; some Blu-ray disc players, Internet-connected TVs, home theatre systems, digital video recorders and Internet video players; Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Apple TV and Google TV.