Nintendo 3DS owners across the US and Canada can now download a free Netflix app from the Nintendo eShop. It allows Netflix members with unlimited streaming plans to instantly watch TV episodes and movies on their Nintendo 3DS portable system. To install it, or any other content from the Nintendo eShop, Nintendo 3DS users must first install the free system update that became available on June 6, 2011.

The Netflix app displays movies and TV episodes in 2D on the system's upper screen. Nintendo does promise, however, that users will soon have access to an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses.

Netflix on the Nintendo 3DS requires a broadband Internet connection and a Netflix streaming membership starting at $8 a month. That might look like quite a lot to pay for this feature, but you have to remember that Netflix members with unlimited streaming plans can instantly watch on other devices, not just the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii console. Nintendo took the opportunity to reveal that more than 1.5 million Netflix members instantly watch TV shows or movies via the Wii on an average day.

It's also worth noting that the Nintendo 3DS' parental control settings can be used to manage access to the Netflix app. Parents who wish to manage the specific content their kids watch will be happy to know that the parental control settings associated with their Netflix account are applied to the streaming content viewable on the Nintendo 3DS.

"The new Netflix application looks great, plays great and is a fantastic consumer experience," Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said in a statement. "It gives Nintendo 3DS owners access to an amazing wealth of movies and TV shows, which they can watch conveniently from thousands of free Wi-Fi access points across the country. Nintendo 3DS truly offers something for everyone."

"Nintendo is a terrific partner with Netflix," Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, said in a statement. "We're excited to extend the partnership to include streaming on Nintendo 3DS."