A few Internet TV-related stories have been doing the rounds over the last few days that I’ve not yet had a chance to comment on. Here’s a quick catch-up.
BlackBerry to launch video download service
Research In Motion is close to launching a a full-episode television service for the company’s line of BlackBerry smartphones. An official announcement could come as early as next week at CTIA, reports NewTeeVee. Interesting tidbits include:
- It will be an unlimited monthly subscription service for a fee
- Once a user orders a program, the content will be downloaded in the background over Wi-Fi
- Multiple broadcast and cable networks have licensed content for the service
As NTV notes, utilizing WiFi rather than 3G to deliver episodes to the phone enables RIM to bypass carriers, while at the same avoiding the inconvenience of side-loading content via a PC (iTunes style). Obviously it would be preferable to offer both options – WiFi and 3G – but that would likely mean sharing revenue, something that RIM, like Apple, is keen to avoid. As it stands, any direct paid-for content offering from RIM won’t sit well with carriers who still insist on owning the customer.
Blockbuster downloads coming to TiVo
Blockbuster’s On Demand movie rental service is coming to TiVo in the second half of this year, the two companies have announced. As part of the deal, TiVo set-top boxes will be sold at Blockbuster stores and via the video rental chain’s own website. This despite the fact that TiVo is fast becoming video download store agnostic, with Blockbuster joining existing services, Netflix, Jaman, Amazon and CinemaNow. The TiVo partnership is the latest evidence of Blockbuster playing catch-up in its move to expand into digital, following the lackluster launch of its own set-top box, and the more promising recent announcement that it is partnering with Sonic Solutions to reach portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, personal video recorders (PVRs), set-top boxes, mobile phones and Web-connected television sets.
Netflix on PS3?
Despite having a close and successful relationship with Microsoft’s XBox 360, it looks like Netflix is still exploring customer demand to bring its ‘Watch Instantly’ streaming service to Sony’s PS3 games console. A recent customer survey talks up the possibility of purchasing a $9.99 Netflix disc for the PS3 to unlock access to ‘Watch Instantly’, presuming that you’re an existing subscriber of course. Were this to ever come to market it’s unclear if Netflix would need Sony’s approval – although I suspect they would – and it would also mean an end to XBox 360 exclusivity, something that Microsoft wouldn’t be too keen on. A lot of ifs and buts then, so we’ll see.