Posts Tagged ‘Blockbuster’

Blockbuster VOD service to land on Motorola handsets sometime in the future

This one feels a lot like a non-announcement, although technically it’s actually a pre-announcement.

Bricks ‘n’ mortar video rental chain Blockbuster is teaming up with Motorola in the U.S. to deliver its video-on-demand service to the handset maker’s future devices. Future being the operative word here as we don’t yet know when or on what phones, although it’s likely that the service will utilize Blockbuster’s recent partnership with Sonic Solutions, owners of the video download store CinemaNow, whose technology is already compatible with a range of mobile devices.

See also: Dan Rayburn: 10 years on Blockbuster still lacks a digital strategy

The fact that both Blockbuster and Motorola aren’t in the best of shape with regards to their respective markets won’t been lost on many, with Gizmodo’s Joanna Stern summing it up nicely: “I think it is romantic when two companies can hold each other in tough times.” Tough times indeed, although I’m skeptical that this partnership will do much for either companies’ bottom line.

Dan Rayburn: 10 years on Blockbuster still lacks a digital strategy

Bricks and mortar video rental chain Blockbuster were a decade ahead of the competition in terms of the move from physical media to digital. That lead, however, “never materialized into any real online video strategy over the next ten years”, writes industry veteran and EVP of, Dan Rayburn.

“Without a doubt, Blockbuster should have been in the position Netflix is in today as they were the first movers in the market.”

Rayburn then goes on to paint Blockbuster as a digital headless chicken.

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Playing catch up, Blockbuster partners with CinemaNow

If you can’t compete then partner

In a bid to play catch up with the likes of Apple, Netflix, Sony and Microsoft, video rental chain Blockbuster has signed a strategic partnership with Sonic Solutions, owners of the video download store CinemaNow. The move is designed to accelerate the company’s move into online video by pooling the two companies’ digital movie libraries, as well as tapping into CinemaNow’s existing ecosystem of supported devices, which includes portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, personal video recorders (PVRs), set-top boxes, mobile phones and Web-connected television sets.

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Video: Blockbuster's set-top box in action

The newly launched HackingBlockbuster has published a short video walk-through of the Blockbuster set-top box in action (see our pevious coverage). One shortcoming mentioned in HackingBlockbuster’s accompanying review is the scalability of the set-top box’s UI for finding and renting movies. Unlike the Netflix approach, which enables titles to be selected via the company’s website, everything is done on the MediaPoint box itself. As a result, HackingBlockbuster suggests that “it will be difficult to find movies when there are 10,000 or more titles available… It would be nice if MediaPoint titles showed up in your Blockbuster Online Queue”.

View the video walk-through below…

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Finally, Blockbuster's Internet set-top box unveiled

We knew it was coming. First, video rental chain Blockbuster purchased the movie download service MovieLink — originally a joint venture between Hollywood studios Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and MGM — and then the company, through a series of leaks to the press, began hinting at related plans to release a set-top box. A few denials later, followed by an outright confirmation, and today the company best known for its bricks and mortar stores finally unveiled the hardware itself.

Here’s what we know about the new Blockbuster Internet set-top box and accompanying On Demand service:

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Catching up with Time Warner Cable, Blockbuster, TiVo, iTunes UK, and Netflix

time warner cable logoAnother day, another set-top box.

This one comes courtesy of Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, who told those at the Stanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York that the company planned to market equipment to its subscribers to make it easier for them to watch Internet video on their televisions.

Naturally, Britt offered few details, other than to say:

“Right now it’s pretty hard to get Internet stuff on your TV,” Britt said [via Reuters]. “We’re actually going to have equipment we make available to subscribers. It’s actually going to be a new wireless cable modem that will allow you to network everything in your house.”

Naturally, Britt didn’t elaborate or say when the set-top box would be available to subscribers.

“Within a relatively short time . . . it’s going to be very easy to get Internet TV on your big screen TV.”

OK. So Time Warner is throwing its hat into the ring with the likes of Apple and the AppleTV, TiVo, Netflix/Roku, Vudu, Microsoft, Sony, the cable companies, and seemingly hundreds more. As long as we’re watching the vendor sports between these players, we might as well throw Time Warner’s set-top box scheme into the mix.

Catching Up

After the break, a few stories of interest from the just-concluding week.

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Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Hollywood Video-On-Demand joint venture

“We’re exploring our options, so it’s not surprising there are rumors out there”, says a Blockbuster spokeswoman.

Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Viacom-led Video-On-Demand JVThe latest rumor, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, is that the company best known for its ‘bricks and mortar’ video rental business wants to join the recently announced Hollywood joint venture, led by Viacom, to create a new premium TV channel and Video-On-Demand (VOD) service. The other existing partners are Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate.

In return for investing, Blockbuster would get digital rights to the new channel’s programming, “people familiar with the situation” told the WSJ.

Blockbuster is an obvious possible partner. It used to be owned by Viacom, whose executives know its business well. Blockbuster also has been casting its net wide for new partners as it attempts to spruce up its video-rental business model with new digital ventures. Last year, it acquired Internet movie provider Movielink to offer video-download services to customers, and it has focused on forging exclusive content deals for its various services.

Ironically, the Viacom-led joint venture is already being compared negatively to the original Movielink service, which started life in 2002 as a joint venture between Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and MGM, but failed to resonate with users. Last August Movielink was acquired by Blockbuster.

Let's hope Sony gets it right this time: may launch movie/TV download service for PlayStation

sony ps3Word that Sony may be again launching a movie and TV download service was met today with interest and a bit of much-deserved scoffing.

It’s not like Sony hasn’t tried this before. Remember Movielink? Thought so. (It was sold to Blockbuster, by the way.) Remember Sony Connect? It shut down in March.

Heck, since the monumental success of the Walkman ages ago — in an analog world far, far away — Sony has pretty much failed at every digital offering, minus the early PlayStations and some home theater equipment. The whole digital music thing passed Sony by as Apple took over the Walkman mantle with the iPod, iTunes, and the rest of its digital lifestyle ecosystem.

The Los Angeles Times today reported that Sony is again in talks with Hollywood muckety-mucks regarding a download service that would beam movies and television shows from the Internet to the PlayStation 3.

But because said muckety-mucks are hush-hush over the negotiations, not much else is known — no pricing or if the movies and TV shows are for rent or purchase. One tantalizing tidbit, however, is being floated about.

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Blockbuster to launch set-top box?

AppleTV, Netflix on LG, Tivo, XBox 360, Vudu and now Blockbuster? …the list goes on.

The latest company thought to be readying its own Internet TV set-top box plans is Blockbuster, according to Hollywood Reporter. The new “set-top device for streaming films directly to TV sets” could be announced as early as this month, and would utilize the company’s recent acquisition of online movie service Movielink, giving users access to over 3,000 film titles from major Hollywood studios Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and MGM.

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