Blockbuster On-Demand

Blockbuster has yet another way to get their movies into your home.  And this one looks like it could make a bit of a splash. Blockbuster has been losing the battle with Netflix, with hundreds of stores shutting down recently. Their subscription service let them compete head-to-head, and consumers liked having movies delivered to their home.

However, when Netflix unveiled their Roku box that let consumers stream to a box that could be viewed on their TVs, Blockbuster only had Movielink.  Movielink is a great download service, but it confined the movies to a computer - a PC at that - it still is not Mac-compatible.

Blockbuster's brand new on-demand service will rely the MediaPointTM digital media player, on a box made by 2Wire Inc., and it will be similar to the storage device supplied by Vudu.

See how much this pay-per-view box will set you back.

2wire To get started, Blockbuster will be selling their box for $99, but that will include 25 on-demand rentals. After that, rentals will run at least $1.99 each. So, bottom line, about $50 bucks.

There's something to be said for this type of service. Stuck at home on a cold, rainy weekend, I wanted to watch something, but nothing on DirecTV pay-per-view appealed to me, my computer screen is too small and the sound is too crappy for an online option, and I had no interest in heading to the video store. Unlike Netflix, this doesn't require a monthly fee. Personally, I don't rent enough to warrant a monthly subscription, so this system is very appealing to me. 

Also unlike Netflix, Blockbuster is promising their on-demand service will provide more recent titles than Netflix, although it will start with only 2,000 titles available. They're also promising better quality and quantity than the Netflix streams. It uses "progressive playback" instead of streaming, so the quality remains DVD-quality no matter what happens to your Internet speed.

Is this what it's going to take for Blockbuster to make a stand against the unstoppable Netflix machine? —Leslie Shapiro

USA Today

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