July 15, 2009
| by Tom LeBlanc
Watch out Netflix, Vudu and Amazon. Blockbuster and Samsung have teamed up to bring Blockbuster’s digital entertainment library to new Samsung HDTVs, home theater systems and Blu-ray players.
The new services will be available in fall of 2009. Blockbuster will also begin selling Samsung Blu-ray players in all its stores and at blockbuster.com.
Through a free firmware upgrade or downloading the Blockbuster OnDemand widget, owners of some existing Samsung products will also gain access to Blockbuster content.
Upgradeable products include: select 2009 Samsung Blu-ray players and home theater systems; Samsung LCD and plasma HDTVs Series 650 and above; Samsung LED HDTVs Series 7000 and above.
Connected TVs are becoming increasingly popular:
- Samsung uses the Yahoo! Widget Engine and recently partnered with TiVo.
- Amazon offers video on demand on Sony Bravia TVs and Panasonic Viera Cast.
- Vudu’s 1,000 title-plus streaming movie service is available on select Vizio TVs.
- Netflix recently partnering with Sony to provide “instant viewing” to BRAVIA Connected HDTVs.
Consumers can also access Netflix streaming on the Microsoft Xbox 360, select LG TVs, the Roku Netflix Player, select LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, select TiVo products, Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) Connected HDTVs and the ZeeVee Zinc Internet Video Browser.
It seems like Blockbuster, at this point, is competing directly with Netflix. From the press release:
The Blockbuster OnDemand service provides comprehensive on-screen search and browsing capabilities, as well as full details, ratings, trailers, and other information about each movie directly on the television, eliminating the need for customers to manage a viewing queue on their PC. Once a customer rents or buys a movie, they simply press play to begin instant viewing. Blockbuster’s adaptive streaming technology ensures quality viewing with immediate and uninterrupted playback.
The viewing queue reference seems to allude to Netflix’s online interface.
This from Blockbuster chairman and CEO Jim Keys seems to play off Netflix’s lack of a brick-and-mortar presence:
“The Blu-ray players BLOCKBUSTER will feature represent the perfect bridge between physical stores and digital delivery by providing streaming digital access to the newest hit movies and high definition Blu-ray product, which is available in our stores and through BLOCKBUSTER By Mail.”