Blockbuster Competes with Netflix, Partners with Samsung

Franz Bicar

July 28, 2009

Samsung-Blockbuster Netflix is will have its own form of competition from Blockbuster. For those of you who don’t know, Blockbuster is a chain of DVD, Blu-ray, and video game rental stores that is also branching out to streaming movies over a high-speed Internet connection straight to your living room through their ONDemand service. Yeah, it’s similar to services offered by Netflix, but Blockbuster is one step ahead with a new alliance announced with Samsung.

Blockbuster’s ONDemand service will be available through Samsung HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater systems. As the world’s largest supplier of flat-panel TVs, Samsung could help promote Blockbuster to the masses. Blockbuster ONDemand movies typically cost between $1.99 and 3.99 for a 24-hour rental period, but the service also offers 25 rentals for a flat fee of $99.

What is significant with this deal is that their agreement placed Blockbuster in the frontlines. This means that the movie rental company will be given the preferential position on Samsung’s Blu-ray players. This is a bit confusing since Netflix is already available from Samsung. So, given the news, we can assume that the most obvious and easily accessible option on Samsung devices will be Blockbuster, not Netflix.

Not only that, Blockbuster also announced its own set-top box, the MediaPoint player in November 2008 to compete directly with Netflix’s Roku device. In January, Blockbuster partnered with Sonic Systems to make digital content available on a wider range of electronic devices. Then in March, Blockbuster ONDemand followed Netflix onto Tivo devices.

Owners of Samsung HDTV series 7000 and above, and Samsung LCD or HDTV series 650 and up, will be able to download a Blockbuster ONDemand widget this fall while for those who already own a Samsung device ( select 2009 Blu-ray players, though the announcement does not specify which devices will receive the upgrade ), can get Blockbuster ONDemand through a firmware upgrade later this year.


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