Blockbuster introduces set-top box
Blockbuster is now in the digital delivery market. A new set-top box is now being sold by Blockbuster which connects directly to your TV to download movies to view.
The MediaPoint digital media player is free with the pre-purchase of $99 worth of rental credits. This is approximately 25 movies. Additional rentals start at $1.99 each.
Blockbuster’s video-on-demand model is similar to Apple TV or VUDU. You don’t own the content you download, it is rented and you have 24 hours to watch the movie from the time you begin the film. (iTunes and VUDU both offer buy-to-own content as well.) In my opinion I would rather have unlimited number of movies through a subscription-based service. However I can see how some people would want to rent one at a time if they don’t watch more than ten movies a month.
The MediaPoint is manufactured by a company called 2Wire who is best known for making internet gateway routers. The player had HDMI, component video, composite video, analog stereo audio and optical digital audio outputs, a USB interface and an Ethernet port. Blockbuster says the video is DVD quality and that it doesn’t stream the video instead using “progressive playback.”
I think this is a smart little system for the casual movie viewer. It is practically free (with an investment in 25 rentals), and looks simple to use. For those of us who watch several films every month the subscription from Netflix seems more appropriate, especially since you can now get this through multiple devices. You can also spend just a bit more for the initial investment and get an Apple TV and use it for more than just renting video.
Whatever you chose, it looks like video-on-demand is here to stay and will only get better.