Blockbuster On Demand – just the ticket

Blockbuster On Demand: Coming soon to a DVD and Blu-Ray player Near You … (perhaps!)

DVD rental outlet Blockbuster are apparently keen on launching an on demand service, which will see those who purchase specific DVD and Blu-Ray machines able to download movies to rent on demand, rather than delivering direct to the door.

Whilst not too dissimilar to existing download to rent and download to own services, from a technical perspective, the service more or less follows the model of services such as Virgin Media’s Virgin On Demand service, and IPTV elements of BT’s digital TV platform BT Vision.

Jim Keyes, Blockbuster Chairman and Chief Executive quoth:

“The service is essentially a rebranding and expansion of Blockbuster’s Web site, which offers about 10,000 on-demand movies for download to personal computers. About 2,000 of those titles, such as recent DVD releases Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 and Get Smart, can be downloaded to TVs via Blockbuster on demand. Blockbuster also is pursuing deals to package the new service with Blu-Ray players and is considering alliances with video game console makers, but is not ready to disclose the details.”

As well as installing equipment, Blockbuster are also thought to be working closely with ‘video game console makers’ Sony on integrating the on demand functionality into the PlayStation 3. There already is a Play TV peripheral, which effectively turns your PS3 into a Freeview+ box; including video-on demand to the games console would see it become a viable alternative to IPTV and subscription TV in the UK.

Sounds exciting? Yeah? Well, don’t get your hopes up just yet; it is widely thought that Blockbuster will be unrolling their on demand package in the US first, so as to compete with the Netflix platform, which gives punters access to a library of 12,000 titles for $8.99 per month.

Access to Netflix is currently already available in Samsung machines, and is said to become a staple feature of – yep, you guessed it – Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Coincidentally, it was revealed last year that Microsoft had been having talks with BT, over deals which would see the Xbox 360 able to receive HD on demand content from the Vision platform, which means that, as the ‘7th Gen’ arms race escalates, there’s hope for Blockbuster on demand in the UK yet.

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