It looks like Netflix isn't the only company that sees that streaming is the future
of movie rental distribution. Blockbuster, which always seems to be playing catch-up with Netflix, will start making its on-demand rental and purchase content available on TiVo DVRs.
While streaming video to computers is nothing new, streaming video to TVs is still a nascent, but fast growing concept. TiVo, which initially started out just as a DVR platform, has evolved into a much more robust series of devices and services that offer a growing number of Internet streaming options, such as from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, CinemaNow (which includes titles from Walt Disney Studios), Rhapsody, YouTube, and now Blockbuster. TiVo owners who have Series2, Series3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs will have access to the Blockbuster OnDemand service. Additionally, TiVo DVRs will be available for sale in Blockbuster stores.
"We are excited to be teaming with TiVo, the company that created the DVR, to make Blockbuster's entertainment content readily available to their millions of subscribers... Ultimately, our vision is to work with TiVo so that their subscribers can access movies not only through our OnDemand service but also from our stores and through our by-mail service as well. Regardless of a film's availability--through VOD or on DVD--we want to work with TiVo to provide their subscribers unprecedented access to movie content."
-- Jim Keyes, Blockbuster Chairman and CEO
BlockBuster OnDemand has only been available as a streaming service on Windows PCs or streaming to TVs via the 2Wire MediaPoint
device. Meanwhile, Netflix streaming is available on far more platforms, such as on Windows and Mac computers, TiVo, the Roku
Digital Video Player, LG and Samsung
Blu-ray players, the Xbox 360
, as well as a number of video portal software applications, such as Boxee
and ZeeVee's Zinc
Blockbuster's partnership with TiVo is yet another indication of the coming revolution of on-demand media available to TVs--that is, if the revolution hasn't already started. Later this year, when TVs using Intel's Media Processor CE 3100
chip start shipping, the integrated Yahoo! Widget Channel will open up the floodgates for all sorts of on-demand media, including both Netflix and Blockbuster Widget Channels. Other upstarts are joining this race too, such as the new ZillionTV
set-top box. The best approach, however, is the one that Netflix and Blockbuster appear to be making: to make the services available for existing platforms that already have a significant presence in people's homes.