On the Cusp of Bankruptcy, Blockbuster Makes Late Start in VOD on Connected TVs and Devices

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Despite filing for bankruptcy in September, 2010 - Blockbuster has just announced the addition of seven new devices as part of Blockbuster On Demand in an attempt to crack the market held tightly by Netflix and Redbox in the US and Lovefilm in the UK. With nearly a billion dollars in debt the DVD rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just two months ago and plans to shutter hundreds of their US operations - the some 4,000-strong network of stores in the UK, Canada, Denmark, Italy and Mexico, outside are not included in the bankruptcy, as they are legally separate entities.

And as of today, consumers can now watch movies on almost 100 consumer electronic and mobile devices, with the newly rolled-out Blockbuster On Demand. With the addition of six new consumer electronics partners and seven devices this fall, Blockbuster On Demand consumers have even more options to get instant access to all the newest movies at home and on the go.

 With Blockbuster On Demand, movie lovers will get instant access to digital movies on the same day as DVD/Blu-ray. There are no monthly fees, it's not a subscription model, and the service is available on PCs, laptops and almost 100 different Blu-ray players, smartphones, home theater systems, TVs, DVRs, digital media adapters and portable devices.

As the L.A. Times noted in September:

It's unclear how Blockbuster 's other debt, accumulated as part of ongoing business recently, will be treated. A filing said the company's total debt was $1.465 billion, and its assets were just over $1 billion. Among the largest creditors that have claims against Blockbuster are the major studios. According to a court filing, the company currently owes $21.6 million to 20th Century Fox, $20 million to Warner Bros., $13.3 million to Sony Pictures, $8.6 million to Walt Disney Studios, $8.3 million to Universal Studios, and $7.9 million to Lions Gate.

According to Bruce Anderson, Blockbuster On Demand's senior vice president and general manager, the Blockbuster On Demand service works seamlessly across different devices. Customers can rent or buy a movie on a smartphone and also watch the same movie on a Blu-ray player. They can also start watching a movie on a home theater and finish watching it on a connected TV in another room.

"We are passionate about making it easy for people to get the newest releases and all their favorite movies across an increasingly wide variety of devices from the entry-level to high-end," said Anderson. "We've launched with half a dozen new CE partners in recent weeks and continue to expand organically with existing partners. Customers know that Blockbuster always offers the latest greatest movies and our ongoing expansion shows that our partners appreciate the value that Blockbuster On Demand brings to their devices."

New Blu-ray device models supporting Blockbuster On Demand include the following models. Specific product details are available at www.blockbuster.com/devices.

  • Integra's high-end DBS-30.2 Blu-ray disc player features high-definition surround sound formats for Blu-ray, Dolby® TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding and is available through select custom installers.
  • Integra's other high-end Blu-ray disc player, the DBS-50.2, offers full-feature Blu-ray Disc Play Back and a High Quality Video Scaler and is available through select custom installers.
  • Magnavox's MB 5130 Blu-ray disc player is equipped with built-in wireless LAN, deep color support, SD card support and Energy Star 2.0 support.
  • Onkyo's BD-SP808, a THX and DLNA 1.5 Certified Blu-ray Disc Player with a full array of state of the art technology, including Video On Demand, premium Marvel Qdeo™ video scaler, and studio-master quality Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ sound.
  • Sylvania's NB620SL1, a Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray disc player, also comes equipped with built-in wireless LAN, deep color support, SD card support and Energy Star 2.0 support.
  • Western Digital's WD TV® Live Hub™ media center, a Full-HD 1080p media player with a 1 terabyte (TB) built-in network hard drive and the freedom to play personal media on any screen in the home.
  • Yamaha's BD-A1000, designed to work with the Yamaha AVENTAGE line of components for maximum convenience, comes 3D ready and offers secondary video/audio for enhanced commentary.


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