By Matt Burns
What did I say when the Blockbuster OnDemand service launched last year? I said something about not discounting the service because the company has a lot riding on it, that’s what. This partnership between Blockbuster (BBI) and Samsung which will place the service on the majority of Samsung’s new video gear implies that the service broke through to the mainstream and is here to stay.
New Samsung HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater systems should come with the service this coming Fall. The presser didn’t lay out exactly what models will be equipped with the service, but a gigantic logo will probably be somewhere on the retail box promoting the service. Don’t worry about delaying your HDTV purchase just for this feature though. Samsung LED HDTV 7000 series and above, along with LCD/plasma 650 series, and some 2009 Blu-ray players will also be able to run the service with just a firmware update soon.
This partnership will skyrocket Blockbuster OnDemand’s home penetration numbers. Samsung claims “millions” in the presser, but all I know is that this method certainly works better than selling consumers a dedicated set-top box.
Most people do not want another random A/V box sitting under their TV. I don’t. HDTVs are constantly increasing in computering power so they can certainly handle the task of displaying a GUI and streaming content.
I doubt that Blockbuster OnDemand will ever reach the install level of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), but it doesn’t have to in order to be successful. Digital delivery is the future as physical media is quickly dying and as long as Blockbuster is in on the ground floor - like they are - the service should be around for a good, long time. The next step for Blockbuster OnDemand is to open up the API to developers so it can be used with popular apps like Boxee, Zinc, and XBMC.