As much fun as it is to bash the top of your DVD player each of the 135 times your Total Access movie skips during playback, Blockbuster has apparently decided to get serious about movie downloads – sort of. Back in November, Blockbuster finally announced its first set top box offering, allowing users to purchase OnDemand movies on a pay-per-view basis. Yay. Blockbuster’s set top offering, shall we say, hasn’t quite been greeted with open arms, nor has the PC-based download service available on blockbuster.com. That won’t stop the stumbling giant from moving forward and exploring new ways to stay relevant of course, and its latest move is just that. CinemaNow, a movie download service that continues to expand, will now be Blockbuster-branded. While this will make movies bearing the Blockbuster logo available on a new range of devices, it does little to advance Blockbuster in the digital realm – instead, the move simply slaps a more recognizable brand on the CinemaNow service. Offerings are still pay-per-view with titles available to rent or buy, and pricing will remain the same. Blockbuster Chairman Jim Keyes claims that the company is currently examining subscription options but stated nothing finite. Netflix, on the other hand, still offers unlimited movie downloads to all subscribers with a monthly DVD-via-mail plan of $8.99 or higher.
After making an announcement ages ago, Blockbuster has finally launched its movie rental service via set-top boxes. Since word got out about the box and service, the only other option was to have DVDs delivered to your home, Netflix style, or to download movies and TV shows online. Now, with Blockbuster’s set-top box, you can snag movies with its OnDemand service whenever you want. The box is free if you pre-pay for 25 movies at the cost of $99, and while that sounds expensive, you wouldn’t be getting the box and service if you weren’t going to be watching a ton of movies, anyway – right? The set-top box works wirelessly and manages to deliver DVD quality to your screen, so if HD is an absolute must you’re pretty much out of luck with this one for now. If you’re a movie fiend and you have to have the latest hits from Hollywood, you’re still better off with the Blockbuster service as Netflix seems to be having a shortage of those movies lately. Anyone going to pick one of these up for the holidays?
Early last month we told you about this beauty of a Blu-ray player by LG. Affordability, sexiness and the added joy of being able to stream Netflix downloads to your TV make it tough to deny the BG300. Well people, it just got a little bit tougher. LG’s Netflix-streaming Blu-ray player is now officially available for pre-order from Circuit City and the already-attractive price is $50 lower than we all thought. Scheduled to start shipping next Friday, the BD300 is up on Circuit City’s site for $349.99. It is also available for pre-order on Amazon’s site but at the original $400 price point. Aside from being $50 more expensive compared to the Circuit City price, Amazon’s BD300 page also states an estimated ship date between two and five months. Umm, yeah – we’re going to have to go with Circuit City on this one.
Plenty of awesome-looking gear was flaunted at the CEDIA expo this past week and wallets will soon be shrinking all around the country as a result. From $35,000 70-inch plasmas to, well, just about everything else you would ever want to stuff into your home theater, gear fans around the globe are drooling over the releases to come over the next few months. Several announcements have caught our eye so far, and one of them is the little beauty pictured above. First announced at CES this past year, the LG BD300 might just be the Blu-ray player you’ve been waiting for – if you’ve been waiting for a new player that is. Forget about the 1080p Blu-ray video compatibility and the DVD upconverting (ok don’t completely forget about that), this little demon will also replace your current set top box and allow you to stream Netflix downloads to your TV. If you’re a Netflix customer who has been waiting to find the right Blu-ray player, you probably just found it. If you’re a Blockbuster Total Access customer who has been getting more and more annoyed as they increase prices and remove benefits, you probably just found a good reason to make the switch. Of note, the BD300 will ship with BD-Profile 1.1 and the company claims that firmware updates will be fast and painless in the event the spec changes five minutes after you buy the player. This makes sense of course, since the unit is always connected via Ethernet. The LG BD300 will become available in October and will carry a relatively easy to swallow price tag of $399.