Archives For DVD
Kaleidescape, best known for industry skirmishes related to DVD decryption and archival, is out with the new Cinema One. Unlike the rest of Kaleidescape’s product line, the budget priced Cinema One can be picked up at any Best Buy Magnolia outpost for a mere $4k – without the expense or inconvenience or going through their dealer network. Touting a “breakthrough user interface” and “beautiful form factor” the One (not to be confused with the other One) takes a page from Vudu’s initial playbook in offering super high quality movie downloads for purchase. Further, DVD and audio discs can be essentially ripped onto the integrated hard drive for quick browsing and playback. However, if you happen to have a large Blu-ray collection, you’ll need to pick up the D700 Vault for just a couple more thousand dollars to handle licensing verification à la Xbox. Who’s in?
While Verizon and Redbox’s joint venture may be running a bit behind schedule, the Netflix competitor teased us today with program details. As expected, Redbox Instant will stream video from a number of distributors to a variety of mobile and television devices — including smartphones, tablets, connected Blu-ray players, and Google TV. The all-you-can-eat movie-centric service will run $8 a month, as Netflix and Hulu do. Interesting, they will also offer à la carte rentals and purchases… presumably of the more compelling, new release content. Given their DNA, it’s no surprise their secret weapon is bundled disc rentals via those conveniently located Redbox self serve kiosks. Four nightly DVD rentals a month are include at that $8 tier, but an an extra buck elevates you to Blu-ray. Is that enough to wrest customers away from Netflix or encourage first time streaming subscribers? Guess we’ll begin to find out in early 2013.
Wal-mart’s Disc-to-Digital service, launching under the Vudu brand, became available today. That’s the theory anyhow. Unfortunately, reps at two different local Walmart outposts tell me they haven’t yet been trained and I was unsuccessful in getting my discs “converted” during lunch.
Backing up a bit, this new service falls under the studio-backed UltraViolet initiative — which aims to provide a global content licensing and streaming catalog. Buy a DVD, get a digital copy. Buy a digital copy via Flixter, watch it on Vudu. Etc. And, while I had some initial doubts, it seems as if the component partners and pieces are actually starting to coalesce nicely. However, you’ll forgive me for remaining skeptical and apprehensive in the licensing of digital content… given the abandonment of other relatively prominent solutions, such as Yahoo Music or Microsoft PlaysForSure. Not to mention my less-than-stellar experience today. Continue Reading…
Apparently Verizon didn’t get the memo: If it’s Netflix versus cable, the MSOs have won. Verizon seems to think Netflix is some sort of competitor given recent FiOS TV customer outreach. As you can see in the photo at the bottom, for months, Verizon has run video on demand television commercials that prominently display their new release titles are available 4 weeks before Netflix DVD rentals. And today, I received the email below with a subject line that reads, “Want to know how FiOS beats Netflix?” Verizon does score a few points for calling out Netflix’s upcoming boneheaded division of services:
Netflix now makes you go to two places and pay two prices to watch movies on both streaming and DVDs.
Irrespective of Netflix’s upcoming split, for most of us, they’re just not direct competition to a cable company’s video on demand offering. There’s a sizable and growing contingent of cord cutters who utilize Netflix, amongst other services and other-the-air broadcast, to round out their entertainment options. But for those of us who subscribe to both cable and Netflix, the streaming service primarily and economically augments pay TV with a wide array of supplemental content — including back catalog movies or more obscure content and entire television seasons. Continue Reading…
Given Redbox’s national expansion into gaming and the Netflix price hike, I’ve been paying more frequent visits to my local disc dispensing kiosk. And there’s really not much to say… Redbox kiosks are super efficient and disc rentals are extremely economical, even if the selection is sometimes limited. But, to avoid disappointment, one can browse their online catalog before hitting that supermarket, 7-Eleven, or Mickey D’s. Further, promotional coupon codes are frequently available online. I needed a Call of Duty fix a few weeks back and actually discovered codes designed to provide a free one night DVD rental will actually take $1 off a $2 Blu-ray or video game rental as well (but only the first night). Even better? Redbox provided us with some unique, one time codes to share.
Entering this giveaway is as easy as it gets, simply leave a comment if you’d like one of five Redbox DVD rental codes. We’ll choose the winners at random in a few days.
After nearly two years of regional testing, Redbox kiosks nationwide are now offering $2/night video game rentals in addition to DVD and Blu-ray discs. Because it’s getting real in the Whole Foods parking lot, I instead swung by my local Harris Teeter this AM to check it out. Initially, it seemed as though Redbox might have a fairly large and comprehensive selection of relatively new release titles. But, upon closer inspection, this particular unit is only offering 16 games – pretty evenly distributed by platform. (5 Xbox, 5 PS3, 6 Wii) I could definitely see myself using the Redbox service to blast through shorter titles ($8 – $12 vs $60) or to preview longer and more replayable ones prior to making a purchase. Yet, L.A. Noire is only available on the PS3. So I’m hanging onto my two bucks today.
DISH Network has won the bankruptcy court auction of Blockbuster in a transaction valued at $320 million. Although they’ll surely invest much more as they attempt a turn around of the sullied but “highly recognizable” brand.
At first blush, their play struck me as highly bizarre. However, acquiring a streaming video solution and 1,700 brick & mortar outposts is potentially cheaper and certainly quicker than starting from scratch. And you know DISH intends to leverage their new storefront as a means of marketing satellite service when the deal closes in the next month or so. Although Blockbuster didn’t previously seem to have much success reselling TiVo or the PS3.
Lastly, DISH has been picking up spectrum and could conceivably make a cell phone or broadband play… and perhaps Blockbuster is where one would acquire a DISH Network cellphone as part of a triple play?