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Blockbuster OnDemand Comes To TiVo 57

MojoKid writes "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. 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, like 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."
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Blockbuster OnDemand Comes To TiVo

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  • Does Blockbuster have more streaming titles than Netflix?
    • If what they have done in the past is true... no, they are still playing catch-up with netflix

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sorce ( 756519 )
      They have very few free streaming titles. They do have new releases but they are all PPV and I believe around $4. I don't think anyone is really going to use this service. Netflix doesn't have a huge library but at least it's got something that is included in the monthly fee.
    • It's not quantity that's the issue with Netflix, it's quality. I like my Roku, but there are only so many days when I'm in the mood to watch Noam Chomsky documentaries or Hannah Montana Season 2 or the Poltergeist 2/3 double feature.

      • I've never even used the streaming service (though I'm a long time netflix user and have a Tivo that can do it), but it seems to me like your (and many other people's) dismissal isn't quite accurate.

        It looks like non-members can get a brief list of things available via streaming: []

        and when logged into my account, there were lots of old TV shows, and some recent CBS shows available for streaming. (Though I wondered why a couple of the episod

        • Well, again, my criticism isn't that they don't have viewing material out there...I think they have a few thousand titles: they just cut a deal with Starz which bumped their list up quite a bit, and have quite a few full-season TV shows out there.

          The biggest issue and the reason it won't take off for them is that they don't have very many popular movies; I'm not talking about just new releases or first-run: Netflix by their own admission only carries second-shelf and lower movies, because the studios licens

          • But at least based upon what I've read, Blockbuster is not streaming at all. It's purchasing for rent or download, pay per item. (i.e. no 'all you can eat' like Netflix.)

  • Now all they need to do is bring the Tivo back to the UK. There are still people maintaining or even buying [] old UK-spec tivos because nothing else manages the "program prediction" as well.
    • by telchine ( 719345 ) * on Thursday March 26, 2009 @08:08AM (#27340325)

      Now all they need to do is bring the Tivo back to the UK. There are still people maintaining or even buying [] old UK-spec tivos because nothing else manages the "program prediction" as well.

      Absolutely, TiVo is great, Thompson just made massive mistakes with their launch and marketing of it. My mother is a complete technophobe, yet she can use it without problems.

      Now most people already understand the concept (it's similar to Sky+), it should be much easier to launch in the UK if they try again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chrisq ( 894406 )

        Thompson just made massive mistakes with their launch and marketing of it.

        You can say that again. The Tivo adverts made it look really confusing and you could watch one without knowing what Tivo actually does! Compare that to the very good adverts for Sky+, which emphasise that its so easy that your gran use it do it and you see why Tivo flopped.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We have Tivo in Canada, but unfortunately none of these deals like with Amazon or Netflix ever work for us up here. The link is there in the menu, but when you try to go there and enable your account etc., you can't because (a) you don't have a US credit card, and (b) even if you manage to use a US credit card, it blocks your tivo unit because it's coming from a Canadian IP address. Stupid regulations.

  • 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, like Boxee and ZeeVee's Zinc

    Except that 90% of the movies I want to see on demand are available only in DVD.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Except that 90% of the movies I want to see on demand are available only in DVD.

      That's probably because most movies are not available on demand. According to this blog bost about VOD servers [], about Blockbuster has about 2,000 titles available for VOD and Netflix has about 3,500. The biggest thing missing from both VOD and DVDs are classic movies: some have never been digitally remastered, while others have.

  • Revolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @08:15AM (#27340367)

    I've already changed my Habits. I dumped dish and will no longer pay for cable or satellite. I stream NetFlix thru my x-box and am pretty happy paying less than 15 a month (microsoft live and netflix) for a full queue of shows I get to see when I want to see it.

    Dish, Comcast, And direct TV better start panicking, the age of a la carte is here.

    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      When you can do what many people do with Bittorrent now (download a show within 24 hours of its airing in HD quality and KEEP it) and do it legally, then the age of a la carte will be here.

      I don't think most people want to rent an apartment for the rest of their lives, they want to own a home. They want to own their car. I'd say they'd want to own their media.

      I'd never pour hundreds of dollars into a service over many years and not actually get to keep anything.

      • by flitty ( 981864 )
        Most of my friends buy dvd's for the following reasons
        1) Kids dvd's so they can show it over and over again anywhere (car, kids room, etc)
        2) their *favorite* dvd, even if they never actually watch the thing
        3) Unable to get the movie through rental/torrent/streaming etc. so they are forced to buy it
        Other than that, my friends stream or rent all other dvd's, leading most of their dvd collections to be under 150.

        A la carte Television will only arrive when it's available same day/day after for streaming,
    • I have done the same, I dumped cable and watch netflix and hulu through the xbox (check out mediamall's playon software). That plus the dvds by mail from netflix, I've already got too much to watch, and not enough time. The bonus? I watch when I want. Not when it's scheduled to run.
  • bandwidth (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @08:15AM (#27340375)

    Assume for a moment that in some fantasy land you can convince 5-10% of your customers to give up physical media and switch to downloads. Where is all this bandwidth going to come from? Are people supposed to sit around tapping their foot as these huge (even if you use low bitrate H264) files slowly seep in over the interwebz? I don't know about you, but I'm not NEARLY patient enough for that. But perhaps it's just me.

    • by Aladrin ( 926209 )

      I'm guessing you've never tried Netflix' online service. If you had, you'd know that it streams as you watch it. It's not a 'download'.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        When it works, it's great. But the OP does have a point about bandwidth. When the connection gets congested it can be annoying when the stream can't keep up. And there are a lot of people out there that don't want to watch a highly compressed movie on their fancy video gear. The quality does suffer. If you ramp up the bitrate to compensate, you're back to fussy pipes again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Netflix works for those who use it now. But what happens when everybody wants to use it?

      Almost all ISPs oversell their bandwidth by a good ratio, which means that they do not think that everyone will be using the bandwidth at the same time.

      When everybody is watching streaming movies, the crap is going to come to a screeching halt.

      A while back I worked for a WISP. A WISP almost has to over sell its bandwidth, because bandwidth limitations of the access points make it almost impossible to give every customer

    • The bandwidth isn't that far away. If it were AT&T U-Verse and Verizon's FiOS couldn't work. With U-Verse I have 26Mbps/2Mbps to the house over UTP but their 2-Wire gateway only allows me to access 6Mbps/1.5Mbps of that for internet traffic. with that other 20Mbps I can stream 2 HD and 2 SD programs simultaneously. They are compressed of course but still good quality IMO. Although it is AT&T so once they reach market saturation who knows what kind of compression they will employ.

  • I just haven't been able to justify the cost of moving to series 3 yet, and the netflix deal (and some other functionality) was only available for series 3 boxes. For something as basic as streaming or downloading a movie, series 2 should be fine (it was for amazon unbox, who, IIRC, cancelled unbox???).

    Looking forward to learning more about this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dreamt ( 14798 )

      Well, I'm pretty sure that the reason that Netflix only worked on Series 3 boxes is the codec that Netflix uses to encode their movies. Blockbuster's must be using MPEG2 because I think that is all that series 2 has the hardware to handle.

  • by dank zappingly ( 975064 ) on Thursday March 26, 2009 @08:39AM (#27340519)
    Had Blockbuster's total access plan where you can get 3 at a time mailed and trade in the envelopes for up to 5 dvds a month in store. Then they changed it so the dvds you rent in the store get added to the movies you have out and they don't send another one and called it "no late fees." So basically I was paying extra money to save them postage and when I called to complain they tried to tell me that it was better than what I had because there were no late fees. I told them just because you're reading this off your response tree doesn't make it true. Previously they had unlimited in-store rentals, so they've changed my plan twice since its inception.

    I was so ticked off that I switched back to netflix, which I quit because of throttling and got to cash in my one month of one free extra dvd I got in the class action suit. The service has greatly improved since I left. They have way better selection than blockbuster and I sometimes use the online streaming to play things on my ps3, I just wish it was natively supported and I didn't have to pay for a program(playon) to do it. Then again, the program also supports other online video sites and I am able to stream every episode of Star Trek TOS from CBS, which is great. The only downside is that I have to pay one dollar extra per month to get access to blu ray's, but it is so much easier to get the movies I want sent that I don't mind.

    • by Sorce ( 756519 )
      I switched to Netflix from Blockbuster for the same policy change reason. I liked the fact I could take a movie back and rent another from the store and they would immediately ship my next online rental. However my reason for changing wasn't so much the policy change, most of the time I didn't go through the movies that quickly. It was the fact that they changed the policy and didn't let anyone know. They claim the e-mailed people and had a banner on the site, I never saw either. Netflix instant queue was
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by horatio ( 127595 )
      I stopped giving my business to Blockbuster a few years ago in nearly the exact same situation. I was in a store, and commented to someone who was with me that I was annoyed that they'd jacked up their prices but were playing games with the rental periods. One of the employees on the floor started arguing with me about how this was so much better, and it was cheaper, etc. He actually stood there and argued with me that they'd lowered the rental cost, when in fact, the per-unit (day) cost was higher.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

      About 2 years ago, I tried out both Blockbuster's and Netflix's mail rental services at the same time. Blockbuster wasn't even CLOSE to Netflix. Blockbuster had a much weaker selection, they were slow as Christmas in receiving and shipping, and they treated their queue as more of a guideline than a rule (I would often get my 6th movie down, when the five above it were listed as "available"--and this was during the TRIAL period, before they even had any reason to throttle me). About the only thing Blockbuste

    • by vishbar ( 862440 )
      I'm actually watching Star Trek on PlayOn as we speak (The City on the Edge of Forever). I canceled my TV service due to its ability to stream Hulu.
  • From the time I bought my TiVo until two years or so ago, I didn't hesitate to tell people how much I loved my TiVo and the service that comes with it. The company really seems to be intent on alienating me as a customer now, though, and I'm getting fed up with it. I am sick of all the bloat. I'm sick of software updates which make my box less user friendly and more sluggish. I am pissed that every time I pause a show or go to the TiVo Central screen I'm forced to look at an advertisement. The whole friggin

    • That's weird, I have a TiVo and am not forced to see any advertisements. Is that a Series 3 "feature"?
    • I don't think I've seen these 'pause' ads I've seen others mention. (I *have* seen the extra items, always added to the BOTTOM of a list, in Now Playing folders.)

      But you can always just hit CLEAR to remove overlays off of the screen.

      I would prefer the ads to be gone, but the ability to quickly skip through the regular TV ads and find shows (e.g. autorecording wishlists for various bands I like) with no ongoing payment (since I have lifetime subscriptions -- tied to the box for those who don't know about it

  • I'm just excited that in 6 months, i'll be able to pick up previously-viewed video streams at a fraction of the retail price!
  • Indeed streeming is the way to go. Rental places have already lost the battle, this is the only way to stay alive for them. In fact, the competition is not only between the rentals and the download, but between the theater and the download. I must admit that i do download almost anything i watch, so do most of my friend. Why? Because i am unable to get the content home, while paying for it. I refuse the go to a theater (and pay more in parking fees than for admittance) and i refuse to watch commercials on
  • Netflix has a pretty good selection and even some new movies. i have a computer hooked to my TV which i use for streaming but im still waiting for my Netflix Wii channel.

  • It's still going to take the MPAA and major studios another five years to realize the world is changing. So five more years of bluster, more pompous talk about piracy, more stupid short-sighted lock-in schemes, and a lot of pain for legitimate customers before they realize they can't put the genie back in the bottle.

  • TiVo + Blockbuster == yawn, blockbuster just trying to save its butt. But if TiVo teamed up with Apple, OMG, finally a DVR with a great selection and a user interface that didn't suck!
    • Umm, how does the current TiVo user interface "suck"? Most people think it's great, I think even a lot of people who don't think it's worth "extra"(*) over their cable DVR.

      (*) Though it's a self-selected sample, I've seen many people post on about how their cable bill went _down_ after getting a Tivo, including monthly charges. (Though personally, I have always gotten lifetime subscriptions... Even I would likely use a more VCR-like recorder if I couldn't pay a single fee and had to pay

  • I'd much rather that my Series 2 would support Netflix, since I already have an account with them. I can't see anything Blockbuster would have to offer being any less of a pain in the ass than Amazon's offering, which even when it works reliably is still annoying as hell since it takes HOURS for the movie to come down the pipe, and you can't start playing it until it's COMPLETELY done downloading.
  • If you put together the cost of a Tivo DVR, a subscription to Tivo, and a subscription to Netflix / Blockbuster, this is not so great of a deal. In the Chicago area where we have Comcast, they loan you the cable box, the Comcast guide is actually quite a bit better (IMO) than the Tivo one, and you can easily add DVR service for cheap. As for Netflix streaming content, it's not quite to the point where it's worth it yet - most streaming content is the type of stuff you see on TV at 2AM - bad Seagal action
  • aXXo privides me with all the movies I need.
  • Blockbuster was actually FIRST to try streaming video to the masses.

    Does anybody remember the Enron / Blockbuster deal from 1999? I was working at Enron Broadband back then and we had a deal with Blockbuster to deliver streaming movies to people's homes via a custom set-top box. And yes it was part of *that* Enron.

    Way way ahead of its time. Consumer broadband was in the DSL stage. I of course had 6Mb cable modem at home but most of America was asking "why do I need 6Mb?" And DSL would barely keep
  • ...that is the true testament to how irrelevant Blockbuster has really become.

  • What is it with the crappy selection? 10K titles doesn't cut it, esp when 1/2 of those are b movies never even released in theaters.

    Call me when they have the majority of the mainstream movies from the last 30 years available-or basically any title that I can get on dvd now. I suspect that the only reason I can't is because the studios are morons, but hopefully they'll soon realize that I will rent more (and make them a whole lot more money) when the selection is better. Where I am, traditional dvds aren'

  • I agree that streaming and/or downloading of movies is the future, though it will take a long time to be phased in. What I don't understand is what role Netflix/Blockbuster can hope to play in this area.

    Netflix/Blockbuster : Movie Streaming :: AOL : Web Portal

  • American owned - check
    Comprehensive Porn section - check

    Right, another store to which I won't be taking my business.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.