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Blockbuster said to be developing Apple TV rival

post #1 of 58
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In the latest bid to revitalize its fading brand amongst a flood of new competitors, movie rental house Blockbuster is said to be developing a set-top device for streaming films directly to TV sets.

"The device is believed to be a stand-alone product akin to Apple TV as opposed to embedding a Blockbuster-branded service in such existing devices as Microsoft's Xbox 360 or TiVo," reports Reuters.

A spokesperson for the world's largest movie rental service declined to comment on the specific product, but acknowledged that the company was in discussions with numerous companies over products and services that would help it achieve its goal of providing ubiquitous access to its extensive movie rental catalog.

Once content with serving customers only through its brick-and-mortar retail chain, Blockbuster's emerging vision is to deliver content through any and every means possible. This includes its stores, its mail order rental arm, in-store kiosks, online downloads, and portable content-enabled devices.

"So it's not surprising that there are rumors out there," the spokesperson said.

More specifically, Reuters said it believes the product will leverage Movielink, an online service acquired by Blockbuster for $6.6 million last year that allows users to rent, download, and watch flicks on their computers.

It notes, however, that Blockbuster's push towards streaming video presents the risk that it will cannibalize sales at the company's retail chain, which has long been its bread and butter. The Dallas, Texas-based firm would also need a "significant investment in marketing and manufacturing" to stir awareness and compete in an already crowded set-top-box market, which has yet to be fully received by consumers.

In addition to Apple TV, Blockbuster will also be forced to contend with rival online movie rental service Netflix, which said in January that it was teaming with electronics maker LG to develop its own set-top box for streaming movies and other programming directly from the Internet to high-definition television sets.

Shares of Blockbuster are currently trading in the $3.20 range after falling some 17 percent to an all-time closing low of $2.69 after Apple announced in January that it too was launching a movie rental model through iTunes.
post #2 of 58
They'll have to do this, or else they might not be around in 10 years.
post #3 of 58
I'm sure they'll do well with all their experience in software development and hardware design.
post #4 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

I'm sure they'll do well with all their experience in software development and hardware design.

I think you missed the part of the story that said they weren't doing that to get the box.
post #5 of 58
Even so, Movielink is an atrocity, so they have a lot of work ahead of them. At least the Netflix solution is specifically designed.
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post #6 of 58
Man if Apple doesn't pay attention to this elephant in the living room (meaning Blockbuster), it could mean the end of Apple TV.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think you missed the part of the story that said they weren't doing that to get the box.


Yeah the MS approach with Zune. That worked out well.

I agree that their future looks a bit on the bleak side. But I don't give this venture much chance of success at this point. Who knows maybe they'll prove me wrong.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crtaylor View Post

Man if Apple doesn't pay attention to this elephant in the living room (meaning Blockbuster), it could mean the end of Apple TV.

Dude you got it all wrong.

Blockbuster is the one with the vulnerable business model.
post #9 of 58
Their store rental business is shrinking. Netflix is stomping on their direct by mail, Netflix and Apple are delivering more and more to the computer/Apple TV...

Maybe they should just buy redbox and stick to retail.....
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crtaylor View Post

Man if Apple doesn't pay attention to this elephant in the living room (meaning Blockbuster), it could mean the end of Apple TV.

I have a blockbuster movie rental card and when it was all the fad I rented a few movies and...

Then I wanted to rent a movie from Blockbusters and got out my card, it was so old and inactive, I had to reapply so I could rent my movie. I did, saw that movie with friends, and...

Let's just say I don't make it a "Blockbuster Night" at my house.

Nothing against Blockbuster and or their attempt at an Appletv-like device or Netflix. I'm just not a big rent or download a movie, chillin on a Friday night, type of person. I will say from my experiences with Apple's hardware and software reputation, if I were looking for any such device be it Blockbuster's or NetFlix or TIVO, etc. I'd probably just choose Apple due to previous satisfaction with their efforts.

And times are a changing and it's good to see that Blockbuster admits to that and that the inconvenience of driving to the video store to pickout a movie and then return is an outdated or soon will be, mode of delivering entertainment, when, with multiple options for the vast consumer market, there are easier ways to now view the latest movie releases. Now what will Blockbuster be doing with all thoses stores???

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post #11 of 58
The more competitors that get into this the more attention and legitimacy the concept will gain. At that point people will comparison shop. I think Apple will do well at that point.
post #12 of 58
Still Block Buster right now blows the pants off Apple TV for content. Apple TV is so lacking it is silly.
post #13 of 58
This whole thing is just another obvious "put-up" by the content companies. They whisper in BB's ear ... "Make a set-top box like AppleTV and we'll give you all the content you need." Since they are already in financial trouble, they agree.

I really don't understand why the USA doesn't have laws against this sort of thing. How is it that for more than a year now, virtually all the leading content companies are able to arrange what can only be described as a cartel or oligopoly, where they engage in active collusion to destroy Apple's chance of success? How can they legally supply anything they want to their chosen flunkies and not sell the same thing to Apple? We all know it's immoral, but why isn't it illegal as well?

Of course a company has the right to do business (or not) with anyone they want, but when *multiple* companies that pretty much comprise the whole industry gang up and refuse content to only *one* company, how is that right?

Doesn't the USA have any laws at all? In Canada and Europe this would be highly illegal. It's collusion, price fixing and a bunch of other things besides, and it's gone on for more than a year now.
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post #14 of 58
(slightly off topic here) Apple TV should be able to record incoming programs (from the air or cable) in addition to renting video from iTunes. I.e., everything that TiVo does, Apple TV should be able to do. I'm sure TiVo is quickly going in the direction of adding everything Apple TV does onto what TiVo already does, and their UI is every bit as elegant and functional as the Apple UI.
post #15 of 58
The problem with AppleTV is the massive bottleneck of adding movies. Netflix currently has over 90,000 titles. iTunes started out with, if I remember correctly, 200,000 songs right out of the gate. But the number of video titles on AppleTV has yet to break 1,000. That's pathetic, and it's starting to worry AppleTV owners.

As of late, Apple only adds one or two titles a day, and often deletes movies that were recently added. At the average rate they are adding, it would take 90 years for AppleTV to reach 90,000 titles!
post #16 of 58
I have mentioned this before (I think - I have slept since then)...

AppleTV/iTunes biggest problem is content - they just don't have the numbers like Netflix. What would be wrong with Apple BUYING Netflix, keeping the mail-out rental stuff but also adding tons of content to Apple TV overnight. Imagine the nice B&W envelope with a big Apple logo coming to your mailbox. I think we pay $18/mo to Netflix - and I wouldn't mind paying this to Apple for having 3 downloadable rentals at a time. Of course the "3 at a time" thing goes out the window with downloadable content.

At the very least, it would be nice to queue movies up on AppleTV - just like you can with Netflix. Apple might call it "wish list" or something. We often see something that we would like to eventually watch when browsing - it would be nice to mark it so that we don't forget to watch it someday.

It would be nice to be able to choose between downloads/rentals on-the-fly. I would normally download, but when travelling (I don't have a video ipod), I might opt for the "hard-copy" DVD.

Phil
post #17 of 58
It's sort of funny that Blockbuster was founded to capitalize an Americans sitting on their lazy asses.

Now, Blockbuster is threatened because of that same laziness! Why get up off the couch, ever?

"... And suddenly the Blockbuster executive panel realized that Americans could have movies beamed DIRECTLY into their TV sets without any DVD at all...

OH SHIT, they all said.."

Haha suck it Blockbuster
post #18 of 58
Speak for yourself...

I ain't young or good looking !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

It's sort of funny that Blockbuster was founded to capitalize an Americans sitting on their lazy asses.

Now, Blockbuster is threatened because of that same laziness! Why get up off the couch, ever? Just joking around, we all know AAPL users are young and good looking.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by backtomac View Post

Dude you got it all wrong.

Blockbuster is the one with the vulnerable business model.

Exactly. Blockbuster still has the burden of retail store employees and stores that a Netflix, for example does not have. That's a sizable negative.

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post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsey123 View Post

The problem with AppleTV is the massive bottleneck of adding movies. Netflix currently has over 90,000 titles. iTunes started out with, if I remember correctly, 200,000 songs right out of the gate. But the number of video titles on AppleTV has yet to break 1,000. That's pathetic, and it's starting to worry AppleTV owners.

As of late, Apple only adds one or two titles a day, and often deletes movies that were recently added. At the average rate they are adding, it would take 90 years for AppleTV to reach 90,000 titles!

Clearly, Apple will have to buy a company with existing studio agreements in order for AppleTV to reach full potential. It's dead in the water right now.

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post #21 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


Doesn't the USA have any laws at all? In Canada and Europe this would be highly illegal. It's collusion, price fixing and a bunch of other things besides, and it's gone on for more than a year now.

There are many laws on the books. It is a question of regulation and enforcement.
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post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri3 View Post

Still Block Buster right now blows the pants off . . .

Y'know, that could be a very good thing! Depending, of course, on who's doing the blowing.

I have both Blockbuster and AppleTV. The immediacy of AppleTV is making it a big winner in our house. Since we watch an average of about a movie a week, the cost is about a wash. If you are a more frequent movie-watcher, the Blockbuster can work out cheaper.

I don't know if it's just me, but often when my next DVD comes from Blockbuster, I think, "WTF was I thinking?" (I shouldn't be updating My Queue when I'm drunk ) I find the interface for working on My Queue to be quite clunky, so if BBTV is anything like that, Apple has nothing to worry about.

Since I have a good cable connection, every movie I've downloaded, even HD, is ready to watch in less that 60 SECONDS. Apple has made that technology practical. Now comes the wave of the me-too products by the less-creative players.

As Apple's selection gets better, I plan to get rid of the BB. Anyone stupid enough to think that Apple's offerings will grow linearly deserves to be saddled with their clumsy alternatives. These things go in fits and starts and as they achieve critical mass, they increase exponentially until they eventually approach saturation.
post #23 of 58
So, based on the title of this thread I have to ask: is AppleTV (Take 2) successful? So much so that it now has rivals? I hope so, but I haven't paid for a movie yet...maybe this weekend.
post #24 of 58
The lack of movies on Apple TV does make me think twice about getting one. You have to wonder what the hold up is and how vicious the studios are going to be with them. Without Steve's Pixar/Disney connection how many movies would they have?

Still, I'd expect Blockbuster to f* this up, far worse than Zune.
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post #25 of 58
Yes the same problem, do not allow me to use apple tv. lack of movies
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

We all know it's immoral...

post #27 of 58
This is excellent. My wife and I were searching for yet another device to add to our multimedia arsenal that requires yet another monthly subscription fee.

Since TiVo, Apple TV (iTunes), Comcast, at&t, Netflix don't suck enough out of us on a monthly basis, we were waiting for yet another device from a company that knows a thing or two about delivering multimedia directly to households--and, lo and behold, here's Blockbuster with what I'm sure will be a, um, blockbuster device.

Sign me up! I'm sure this device won't get lost in the noise...I mean, have you seen the interface on Apple TV and other Apple products? Someone needs to come in and teach them a thing or two about human interface design. They probably don't even have a Human Interface Guideline to adhere to. I'm sure Apple just wings it as they go along...Blockbuster, on the other hand, might have something that rivals the Comcast/Motorola DVR in terms of user interface excellence.
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

This is excellent. My wife and I were searching for yet another device to add to our multimedia arsenal that requires yet another monthly subscription fee.

.

Monthly (annual /12) fees - don't forget : Web hosting, Yahoo Pop Mail, .Mac, Flickr,

Dash GPS , OnStar, (they both found a way to charge for GPS, nice), Starbucks, T-Mobile...

How is a nerd supposed to save for retirement?

And before anyone tells me how dumb I am - I don't have all those. I do have Yahoo pop mail, can't cut the cord. Too tied into the address. It hurts. Just pointing out that there are more and more things that want a piece of your pie.

Something to be said for the Kindle model....
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post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsey123 View Post

The problem with AppleTV is the massive bottleneck of adding movies. Netflix currently has over 90,000 titles. ... But the number of video titles on AppleTV has yet to break 1,000. That's pathetic, and it's starting to worry AppleTV owners.

And how many of those 90,000+ titles are direct to DVD, are weight/exercise DVDs, etc? When Tower Records was going out of business, I got there late and while they had maybe a few thousand titles, only a handful were titles I recognized as theatrical releases. Having a lot of **** to choose from is a good thing only if you like ****.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

It's sort of funny that Blockbuster was founded to capitalize an Americans sitting on their lazy asses.

I don't understand that. That would be cable TV. With Blockbuster, you have to go somewhere.
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

This whole thing is just another obvious "put-up" by the content companies. They whisper in BB's ear ... "Make a set-top box like AppleTV and we'll give you all the content you need." Since they are already in financial trouble, they agree.

I really don't understand why the USA doesn't have laws against this sort of thing. How is it that for more than a year now, virtually all the leading content companies are able to arrange what can only be described as a cartel or oligopoly, where they engage in active collusion to destroy Apple's chance of success? How can they legally supply anything they want to their chosen flunkies and not sell the same thing to Apple? We all know it's immoral, but why isn't it illegal as well?

Of course a company has the right to do business (or not) with anyone they want, but when *multiple* companies that pretty much comprise the whole industry gang up and refuse content to only *one* company, how is that right?

Doesn't the USA have any laws at all? In Canada and Europe this would be highly illegal. It's collusion, price fixing and a bunch of other things besides, and it's gone on for more than a year now.

Such a law as you outline, would be out of line. There are already laws against collusion, but you have to prove that the companies communicated with each other to organize such a collusion. Saying they collude or saying it looks like they collude is not the same as *proving* that they do.

But if each company decided on their own to not deal with a certain company, without contact with other industry competitors, what business is it of a government that gives right of contract (IIRC, most of the West) to force their cooperation with a given said company?
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by resnyc View Post

(slightly off topic here) Apple TV should be able to record incoming programs (from the air or cable) in addition to renting video from iTunes. I.e., everything that TiVo does, Apple TV should be able to do. I'm sure TiVo is quickly going in the direction of adding everything Apple TV does onto what TiVo already does, and their UI is every bit as elegant and functional as the Apple UI.

That would up the cost - then you could just buy a Mac mini and EyeTV - in fact, why not just do that now?
post #33 of 58
I think people are forgetting that Apple is more than a movie rental box. It's also an iPod for your TV. You can't rent movies in Canada, but I still want an AppleTV. Then I could stream the shows that I record with eyeTV on my Mac, play music, look at photos, etc.

The only thing holding me back is the AppleTV does not have an S-Video output and I'm not planning on buying an HDTV in the near future.
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

That would up the cost - then you could just buy a Mac mini and EyeTV - in fact, why not just do that now?

The additional parts necessary have been estimated to be something like $5 or less. I'm pretty sure it can be sold at a $100 premium. The cost of going with a mini is 3x that increase.
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crtaylor View Post

Man if Apple doesn't pay attention to this elephant in the living room (meaning Blockbuster), it could mean the end of Apple TV.

Don't over look the fact that when there is an "elephant in the room" it is usually accompanied by a commensurate amount of elephant crap!
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post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsey123 View Post

The problem with AppleTV is the massive bottleneck of adding movies. Netflix currently has over 90,000 titles. iTunes started out with, if I remember correctly, 200,000 songs right out of the gate. But the number of video titles on AppleTV has yet to break 1,000. That's pathetic, and it's starting to worry AppleTV owners.

As of late, Apple only adds one or two titles a day, and often deletes movies that were recently added. At the average rate they are adding, it would take 90 years for AppleTV to reach 90,000 titles!

And this is a serious problem because the major studio are playing hardball with Apple. They want to see downloadable movies succeed but it's an "anyone but Apple' mentality these days.
After seeing how Apple manhandled the record labels, they're not about to let Apple grab a stranglehold on in the movie business.
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri3 View Post

Still Block Buster right now blows the pants off Apple TV for content. Apple TV is so lacking it is silly.

And the OS for AppleTV is OK, not great- unlike the iPhone.
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

And this is a serious problem because the major studio are playing hardball with Apple. They want to see downloadable movies succeed but it's an "anyone but Apple' mentality these days.
After seeing how Apple manhandled the record labels, they're not about to let Apple grab a stranglehold on in the movie business.

True - but that's also old news.
Apple TV's Take2 OS is OK, not great. It needs to do a whole lot more than simply just be a conduit for iTunes purchases/rentals- that is the real problem.
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

True - but that's also old news.
Apple TV's Take2 OS is OK, not great. It needs to do a whole lot more than simply just be a conduit for iTunes purchases/rentals- that is the real problem.

Well, if the problem hasn't been rectified, it's current news.
Being keepers of content is a major advantage...the one thing Apple doesn't have in it's otherwise vast riches.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by philbutler View Post

AppleTV/iTunes biggest problem is content - they just don't have the numbers like Netflix. What would be wrong with Apple BUYING Netflix, keeping the mail-out rental stuff but also adding tons of content to Apple TV overnight.

Does Netflix have rights to many more movies than Apple for ONLINE distribution?

I mean, it seems clear that at the moment they are considered entirely different things. Licensing wise, Netflix pays for 500 copies of a DVD which it then physically mails out - if it rents enough then it gets its money back and makes a profit (I assume that is still the model). The studios make money per DVD, whereas the download model has the studios wondering how much they can make per rental.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post

This is excellent. My wife and I were searching for yet another device to add to our multimedia arsenal that requires yet another monthly subscription fee.

A very good point. I'm not sure about the US, but in Australia we have a number of ISPs independently starting to develop their own set-top boxes. What a waste of their r&d budget. Then I assume they're looking at their own movie and tv deals. The last thing we want is half the movie studios on one service and half on the other (as we had here with cable TV for 10 years). Are we at a stage where we need providers to get together and agree on a set-top box standard - one set top box that can not just replace a DVD player but also replace the DVR &/or cable box.

Perhaps for now several different models of IPTV will compete and we'll begin to see the most effective model emerge. I just hope the winner is the best one (edit) rather than an artificial winner based on whoever the studios support.

On a related note, imagine if TiVo approached Netflix and Blockbuster (and anyone else in the IPTV market) and offered to sell their content. Buy a TiVo, work with anyone/everyone. That would appeal to me much more than individual Blockbuster/Netflix trying to design custom boxes.
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