Apple does it. Amazon does it. Wal-Mart does it. And now it appears that both Best Buy and Blockbuster are planning to offer movie download services at some point in the future. This revelation occured when the CEO of Lionsgate mentioned in an investor conference call that the studio has made digital distribution deals with the two retailers.
It makes sense for both of these companies to explore electronic distribution of movies. Two of the key advantages is that it eliminates inventory and shipping costs, and it makes it easier for consumers to purchase (or rent) movies from home. Since Netflix started offering streaming movies early this year, Blockbuster also needs to take a stand to maintain a competitive position.
Apple has reportedly sold more than 2 million movies through iTunes, but there are still problems with download services. In spite of high-speed broadband connections, it still takes a long time to download a feature length movie. And digital rights management — DRM — features can prevent you from watching the movie you want, when you want, on the display that you want. But there’s a lot of pressure to solve these problems, and downloaded movies could become popular. And if these problems get solved soon enough, it may render the conflict between Blu-ray and HD DVD moot; people may just decide that they’d prefer to simply download HD movies than try to decide which format is best.