Is Blockbuster catching on? Yesterday, the company announced a deal with Samsung that will put Blockbuster OnDemand as a menu item on select Samsung Blu-ray player and flat panel TV models. Customers can pick a movie to rent or buy, and then choose “play” on the screen to view it immediately. Samsung 650 Series and later HDTVs as well as Series 7000 and above LCD TVs with LED backlights (which Samsung calls “LED TVs”) can download a new Blockbuster widget, and certain 2009 home theater systems and Blu-ray players can get a firmware upgrade that will add support for the feature.
On the downside, you have to pay for each movie you watch with this Blockbuster service, whether it’s a purchase or rental. This is in contrast with the Netflix online service that is free for Netflix subscribers. On the other hand, the Blockbuster service has recent releases and some titles offered in high definition, which is something that the online Netflix offerings can’t match yet.
In the wake of Netflix getting its service on the menu for Windows Media Center and many brands of HDTV, it’s good that Blockbuster has managed to catch up a bit through this deal with Samsung. Unless the company can increase its share of the online market, it’s in danger of falling too far behind Netflix to remain competitive.