TiVo Gets a Blockbuster Card

By  |  Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 9:15 am

tivoblockbusterBlockbuster, the video rental giant that’s trying to figure out a role for itself in a world of digital downloads, has struck a deal that should help: Its Blockbuster OnDemand service will be offered on TiVo DVRs. TiVo owners will be able to rent and buy movies from a selection of 5,000 to 10,000 titles (including new major studio releases, but nothing from Disney), with prices typically ranging from $4 to $10.

Blockbuster will also start selling TiVos in its stores, helping its customers make the inevitable transition from driving to the video store to choosing movies via remote control.

The deal adds yet another video provider to TiVo’s already well-rounded list: The TiVo HD in my living room already offers Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Video on Demand, Jaman, Disney releases via CinemaNow, and more. Each one’s a bit different in its scope and focus–Netflix, for instance, offers all-you-can-watch pricing but doesn’t have major new releases; Amazon has a ton of stuff, but each item is priced separately; Jaman specializes in international films.

The experience is a little disjointed–each provider has a separate interface, so it’s a little like visiting a mall with multiple video stores rather than one giant store–and TiVo needs more high-definition content. (It should get that once Amazon launches HD titles.) But TiVo’s doing a good job of giving folks reasons to buy a box that go beyond recording cable TV–which is essential to its future, since it’s competing with renting a cheap DVR from your cable company.

As I said in the piece on Internet TV boxes I just wrote for PC World, I’d much rather have one multi-purpose box in my living room than a bunch of specialty ones. There’s no one Ultimate Universal Box yet, but TiVo’s doing enough to keep me from buying and finding space for something like a Vudu or Roku box. But if you know of anyone who makes a cable-ready DVR/DVD/media streamer that also plays Wii games and can replace a Slingbox, please lemme know…


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Kim Nash Says:

    Blockbuster seems to have a lot of up its sleeve in terms of offering movies wherever, whenever customers want it. It also has a lot to overcome in terms of its reputation as a old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store. I get movie via several outlets — Netflix, PPV and Blockbuster — and in various formats. There’s no dominant way to deliver media right now. There may be 5 years down the road, but right now, it’s everyone’s game.

  2. Randy Says:

    Your link to the article about the different internet TV boxes goes to the Blockbuster OnDemand site and not the article. FYI.

    I find the VUDU Box to be the most complete out of all of them. I would rather pay per movie for selection and quality than a subscription of lower quality and something I may not want to watch.

    I think that is the key here. Tivo and Roku are continually adding different services to compliment the others. I don’t know anyone who wants to have a Netflix subscription, and occasionally have to go to the Blockbuster service to rent a movie, or grab it from Amazon VOD. Because of this I agree that one box should jump to the forefront.

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