Well, it looks like Home Media Magazine was right, Blockbuster is releasing their own set-top box. Well, like Netflix partnered with Roku, Blockbuster is partnering with 2Wire. The 2Wire MediaPoint digital media player is currently available for free if you pre-rent 25 movies for $99, or, another way to look at it, is you get the box for $99 with 25 free rentals. So at least they’ve done the right thing in matching Netflix’s pricing.
I didn’t think the Netflix STB would be successful, and frankly I’m still a bit skeptical in the long run, I think the real strong part of their service is their partnerships with TiVo, Samsung, LG, Microsoft, etc. It is a lot easier to sell a service for boxes already in homes then to sell new boxes. Unlike Netflix’s subscription-based service, Blockbuster’s service doesn’t require any subscription, it is strictly pay-per-rental. Which may appeal to those who don’t rent movies often enough to warrant a subscription. Another difference is that the Blockbuster service is a download service, not streaming like Netflix. That means users get full quality, no matter their broadband connection speed. On slower connections the rentals will simply take longer to download. And they can be downloaded in advanced and watched later.