updated 09:30 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2008
Blockbuster Apple TV Rival
Blockbuster today is subject to rumors which claim the movie rental house is developing its own networked media hub. Similar to stand-alone devices such as the Apple TV or the Vudu, the unnamed project would let users watch Internet-streamed movies on TV and would take advantage of Blockbuster's union with Movielink to supply the content, with an unnamed electronics maker assembling the hardware itself. The device could be announced as early this month, though it may not be available until at least May.
A spokeswoman for the video store declines to confirm or deny the rumor but says it's "not surprising" that it exists in light of Blockbuster's wider digital initiative. The company has already set out plans for digital download kiosks for portable media players and a download service for cellphones, both of which are meant to recover the company's ailing physical video rental business.
An effort by Blockbuster would compete both with Apple and Vudu services but also an officially revealed effort by Netflix, which is teaming up with LG to produce a system similar to the Blockbuster model with its own media streaming device that would also offer movies from an existing Internet service through TVs.