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Friday, 11 April 2008 07:37

Set top box on the horizon from Blockbuster

Written by David Stellmack

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Competition coming for Apple TV?


It seems that Blockbuster will be entering the streaming media market space with its own set top device. The device is said to be akin to Apple TV in design and functionality and it will, of course, target the movie rental space.

Blockbuster and Apple are not the only two in the market segment, as Netflix has been working on a similar device in conjunction with LG Electronics. Of course, Microsoft’s Xbox Live service already offers a wide selection of content and TiVo also has gotten into the act with its Series 3 device that uses Amazon’s Unboxed service.

Not to be left out, Sony is expected to start offering a similar service for the PlayStation 3 soon. Even satellite provider DirecTV is trialing its new streaming video on demand services that use the Internet to download content into satellite boxes.

According to many in the industry, Hollywood is determined to grab streaming market share, as it wants this to be the delivery method of the future to do away with physical media. Of course, ditching the physical media of discs does reduce cost, but, of course, with the limited bandwidth found in most the quality will not be as good as the best quality 1080 HD content that is available.

Apple TV will need additional work to continue to make headway in this market segment and one has to wonder if Apple will want to continue working on something that might only be best described as work in progress at this point. With all of the new players coming into the streaming market space it also has to be said that maybe all of the offerings will just wind up confusing consumers in the end.

It is hard to really know what the customer wants, and whether those who are not technology savvy will flock to this technology or not. While it is obvious that Blockbuster needs to branch out, as it has lost so much market share to Netflix, one has to wonder if Blockbuster is already too late and the train has already left the station. The real question is “How do consumers want to receive their movies and what is the best way to deliver and package it at a price that consumers are willing to pay?”

At least for the moment, no one knows the answer; but one thing is for sure… with all of these devices that may or may not be able to interact with each other, because of competing DRM technologies isn’t Apple in the best position with Apple TV and iPhone to offer the best convergence platform? Will this ultimately decide which direction streaming content heads?

Last modified on Friday, 11 April 2008 08:12

David Stellmack

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