Blockbuster Makes Life Easy For Couch Potatoes

Dennis Faas's picture

Blockbuster has launched a service might save couch potatoes from travelling to their doorstep. The online MediaPoint player allows customers to 'rent' any of 2,000 titles for immediate viewing.

The announcement may be the answer to Blockbuster's continued difficulty in making a viable business out of Movielink, the online video company it bought last year. The firm was created by a partnership of the major movie houses which appears to have lost a massive amount in selling to Blockbuster for $20 million. (Source:

The new service is Blockbuster's answer to similar offerings by Netflix and Apple. Unlike the rival services, there is no subscription fee for Movielink, with customers paying a rental fee for each movie.

In theory there is no charge for the Movielink box (the Netflix device costs $99 while Apple TV costs around $229 but can also stream content from a computer). However, customers can only get the box by paying $99 up front, which covers the first 25 rentals. After this, rentals will cost between $1.99 and $3.99. (Source:

It's notable that no movie rental company has yet taken the gamble of giving boxes away without any charge to attract a larger audience in the same way as happens in some markets (for example British satellite television). However, Blockbuster says the average customer rents around 20 DVDs a year, so $99 might well come across as a deal.

The two major selling points of the Movielink system appear to be that it's easier to use (unlike the Netflix box, you don't need to select titles on a computer first) and that it has a better selection of new releases.

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