Best Buy Goes Over-The-Top With CinemaNow


Electronics retailing giant Best Buy, reacting to slowing DVD sales, this month is debuting the CinemaNow video-on-demand service to sell and rent day-and-date downloads of movies and TV shows to broadband-connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and PCs.

Starting this month, Best Buy's CinemaNow service will be available on all of LG Electronics' new broadband-connected Blu-ray Disc players and home-theater systems, as well as to most PCs via CinemaNow also is expected to be available on other manufacturers' devices, including Best Buy's own Insignia brand, later this year.

Best Buy is offering the CinemaNow service -- which offers more than 20,000 titles for sale or rental -- through the previously announced deal with Sonic Solutions. Under that agreement, Best Buy owns the legal rights to the CinemaNow trademark, and will use it going forward to market the service to consumers.

In a similar move, Wal-Mart Stores earlier this year acquired Vudu, a startup that offers around 16,000 videos for rent or download-to-own through Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray Disc players and set-tops. 

Best Buy's initial product launch, which is expected to be followed by an improved and updated version later in 2010, will let customers browse, search and purchase premium content.

"The convenience, selection and flexibility of the CinemaNow service offers customers more freedom in the way they choose to consume entertainment from Best Buy," Best Buy senior vice president of entertainment Chris Homeister said in a statement. "This service, which complements our existing suite of digital entertainment brands, will be available to customers in their homes and on-the-go through a broad array of devices and will be brought to life in store with the help of our Blue Shirts and Geek Squad Agents."

Commented Mike Dunn, Fox Home Entertainment's worldwide president, "With a track record for bringing innovative technologies to a broad audience, Best Buy is in a great position to expand the market for on-demand home entertainment. We are thrilled to partner with them and provide a wide selection of entertainment that can be accessed across many popular devices."