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Blockbuster, Samsung Pair Up For Internet Flicks

Blockbuster, trying to beef up its Internet video strategy, is teaming with Samsung Electronics to embed access to the movie-rental chain's online on-demand service into Samsung HDTVs, home-theater systems and Blu-ray DVD players.

The pairing joins the scrum of recent partnerships in the over-the-top video arena. Last week, Netflix announced a deal with Sony Electronics to offer movies and TV shows on-demand via Bravia HDTVs, and TiVo hooked up in a tighter co-marketing alliance with Best Buy, which hopes to promote its digital content services.

In March, Blockbuster announced a deal with TiVo, which plans to add the Blockbuster OnDemand to its DVRs later this year in exchange for the retailer featuring TiVos in its outlets.

Blockbuster and Samsung expect to have Blockbuster OnDemand integrated into new Samsung Blu-ray disc players and HDTVs by the fall of 2009.

Under the terms of the agreement, Blockbuster will sell Samsung Blu-ray players with the integrated Blockbuster video-on-demand service at participating corporate-owned stores and franchise stores and online at, in addition to Samsung's existing retail channels. Blockbuster OnDemand will have "preferred positioning" on the Blu-ray interfaces.

The companies said consumers who already own certain 2009 Samsung Blu-ray players, home-theater systems and HDTVs can access the Blockbuster VOD offering via a firmware upgrade (for Blu-ray players and home-theater systems) or downloading the Blockbuster OnDemand widget to their HDTV sets.

Dallas-based Blockbuster remains predominantly tied to its bricks-and-mortar business, operating more than 7,200 stores worldwide.

Blockbuster debuted its own Internet-based video player last fall, manufactured by 2Wire, priced at $99 including 25 movie rentals. Subsequent rentals start at $1.99 each.

Blockbuster's chief competitor, Netflix, has 10.3 million subscribers for its DVD-by-mail service and provides access to more than 12,000 titles on-demand over the Internet.