Best Buy Adds CinemaNow Movie Service - Twice

Best Buy Adds CinemaNow Movie Service

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Minneapolis -

Best Buy

said Tuesday it has acquired the rights to use the CinemaNow name for its streaming movie and TV show service that will be offered through apps on various connected CE devices, including TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, game systems, PCs and various mobile products.

The service, which is being facilitated for Best Buy by Sonic Solution's Roxio unit, will provide customers same-day instant access to new-release movies and TV shows.

While Sonic will continue to power multiple retailers, including Blockbuster, through its RoxioNow infrastructure, CinemaNow will be Best Buy's brand to communicate to its customers, the company said.

Best Buy said the newly branded CinemaNow service will launch later this month through select connected Blu-ray players and TVs with Internet connectivity, and on most PCs via the web at

www.cinemanow.com

.

Beginning this month, the service will be available on select LG Blu-ray players, including all BD500 series players and home theater in a box packages, Best Buy said.

Shortly after the launch, Best Buy said the service also will be available on most Internet-enabled Samsung Blu-ray players and TVs.

CinemaNow is also expected to launch on an array of other devices from various manufacturers including Insignia later this year.  

The news follows an announcement earlier this year that Sonic Solutions and Best Buy would work together on a service powered by the RoxioNow technology platform.

Best Buy's CinemaNow service will give customers the ability to buy or rent from an extensive library of premium content, including new release movies and TV shows, with no subscription required.

Premium content will also be accessible seamlessly on a wide range of Internet-connected devices from multiple manufacturers.

The initial launch version of the CinemaNow service will allow customers to easily browse, search and purchase premium content through an easy to navigate user interface, and will deliver a high-quality viewing experience through enhanced playback technology.

A small portion of the service's overall title offerings will be available in up to 1080p HD resolution, Best Buy said, but the intention is to make HDTV a major part of the portfolio, along with future technology offerings, including 3DTV.

Currently, streaming 3DTV titles are being tested for the service for a future offering, Best Buy said.

The big differentiator, said Chris Homeister, Best Buy entertainment senior VP, will be Best Buy's ability to offer new release movies day and date with DVD releases, without the 28-day window imposed on other pay-per-view platforms.

"Most of the DVDs that will be released to Best Buy in the physical environment will also be available to our customers in the digital environment that same day," he said. "We also look at our ability to provide different value propositions of combining a digital video services with the purchase of digital televisions as we look to seek opportunities for the consumer to seek digital content just as they seek physical content in our stores today."

Later in the summer Best Buy will begin transforming its stores around the concept of connected entertainment, showcasing both the CinemaNow and Napster connected entertainment services, Homeister said.

The big-box retailer also expects to benefit from having the service sold on products by hardware partners through other retailers, said Ryan Pirozzi, Best Buy movies director.

Pirozzi said the Best Buy plans

"to leverage the power of the Best Buy name" in the CinemaNow logo in select applications, the same way that it is occasionally associated with the Napster music-download service today.

He said whether or not the Best Buy logo appears with the CinemaNow name will depend on agreements with manufacturers. LG products carrying the CinemaNow app will omit the Best Buy trademark.

"I think it will be fascinating to watch as this takes shape as potentially multiple retailers start shipping products with potentially their competitors services on the products they sell," Pirozzi said.

Asked if competitive retailers should see movies services such as CinemaNow or Walmart's Vudu as potential Trojan horses, Pirozzi said: "I hope you don't see a battle in the market in which we are all selling our own exclusive SKUs. I think that is probably a loss for the industry."

He compared attempt to block such products and services to Best Buy trying to block access to Walmart.com on PCs it sells.

CinemaNow will charge "industry standard" prices with rental fees ranging between $2.99 and $3.99, while purchases of digital playback rights will range from $9.99 to $19.99, each.

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