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
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
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
“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
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.