An old, lumbering giant takes a shaking step forward into the future today. Blockbuster, king of the VHS and DVD era, is trying to move into the digital age by creating a series of kiosks capable of loading movies onto SD cards. Customers will be able to 'rent' DRM-loaded movies with a set expiration date, claims Fast Company. These kiosks will be marketed for smartphone and laptop viewing, so expect to see a lot of them in airports soon.
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So, will this latest move help Blockbuster to compete with the growing success of streaming movies (like Netflix's Watch Instantly option) and services like iTunes? I doubt it. Blockbuster will be charging a lot, in the neighbourhood of $4 a film. That doesn't come close to being a competitive price, yet another sign of Blockbuster's inability to get with the times. They're going to have to get used to lowered profit margins; the business has changed.
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The kiosks themselves look pretty nice, and the idea itself is a great one. When I'm travelling around with my laptop and netbook, I have access to multiple SD cards but no optical drive. With the huge popularity of ultraportables and netbooks, my situation is far from unique. Offering movie rentals via SD is a really convenient thing, but they're going to have to cut down that price. I could see $4 per rental being fair, IF they give users the option of a subscription plan that rivals Netflix for cost.