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BBexpress digitalBlockbuster and NCR Corp. have partnered to create the Redbox-fighting Blockbuster Express kiosk network, and hope to have 10,000 of the machines in place by the end of next year.  The companies’ latest bid to steal market share from Redbox and VOD is a new pilot program consisting of digital download kiosks at select locations.

Customers use the kiosks to purchase an SD card containing a digital copy of a movie. Also installed on the SD card is digital rights management software (better-known by its sinister acronym: DRM). The software allows the movie to be watched for 30 days from the date of purchase. Additionally, once the customer has begun to watch the film, they have 48 hours until the content is locked to prevent further viewing.
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Initially, customers will be able to choose from more than 1,000 new release and catalog films, with more to come in the next few months.
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As digital downloading becomes more popular, Blockbuster Express is poised to integrate this capability into its existing kiosk network, according to Supermarket News. The digital rentals will be tested at various price points, with Fast Company reporting that the downloads will start at $1.99.

Between VOD, “cloud” digital distribution, traditional discs and this new technology, consumers have never had more options when it comes to getting home entertainment content. Do you consider Blockbuster Express’ new digital delivery method useful and convenient, Insiders? How do you see yourself getting your movies in the next year? In five years?

[via Fast Company and  Supermarket News]

18 Responses to “Blockbuster and NCR Test Digital Download Kiosks”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jonathan [visitor]

    A SD card?
    Does everyone have one of those slots on their DVD players?
    Or are they thinking we only watch movies on our computers? And again, does everyone have one of those slots on their computers?

  2. Member [Join Now]

    didnt some dvd company do this years ago , where you go out and could buy the movie for like 4 or 5 bucks and you had 48 hours to watch it once you started.,. of course that place failed and went belly up… I would do this if my tv had a slot on it and the price was 1.00 per movie

    • Member [Join Now]
      lakrow [jbromert]

      Those were divx discs (just a brand name I guess) – not to be confused with the divx codec used to compress video these days . That worthless format died less than a year after it was introduced. Landfills were practically the only market for them.

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Robert [visitor]

    So many companies are doing streaming now that I don’t think people are really gonna do this. Unless, of course, people find an easy way to get past the copy restrictions and can rip/record the movies.

    The summary here says that you get the SD card from the machine, but that doesn’t seem to make much sense. If people are really gonna watch these on a cell phone, they’d need a microSD card, after all.

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Ryan [visitor]

      Easier just to dl it. Why bother trying to rip it when you can dl it.

      and all you have to do with a micro sd is put it a sd adapter and stick it in the machine.

  4. Visitor [Join Now]
    acdahl [visitor]

    I see this as an interesting idea, but probably a bust for a couple of reasons.

    1. As was already mentioned, not everyone has the slots pre-existing in whatever piece of hardware they watch their movies on, for this to catch on, we either need a pre-existing medium or something so ‘hot’ that everyone has to have it.

    2. The cost will be bumped up slightly because every person that does this will require a new SD card, plus it is not very green, unless you can recycle them in the kiosk.

    3. The time frame is obnoxious, 30 days to watch and once you start, only 48 hours to finish? Why not just make it a flat amount of days?

    I give BBV props for trying something new, but why don’t they make it something a little more consumer friendly?

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    James [visitor]

    Well the only thing i can see as a advantage is a media center pc connected to your tv most media center pc’s i seen had a sd slot in it

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    Wesley [visitor]

    I’m curious how the DRM works. How does my TV know to respect the DRM on the SD card? Or will it only work in a Windows computer? I have a windows computer hooked up to my TV but there’s no way I’m going to let the king of hidden fees install software on it.

    For that matter, how big are the SD cards and can I wipe it and use it in my camera? That would be awesome. For $2, I might “rent” a movie and wipe the card without ever watching it.

  7. Visitor [Join Now]
    FalconFour [visitor]

    It has DRM, so it must only work on a system with heavy processing capabilities (read: ability to compensate for the DRM overhead). That means… a computer.

    And anyone that has a computer hooked up to a TV already has internet access. Sure, the two aren’t directly related, but show me one person that has a media center PC with no internet connection.

    And any computer with internet access can already stream a bigger selection of content without having to wait for the Flash writing process at the kiosk.

    This will fail. This will fail miserably, and I feel sorry for the poor computers that were put in the kiosks to live such a short, miserable life of trying to re-infect computers with DRM software…

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    Windows user #1: “Windows crashed in the middle of the movie and it took me more than 48 hours to reload windows and now I can’t watch my movie”.
    Windows user #2: “Windows doesn’t load the movie, I don’t know why”.
    Windows user #3: “Why doesn’t it work on win 95?”.
    Windows user #4: “What does out of resources mean?”.
    Windows user #5: “Where does this thing go?”.

    Nothing but problems. Bad platform for a business to depend on.

    These are the same people that take over your DVD player and stop you from fast forwarding past their stupid animated logos and it’s getting worse. Are you going to trust them with your computer? Spamware, spyware, nagware, un-removable ware, and you can bet they will popunder a IE window with their movie website and the studio website. They will be able to log your activity, like where you paused, where you FF, if you watched the previews and which ones you watched and all that. They know exactly who you are they have your CC info.

    To do a good job at DRM you have to stick little secret files on the system and possibly access them in strange ways that could cause problems with non standard hardware like in laptops or more custom setups.

    Just say NO to bastards.

  9. Visitor [Join Now]
  10. Visitor [Join Now]
    hmmm [visitor]

    downloads start at $1.99. SD price starts at?? no way I am taking my SD card in and out of my blackberry. can you imagine accidentally throwing away your contact list? instead of trying to come up with innovation, lets perfect the technology we have.

  11. Member [Join Now]

    Just out of curiosity why do you Redbox put out the movie if it is not available now i hate it when I set up to rent and its not avail.anywhere. You should say avail soon or not avail. Thank you other then that i think your service is Great

  12. Visitor [Join Now]
    Jimbo [visitor]

    This reminds me of the early days before ITunes was created. They talked about having a kiosk where you could purchase individual songs and have them burned on a CD while you waited. It never took off and neither will this. In addition to the fact that DRM is thankfully dying (and people hate it) the quality is going to suck. The quality of streaming movies is already questionable because of the compression. They’re going to try and cram a movie on the smallest SD card they can (probably 1-2GB) which means it will be even more compressed than a DVD. The only way to enforce the 48 hour viewing period is to force a “phone home” to start the timer. No thanks. Blockbuster should know better.

  13. Member [Join Now]

    As was referred to earlier in this post, this is the EXACT SAME APPROACH that the Circuit City-based Divx used, what with the 48 hr. window for viewing movies. I remember the few that had Divx also complained about too many artifacts in the picture as well. Divx is one big reason that Circuit City failed and is now out of business. Here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry:

  14. Member [Join Now]

    Also for those of you who don’t know exactly what an SD Card is, here’s the Wikipedia entry: