Amazon vs. Blockbuster vs. CinemaNow, Which VOD Service Will You Use?

There was a flurry of activity this week in the over-the-top video space as Samsung announced that its HDTVs will start streaming content from both Amazon (s AMZN) VOD and Blockbuster (s BBI) (which will also be available on select Samsung Blu-ray players). This follows on the heels of Blockbuster being made available on TiVos. And if that wasn’t enough, Sonic Solutions said that its CinemaNow movie service will be available on connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players from Funai Electric Co. (which makes devices for Sylvania, Philips, Magnavox and Emerson).

Phew! That’s a lotta video delivered directly to your TV. The over-the-top dial is getting crowded, not just with these players, but also with Vudu, which is making moves to get its streaming service on more devices, and Netflix (s NFLX), which was one of the first in the direct-to-TV streaming space.

I wrote a longer piece on this for our subscription research service, GigaOM Pro, a few months back, in which I posed the question: When movies are available everywhere who wins? After all, if every movie service is on just about every device, and they’re all offering the same titles (for the most part), how do you choose?

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UPDATED: Blockbuster Expands Its Online Rental Plans

Update: We spoke with Sonic about the future of CinemaNow, new info. after the jump.

blockbuster2After watching Netflix (s NFLX) storm this year’s CES by announcing a bunch of partnerships for its streaming movie service, Blockbuster (s BBI) is making its own digital distribution moves.

Blockbuster said today it will expand its online movie rental service reach to a number of Internet-connected consumer electronics devices through a new partnership with Sonic Solutions (s snic). Through this deal, Blockbuster movie rentals would be available through PCs, mobile phones, broadband TVs, Blu-ray disc players and more. Blockbuster will be providing the interface and Sonic will power the content delivery.

sonic_logo1 cinemanow

This is a fast way for Blockbuster to get up and running on a number of devices as Sonic, which purchased online movie service CinemaNow last November, has relationships with electronics makers such as Samsung, Dell (s dell), HP (s hpq) and TiVo (s tivo).

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Dell, Qflix Deliver Legal Movie Burning

Movie downloads are great…if you want to watch them on your PC, that is. Media extenders and other devices will let you stream content from your PC so you can view it on your TV, but they’re often difficult to install and don’t always work as advertised. Transferring that content to a DVD should offer a simpler solution, but copy protection schemes have made it a legal headache — especially for retailers who want to allow their customers to browse content digitally and burn their own DVD right in the store.
While the idea of direct-to-DVD downloads has been tossed around for years — and a few other products are in the works — your only (legal) option, for now, is the Dell Qflix DVD Burner. This $120 drive allows you to burn copies of DRM-protected downloads so that you can watch them away from your PC. It works as advertised, but right now its appeal is pretty limited. Read More about Dell, Qflix Deliver Legal Movie Burning

Vid-Biz: Sonic Solutions, Comcast, TV Guide

Sonic Solutions Buys Simple Star; Sonic’s Roxio to incorporate platform that allows people to turn video clips into shows that are shareable to PCs, TVs and social networks. (VentureBeat)

Comcast iGuide Time Shifts Itself; glitch made guide listings off by two and a half hours for Bay Area channel NBC11, making programmed DVRs useless. (NBC11)

Macrovision Shareholders Approve TVGuide Buyout; the company reportedly will sell off the print and oldteevee assets, but retain the online portion. (paidContent)

Economic Slump Could be Boon for Movie Biz; families that can’t afford a vacation could turn to theaters for summertime fun. (The LA Times)

FCC Chair Under Fire; Kevin Martin may be called by Congress to defend his leadership. (The Washington Post)

Motorola and Widevine Sign Reseller Agreement; pact allows Motorola to sell, service and support Widevine’s DRM products. (release)