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Blockbuster 'Movie Pass' Gets New Name, Enhanced Features

8 Jan, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming service now called ‘Blockbuster @Home’

Dish Network Jan. 8 said it is changing the name of its Blockbuster Movie Pass streaming platform to Blockbuster @Home.

Launched last October, Movie Pass allows new Dish satellite TV subscribers to access movie disc rentals via Blockbuster By-Mail and in-store, in addition to streaming titles and video games for an additional $10 monthly.

Starting Jan. 9, @Home subs can now stream 10,000 movies and TV shows to the TV and 25,000 to the PC. The former Movie Pass had just 3,000 titles available for streaming. In addtion, Dish is adding 3,000 streaming titles suitable for children, including programming from Vivendi Entertainment, Cookie Jar, Lionsgate and Scholastic Media.

Kids titles include “Veggie Tales,” “Inspector Gadget,” “Goosebumps,” “Heathcliff,” “I Spy,” “Madeline,” “Strawberry Shortcake," among others.

“The Blockbuster brand is known for two things: family and movies and now we offer our customers more of both,” said Dave Shull, SVP of Programming with Dish. “Our kid’s programming expansion provides families an even bigger selection of shows that are exciting and educational.”

Concurrently, Dish signed a multi-year deal with Univision that makes 3,500 novelas and Spanish-language VOD movies available to Blockbuster @Home. The agreement includes distribution of Univision’s networks: the Univision Network, TeleFutura, Galavision and a suite of six TV channel offerings - De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson, Telehit and Clásico TV.

In addition, Dish upgraded its remote app for the iPad so that going forward, subscribers of Blockbuster @Home or any premium pay-TV channel such as HBO or Cinemax can stream myriad VOD movies and TV shows on the popular Apple tablet.

Increased portability is Dish’s effort — via a TV Everywhere platform — to lure and sustain subscribers enticed by less expensive over-the-top services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“Dish has raised the bar when it comes to developing innovative ways to watch TV, whether on a big screen TV in your living room or on an iPad at the airport,” said Vivek Khemka, VP of product management. “[Our] customers have a wide variety of entertainment options found nowhere else. Our enhanced app makes it easy to watch TV everywhere and delivers the ultimate entertainment experience.”

Streaming movies and TV shows using the enhanced Dish Remote Access app requires a Dish log-in ID and a broadband-connected iPad. The Dish Remote Access App is available for free to authenticated subscribers at iTunes.

Dish subs can also watch live TV on the iPad through a Dish Sling Adapter and a broadband-connected compatible Dish HD DVR receiver. More information is available at dishnetwork.com/tveverywhere/remoteaccess.

Separately, Dish partnered with Thuuz to create an enhanced Google TV application that helps sports fans instantly find the best live and upcoming games to watch on television.

Using special computer algorithms, the Thuuz Android app monitors the excitement levels during broadcasts of Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, soccer, cricket and rugby games, along with both pro and college football and basketball. When the excitement level on field reaches a crescendo, an alert pops up on the Google TV screen to let the viewer tune to the action immediately.

Dish is the only pay TV provider to pair a set-top box with Google TV devices. The Thuuz application can also automatically record the most exciting moments of the game for later viewing.

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