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Blockbuster Upgrades On Demand Navigation

6 Jan, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Blockbuster Inc.’s move toward digital distribution took another step forward Jan. 6 when the Dallas-based No. 1 DVD rental service said it inked a deal with ActiveVideo Networks to improve its nascent video-on-demand (VOD) and electronic sellthrough user interfaces.

Blockbuster is hurriedly trying to shed the image of a singular brick-and-mortar rental service stuck in the 1990s, unable to compete with by-mail pioneer Netflix, kiosk vendor Redbox or digital distribution in general.

Specifically, San Jose, Calif.-based ActiveVideo will incorporate Blockbuster’s On Demand movie streaming and download service (formerly Movielink) into its so-called “Cloud TV” network that links to any digital set-top box or broadband connected CE device, including high-definition televisions.

The new Blockbuster user interface will enable viewers to more easily search, find and view titles by incorporating previews and trailers, as well as Web-based search and recommendation capabilities.

“In the digital age, simplifying the ability of the customer to quickly find the desired title is every bit as important as it has been in our stores,” said Ken Lewis, SVP of digital entertainment at Blockbuster. “By joining with ActiveVideo, we’re able to take a wide assortment of search and discovery tools that have proven their value on the Web and bring them to the television as part of an enhanced home entertainment environment.”

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