BlockBuster heads to TiVo: Rent streaming movies for up to $4 a pop


Remember BlockBuster? For you younglings who don’t, it was a poplar retail chain that rented “videos” and “DVDs” to people, in person. It’s still around, but no one really uses it anymore. Anyway, BlockBuster just inked a deal with TiVO, which also isn’t doing too well—it currently has its smallest subscriber base since 2005—to bring BlockBuster-branded streaming movies to TiVo. Movies will cost up to $4 to rent.

TiVo, of course, isn’t married to BlockBuster; you can already rent streaming movies from Amazonand Netflix on your TiVo. Apparently the Amazon and BlockBuster movie libraries will be similar, but Netflix has “fewer new releases.” That’s what a TiVo VP says, at least.

I wonder, though, if it’s too little, too late for BlockBuster. (Look at that stock price (right now, $0.84).) If BlockBuster were the first company to offer streaming on TiVo, that’d be one thing; but it’s not. Nor is there a TiVo in every home—do you have a TiVo or a cable/satellite-provided DVR? (That the acronym “DVR” even means something to so many people is amazing in and of itself.) I mean, all the best to BlockBuster & Co., but it just feels a little same-y. On the other hand, this recession is encouraging people to stay home rather than paint the town red (read: dinner and a movie while a babysitter watches the kids), so maybe John and Jane Doe will see the BlockBuster logo in their TiVo interface and think, “Hey, let’s rent a movie!” I’m sure that’s what TiVo and BlockBuster are banking on.

But what do I know? I’d rather read or play Street Fighter IV than watch a movie these days.