Posted by: Cliff Edwards on November 3, 2009
Best Buy is stepping up its effort to promote downloadable content by choosing to make Sonic Solution’s CinemaNow service a common feature on all types of electronic devices it sells.
The retailer appears to be trying to standardize at least some of the software that electronics makers such as LG, Samsung and Sony install on their devices to let consumers download movies, television shows and other content. Best Buy had already been using CinemaNow for online video downloads.
CinemaNow competes with Apple’s iTunes and, to a lesser extent, Netflix’s and Amazon’s Unbox online download services.
Apple in particular represents a growing threat to Hollywood and retailers because it controls which movies and other software are funneled to its hardware, including computers, the Apple TV set-top box, iPods and iPhones. Cupertino (Calif.)-based Apple also has its own stores in which to sell products. As its devices grow in popularity, that king-making role is causing growing unease among Apple’s rivals.
When the hardware is in place, customers can buy or rent movies and television shows from CinemaNow and watch the same piece of content on any device that offers the service. Sonic and Best Buy said they are working with the studios to offer more content for download on the same day that physical media is released to DVD rental services such as Netflix and Redbox.
Best Buy will be taking a stake in Sonic as part of the pact. CinemaNow makes its money with a one-time fee from device-makers who adds its service, and it takes a cut of every video purchase.