Tech wrap: Blockbuster 2.0 – now streaming movies

September 23, 2011

There’s a new video streaming service on the block and it comes courtesy of an old, familiar name – Blockbuster. Blockbuster unveiled the video streaming service to subscribers of satellite provider Dish Network, which now owns Blockbuster, in a move to better compete against video rental giant Netflix and to lure customers from rival cable and satellite TV providers. Non-Dish subscribers will have to wait until Blockbuster launches a broader online streaming plan later this year, the company’s president told Reuters.

Called Blockbuster Movie Pass, the subscription service will start at $10 a month and includes DVD rentals by mail and at the company’s more than 1,500 stores. The service will offer up a selection of more than 3,000 movies streamed to televisions and 4,000 movies streamed to computers. The mail and store rentals include video games. Mail plus streaming with Netflix starts at about $16 a month. Will Blockbuster’s service be enough to threaten Netflix? Not a chance, argues CNET’s Roger Cheng. “Essentially, it’s a souped up Dish package,” writes Cheng. ” We were looking for something radically different from Dish, but we got an incremental new service plan instead.”

Amazon’s long-awaited tablet could be on its way soon. At least that’s the speculation that began floating around tech circles on Friday after the company announced plans to hold a press conference next Wednesday. Amazon declined to provide further details, but analysts were confident that the world’s largest Internet retailer will introduce its long-awaited tablet computer this year to expand in mobile commerce and sell more digital goods and services.

In other Amazon news, the company won another round in the patent fight over its “one-click” purchasing system as an appeals court ruled on Friday that it did not infringe technology patented by Cordance Corp. Separately, a peace treaty between California’s government and Amazon became official on Friday with Governor Jerry Brown’s signature on legislation striking a compromise between the two sides on taxing online sales.

Groupon’s chief operating officer is leaving to join Google five months after joining the company, and ahead of a highly-anticipated initial public offering. Groupon said on its official blog on Friday that Margo Georgiadis was leaving the daily deals company to take a job as President of Google’s Americas business.

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