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Samsung to Add Blockbuster Access to some HD Devices

Apparently not to be outdone by Netflix, which wrote the book (albeit a short one) on DVD movie rentals in the digital age, rival Blockbuster continues to look for new distribution venues outside its myriad brick-and-mortar store chain to rent its wares. Its latest tactic (mimicking Netflix's recent new directions) is a team-up with Samsung to offer easy access to Blockbuster content via some of the maker's Blu-ray players, HD television sets, and home theater systems.

Blockbuster said its "OnDemand" service will provide "comprehensive on-screen search and browsing capabilities, as well as full details, ratings, trailers, and other information about each movie directly on the television, eliminating the need for customers to manage a viewing queue on their PC"—that last point taking a not-so-subtle dig at the online queues used by Netflix's 9.2 million subs.

Blockbuster said Samsung's line of HD products dedicated to accessing Blockbuster's library of content requires a user to press one button to prompt instant streaming. As with the Netflix-Sony deal, the new service is scheduled to begin this fall.

For those consumers who already own certain new Samsung Blu-ray players and home theater systems—as well as Samsung's LCD or plasma Series 650, and its LED Series 7000—also can obtain access to Blockbuster's OnDemand option via a free firmware upgrade for the applicable Blu-ray players and home theater systems.