Blockbuster 2Wire Set-top Box  (Source: Blockbuster)
Blockbuster has teamed up with 2Wire for streaming MediaPoint player

Movie rental services are slowly transitioning from the DVD rentals that launched the market to streaming rentals. The streaming rental services are becoming more and more popular as movies are available on the first day of release and people become accustomed to watching films with set-top boxes.

Blockbuster and 2Wire announced today that they have teamed up to offer a new digital media player that allows streaming of rental movies from Blockbuster. The player is an on-demand video solution that offers connectivity options like HDMI, component, and composite.

Audio output is via Toslink and the system ships with a remote control. Physically the MediaPoint player is small at 8-inches x 8-inches x 1-inch making it roughly the size of the Apple TV hardware. Network connectivity options include Ethernet and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity.

Blockbuster says that the image is DVD quality and Blockbuster says that HD video content is supported as well. The device downloads films that can be watched immediately or saved to watch later. Full control over films is features with fast forward, rewind, and pause.

"The MediaPoint digital player, featuring BLOCKBUSTER ONDEMAND, is entertainment made easy. We are bringing Blockbuster, and the thousands of movies in our digital library, straight to customers' televisions," said Jim Keyes, Blockbuster Chairman and CEO. "The player is simple to use, delivers DVD quality video, and there's no monthly subscription commitment. We are delighted to team with 2Wire to give consumers this great entertainment product."

Perhaps the best news about the device is the price. The Blockbuster player is free, but users have to buy 25 movie rentals up front at $99. After the 25 movies have been viewed, additional rentals start at $1.99. New release movies are promised to hit the device in about 30 days, which will be the biggest issue many movie fans have with the player.

Apple offers many movies on its Apple TV rental service on the day they launch. Blockbuster is no doubt worried about cannibalizing its in store rental service. The Blockbuster device will also compete directly with the Netflix Roku set-top box introduced in May 2008.

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