There was a flurry of activity this week in the over-the-top video space as Samsung announced that its HDTVs will start streaming content from both Amazon VOD and Blockbuster (which will also be available on select Samsung Blu-ray players). This follows on the heels of Blockbuster being made available on TiVos. And if that wasn’t enough, Sonic Solutions said that its CinemaNow movie service will be available on connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players from Funai Electric Co. (which makes devices for Sylvania, Philips, Magnavox and Emerson).
Phew! That’s a lotta video delivered directly to your TV. The over-the-top dial is getting crowded, not just with these players, but also with Vudu, which is making moves to get its streaming service on more devices, and Netflix, which was one of the first in the direct-to-TV streaming space.
I wrote a longer piece on this for our subscription research service, GigaOM Pro, a few months back, in which I posed the question: When movies are available everywhere who wins? After all, if every movie service is on just about every device, and they’re all offering the same titles (for the most part), how do you choose?
In olden times, you might have been loyal to a particular video store because it was in your neighborhood, or it had better selection, or cuter clerks, who appreciated how sensitive you were for renting Sophie’s Choice. But geography and choice are no longer factors when everything’s accessible with a push of a button.
I’m not counting on the long-term viability of the smaller players like Vudu and CinemaNow as standalone services. Amazon, Netflix and even the battered Blockbuster have more mindshare and brand trust with consumers, plus many of us already have an account with Amazon and Netflix (though Netflix’s subscription service is a slightly different beast). And don’t get me started on Apple and its hobby, the Apple TV.
But how will you pick which movie service to use? Will it be based on picture quality? Price? Placement in connected device’s widget bar? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.