Blockbuster VOD Going to Blu-ray Players

Hot on the heels of releasing its own set-top box, Blockbuster (s BBI) said it will expanding its on-demand video rental service into Blu-ray players in the first quarter of next year, as the company goes toe-to-toe with Netflix (S NFLX) over direct delivery of video content to your TV.

In an interview with E-Commerce Times posted over the weekend, Blockbuster CEO and Chairman Jim Keyes spilled the Blu-ray beans and other plans for the on-demand service:

We’ll be able to put the same capability into a Blu-ray player. We’ll go into DVRs (digital video recorders), game consoles, etc., just as others are doing to make the same capability available through other devices.

Not only is Blockbuster playing catch up with Netflix, it’s matching its video rival move for move. Netflix has the Roku set-top box; Blockbuster has the MediaPoint. Netflix is on LG and Samsung Blu-ray players; Blockbuster will deliver to Blu-ray devices. And will Xbox and TiVo, which have Netflix capabilities also have Blockbuster? Seems like a definite possibility, given Keyes’ statement.

The one area where Blockbuster won’t be copying Netflix is through its rental model. Blockbuster is sticking with the a la carte service in order to keep the new releases available, while Netflix has the subscription model, which inhibits its ability to get new releases, because of licensing issues with the studios.