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Best Buy’s Digital Movie Service Launches Under CinemaNow Name

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Best Buy’s long-awaited entry to the online video download market is here. Best Buy said last June that under an agreement with Sonic Solutions’ CinemaNow movie service it would make movies and TV shows available for download and rent through BestBuy.com, as well as various devices it sells. The company now says, however, that starting this month it will be marketing the service using the CinemaNow trademark (which it owns) and make the films available at CinemaNow.com as well as through Blu-ray Disc players and HDTVs from several manufacturers, including *LG* Electronics.

Seemingly odd choice to use the CinemaNow brand instead of Best Buy since CinemaNow, which has been around since 1999, never took off. At the same time, since Best Buy will be marketing the new CinemaNow at its stores through its salespeople, it will be hard for users not to notice the connection. Best Buy’s official explanation for the naming, provided to the LA Times: “We spent nine months testing and focus-grouping and had an agency come up with names and couldn’t find any we wanted. It ended up being the perfect marriage because Sonic was not looking to be customer-facing.”

As for the service itself, Best Buy says the new CinemaNow will have a “highly-functional, straightforward user interface, and will deliver a high-quality viewing experience through enhanced playback technology.” One differentiator between its offering and that of rival Netflix: At least for now, users won’t need subscriptions to watch CinemaNow’s titles. Here’s the release.