Android Police reports that Blockbuster has quietly launched an on-demand service for Windows XP SP3 and newer, Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 and newer, Samsung Smart TVS and Blu-ray players, the Roku 2 set-top box, and Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" and newer. Notice anyone missing from this group? That's right: iOS and Windows Phone currently isn't supported.
Blockbuster On Demand isn't a Netflix killer, but rather competes with the likes of Google Play, Amazon Instant Video and other online movie rental services. There are no options to purchase and store movies in the cloud: it's merely a rental service that offers a wide variety of fairly new and old titles across a number of devices. If anything, it's staying true to its roots, only moving from physical media to instant, on-demand digital rental access.
In addition to not having a subscription service, potential customers can't even see what Blockbuster's new service offers until they download and install the appropriate app: no browser-based grazing here. Once (reluctantly) installed, users then discover that they can't even stream HD content unless it's on an HDTV – all other devices including the PC are locked to Standard (SD) format.
On Windows, the app is broken into three panels: the video playback (top) and information (bottom) windows on the left, and the main library on the right. By default, Blockbuster presents tiles for new releases, most popular, genres, collections, and Oscar favorites. At the top of the app are options for the user's watchlist, the movie library access, and a search function. Users can even adjust bandwidth usage by clicking the wireless icon.
Blockbuster's closest competitor may be Redbox Instant by Version which just launched in beta. The difference of course is that Redbox offers a subscription that includes both streaming and physical disc rentals from a nearby kiosk. Blockbuster still has a number of physical stores open for business, but the streaming account is not associated with local disc rentals. The upside is that Blockbuster's on-demand service seems to have a newer selection of streaming movies – the jury is still out on Verizon's Redbox Demand.
The big surprise is that Blockbuster on Demand isn't available on iOS devices. Then again, maybe it's not surprising given Apple's required 30-percent cut of in-app purchases. The only way around this is to possibly develop an HTML5 app for making rental purchases, and an iOS app for playback only. But it may be a while before Blockbuster tackles that given the company needs to first build an audience through Android, Roku and the other platforms.