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Kmart, Sears Offering Streaming Movie Service

Looks as though video streaming has officially gone mainstream, as Sears and Kmart--both owned by Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings Corp., are now jumping on the digital video service bandwagon. The move shouldn't be all that surprising--competitors are also taking the digital route, and eventually the overall trend will cause physical sales to taper off.

Set to go live this holiday season, the new Sears/Kmart video service--Alphaline Entertainment--will be available on Internet-ready Blu-ray players and HDTVs from Sharp, Sony, Panasonic, RCA, and more.

Powering the new service will be Sonic Solutions' RoxioNow platform, the same one used by Best Buy and Blockbuster's online video offering. RoxioNow will provide consumers a complete range of regularly updated movies and TV shows for rent or purchase, including new releases often on the same day DVDs become available at retail stores.

"Teaming up with Sonic is a great opportunity for Sears and Kmart to quickly establish a position in digital video entertainment, and offer another great service to our customers," said Karen Austin, President of Home Electronics for Sears Holdings. "With direct access to so many movies and TV shows from a broad range of devices, our customers will have the ability to obtain the latest high-quality entertainment virtually anywhere, anytime."

According to Sonic, Sears plans to embed the streaming service on devices outside its Blu-ray and HDTV lineup including portable media players and mobile phones--tablets are not in the overall plan for now. No actual specifics were mentioned in regards to pricing, however Best Buy's CinemaNow offers new flicks like Shutter Island, Avatar, and Alice in Wonderland for $19.95--rentals range from $2.99 to $4.99, depending on the title.