updated 03:30 pm EST, Wed November 28, 2007
Blockbuster Mobile Video
Blockbuster Video is in the midst of developing a service that would let users bring video downloads more easily to cellphones, company chief James Keys says. The executive notes that his video rental firm is in talks with "virtually all" cellphone manufacturers as well as some software producers to create the service. Its exact function is not described but is believed to involve converting videos downloaded from an online store to a portable form. The decision came as the result of getting help in converting movies to play on a BlackBerry, Keyes says.
The Blockbuster head declined to note specific companies, which may determine the ultimate form of the service. Although using a BlackBerry for work, Keyes also uses an iPhone for personal communication. Blockbuster itself owns Movielink, which offers online movie downloads in a protected Windows Media Video format that to date only works with Windows PCs. Apple has so far resisted including Microsoft-made formats in iTunes and iPods but is widely suspected of developing its own rental option, including inadvertent leaks in the code for iTunes and Apple's media players.
Such an expansion is being integrated into a larger movement away from physical rentals at the financially struggling Blockbuster, which is also contemplating download kiosks and tying Movielink more directly into the Blockbuster website.