Blockbuster Launches On-Demand Video Service

The Associated Press is reporting that Blockbuster will begin renting movies and TV episodes through a new device in another effort to hedge its 7,500 retail stores against the burgeoning online and mobile video markets.

Blockbuster’s new strategy, using a box built by 2Wire called MediaPoint, is similar to recent efforts by Netflix, with its Roku device, and Apple, with its Apple TV and iTunes Movie Rentals.

In addition, the report said that Blockbuster’s foray into on-demand video also pits them against “instant-gratification services already offered by major cable carriers like Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc.”

Blockbuster is selling the new box for $99 including 25 free on-demand movie rentals. After that, Blockbuster will charge $1.99 and up for each on-demand rental. Unlike the Apple TV, which works on iPods and iPhones, there’s no way to access Blockbuster or Netflix on-demand rentals on mobile devices yet.