Blockbuster Will Release Its Own Set-Top Box Before 2009

Seems like the threat of Netflix partnering up with everyone for TV downloading services has spurred Blockbuster into action. The video rental chain is finally confirming rumours that it'll launch its own set-top box before the end of the year. For a "limited time," their 2Wire-built MediaPoint player will be free and give you an advance rental of "25 first-run movies, TV shows, foreign or classic films from Blockbuster On-Demand for $US99." Anything after that is $US1.99 a piece.

Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said the box—which measures 8x8x1 and includes two USB ports, an HDMI port, Ethernet and WiFi, and an SD slot—is just a trial to check out consumer responses and "keep up with emerging technology." Okay... except you know, Keyes, you're kind of going into an already crowded market now. When everybody and their mother already owns another set-top box offering, what are the chances they're going to switch to Blockbuster's option? [PCmag]