Movie rental outlet Blockbuster is now partnering with Microsoft to deliver movies on mobile devices, after the recent introduction of a set-top box for downloading movie rentals from the Internet to TV, MediaPost reported.
The new services are built on top of Microsoft's online software platform dubbed Live Mesh, which was launched in April and can share data from different devices via the Internet.
Live Mesh is already available on PCs for synchronising home and work computers, and will be compatible with Macs and Windows Mobile devices soon.
"Eventually, we'll give customers instant access to any movie on any device with an Internet connection and a screen," Keith Morrow, Blockbuster's chief information officer, told The Dallas Morning News, according to MediaPost.
The video-rental leader last week unveiled its MediaPoint digital media player. Competing against Netflix's Roku box which launched six months ago, it serves movies on TV via the Web. Blockbuster has been working on mobile players for several years. CEO Jim Keyes said last year that the company was negotiating with handset makers to develop new video technologies for watching movies on the go.
The company was developing a mobile chip, which enables sideload digital video content onto portable devices and explore over-the-air download options, according to Keyes at the beginning of this year, MediaPost reported.
A more immediate possibility is for travelers to "use the Live Mesh technology to download movies from Blockbuster digital kiosks to portable media players when passing through airports," said Morrow. The company is now testing digital download kiosks in some of its stores, according to MediaPost.
However, during the third-quarter conference call last month, Keyes said a roll-out of the digital kiosks should not be expected for at least the next 12 months.
"We're trying to get a read on how customers will respond to the availability of this content on a machine, their willingness to buy the portable device and to use the machine to reload their portable device," he added.