You can be forgiven if you don't remember Best Buy announcing six months ago that it was working with Sonic Solutions (maker of Roxio software) to create its own Internet video service to compete against like Netflix, Amazon On Demand Video, iTunes, and so on. At the time, the retailer didn't have a name for the service, which would be based on the Roxio CinemaNow offering. Today, Best Buy rolled out more details on its online movie store, including a nameCinemaNow.
At some point, Best Buy acquired the trademark for CinemaNow, and will no doubt be heavily promoting the name for its service, which will start renting and selling movies online by the end of the month. Expect the current CinemaNow site to be given a yellow-hued face lift, though the pricing ($3.99 to rent, $19.95 to buy new releases) will probably stay the same. Like its a la carte competitors, CinemaNow will offer many more new titles than the subscriber-based Netflix Watch Instantly, though the subscription can costs as little as $8.95 per month.
In addition to viewing CinemaNow titles on your PC, you can see them through new connected Blu-ray players and home theater systems from LG. Support from other manufacturers, including Samsung (according to the Associated Press), will come later this year, including from Best Buy's house brand, Insignia.
While Best Buy says it doesn't expect Internet video to dent DVD sales until 2012, the company is obviously laying the groundwork for that day, as Walmart has by recently acquiring Vudu. Netflix stands apart with the subscription model, while there are a number of a la carte options that will be pared down as the fight over this share of the market begins heating up.