With Netflix pushing hard into the living room with the Netflix Player by Roku, Vudu offering an improved device (the BX100) with HD streaming, and, of course, Apple TV still hanging around, Blockbuster was bound to want to join the streaming movie club, even if the company is on the ropes. Finally, the movie rental (once) giant has hit this niche of the home theater market, teaming up with 2Wire to introduce the MediaPoint player, which costs $99 in the form of paying for 25 movie rentals in advance. (So, free, but not.)
Subsequent rentals from Blockbuster OnDemand will cost $1.99 and up; downloads for your PC currently run $3.99 for newer releases. Movies can play immediately or can be stored on the MediaPoint unit, though neither company announced how much storage is on the player. Content can be transmitted wirelessly through the player's built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi or wired through its Ethernet port. Video outputs include HDMI, component video, and composite video, while audio can be sent via a digital optical Toslink connection. You can currently order the MediaPoint device at Blockbuster's Web site; presumably it will be available at the company's bricks-and-mortar locations.