We first heard word of a Blockboster set-top box back in April -- and frankly, I promptly forgot about the whole thing. But NewTeeVee reports that Blockbuster execs told investors last week that a set-top box is indeed coming -- and in time for the holidays, as it turns out. Still no details on exactly when, or for how much -- or whether we're talking à la carte rentals (the Apple TV/Vudu pricing model) or a subscription service (the Netflix model). Personally, I'm amazed that Blockbuster's taken so long to get its streaming movie business off the ground, given that it snapped up Movielink more than a year ago.
So anyway ... can Blockbuster (which has been falling behind in its war with Netflix) still make a go of the set-top business? Maybe -- but only if it goes the Netflix way and gives subscribers free run of its online catalog. Or, how about this: Charge a nominal monthly fee, but hand out the boxes for free. If Blockbuster decides to charge for individual rentals, though, I think it'll be fighting a losing battle (if it isn't already, considering Netflix's sizable head start).