The Latest Competition to Netflix Comes From… Sears?

When you want to stream a movie online, are Sears and K-Mart the names that come to mind? Probably not. But Sears (which owns K-Mart) has launched a movie download service called Alphaline Entertainmant, and hopes to become a competitor with other more established sites. The goal is to provide a full line of digital purchases and rentals and “embed the services at a chip level” to a growing slate of digital devices. More info after the break.

A press release announces the service, which is available now. Prices aren’t great, but they might be competitive, at least for rentals. The Town will cost $19.99 to purchase as a digital download, but only $3.99 to rent. But that’s the same cost to rent as Amazon, and the digital purchase price is ten dollars more at Alphaline.  It’s amusing to see Restrepo featured prominently on the front page, however, since that is streaming on Netflix as I write.

I was tempted to present this as an LOL post, but then I thought about the fact that competition can come from anywhere, and stranger things have happened than an old retail and catalog giant becoming a player in the movie space. The company will have to become more competitive with prices, though, if there’s any real hope of sticking around for more than a year or two.

Here’s the full press release.

RoxioNow-Powered Alphaline Entertainment Service Now Live and Providing Consumers Instant Access to Movies and TV Shows

NOVATO, Calif., Dec. 28, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Sonic Solutions® (Nasdaq: SNIC) today announced that RoxioNow™ platform licensee, Sears, has officially launched its online movie download service, Alphaline Entertainment http://alphaline.roxionow.com. The new service enables Sears and Kmart customers to download entertainment online, including new movies on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Sonic is working with Sears on a multi-phase rollout that includes making the service available from a broad range of connected devices and ensuring compatibility with studio-supported digital programs.

Sonic’s multi-year agreement with Sears extends the reach of the RoxioNow platform which powers a range of digital services for leading brick and mortar retailers, cable operators, PC manufacturers, game system vendors, consumer electronics makers, and Hollywood studios’ direct-to-consumer initiatives. Sonic and Sears are teaming to embed the services at a chip level on a growing network of devices including portable media players, Blu-ray Disc players, mobile phones, and high-definition television sets from leading manufacturers.

“Collaborating with Sonic provides a great opportunity for Sears and Kmart to launch digital services for customers seeking even faster access to the latest in home entertainment experiences,” said Karen Austin, President of Consumer Electronics for Sears and Kmart. “We’ll continue to increase the reach and flexibility of the Alphaline Entertainment service by providing consumers on-demand access to the latest entertainment from a range of home and mobile electronics.”

“The Sears launch represents an important milestone for Sonic, with another RoxioNow-powered storefront now open for business,” said Mark Ely, President of Strategy, Sonic Solutions. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Sears and bringing Alphaline Entertainment to consumers through a broad range of connected devices.”

The RoxioNow platform serves a broad range of premium content, including new movies and next-day TV programs, to a growing, multi-manufacturer ecosystem of home and mobile electronics. RoxioNow enables storefronts for brick and mortar retailers, cable operators, PC manufacturers, game system vendors, consumer electronics makers, and Hollywood studios’ direct-to-consumer initiatives. The platform allows these companies to participate in the entertainment supply chain, add value to product offerings, and form ongoing relationships with customers. “Powered by RoxioNow™” stores enable consumers to instantly rent and purchase high-quality entertainment on their favorite devices and, through the RoxioNow online entertainment library, access their content at any time, on any RoxioNow-powered device.

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