Blockbuster to offer Movie-on-SD card rentals


blockbuster-sd-rental-kioskDriving all the way down the street to your local Blockbuster to pick up some old, decrepit physical media is a pain. Not to mention, cassette tapes are all but antique and DVD’s are losing their luster in this digital age. Blockbuster is one of those businesses who should be scared. Without any physical media to rent, how do they stay in business? SD cards, that’s how.

Blockbuster is currently undergoing a pilot program in which users can bring in their own SD card and load it up with movie rentals via various “rental kiosks” that are made by NCR corporation in partnership with MOD Systems. Simple insert your card, select your movies you’d like to rent, pay your dues and off you go.

If you’re looking to play the system and simply take home your rentals for quick and easy copies be forewarned — expect an extremely tight layer of DRM wrapped around them. The most notable of this new DRM is a time limit which will render the files unplayable after the expiration date has passed. Kind of cool I guess. Though if Blue-ray DRM can be cracked as fast as we’ve seen, some SD card DRM can’t be that hard can it?

Of course, other obvious questions such as “what do I play it in?” arise. A computer is a given. Game systems such as the PS3 are safe too. Though not many TV’s support SD cards yet, but it’s coming. But let’s not get to excited yet because if Blockbuster decides to use a specific form of DRM that requires certain hardware or software to play it, thereby limiting the devices it plays on, well, then this new venture is dead before it began. All in all, if you don’t have an SD card reading device, it’s easy to find some attachment or 3rd party add-on allowing such functionality. If you have a hard time finding an SD card reader in your house, you’re probably not the prime audience Blockbuster is gunning for to begin with. I don’t know how many boxes of memory cards I have. It’s like a graveyard I swear.

Personally, I think a microSD based system would fare better. Sure you have to worry about end users losing the cards more often, but Blockbuster isn’t footing the bill for the cards so it’s not their loss. With mobile phones and smartphones really taking off, being able to rent a movie on microSD and then watch it on your phone or other mobile device would be a pretty cool concept. Blockbuster, are you listening?

Do you think Blockbuster can starve off any more cash bleeds with this new SD rental program or do they just need to get over this whole physical thing already and make more aggressive strides online?



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    Author: Mike

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    Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!