Report: Video Ezy in talks with Apple about in-store iPod movie filling stations

“Video Ezy is in talks with Apple over ways the companies can become partners on delivering movies to the video chain’s customers electronically,” Asher Moses reports for The Age.

“The chain has long planned to offer customers the ability to walk into any of its stores with a storage device such as an iPod and load it up with movies, which they could then take home to watch on a dedicated set-top box,” Moses reports. “Video Ezy’s general manager, Andrew Gardiner, said the eBox electronic rental system would also be offered in Blockbuster stores. Video Ezy’s acquisition of Blockbuster Australia was given the green light by the competition regulator yesterday.”

“He would not go into any further detail but said the discussions with Apple had been going on for about a year. A spokesman for Apple Australia refused to comment,” Moses reports.

“Customers would only pay the 24-hour rental fee, part of which would go to the franchisee, once they started watching a movie. The system would reduce the number of store visits because it was possible to download up to 40 movies in one visit and pay for them only as they were watched,” Moses reports. “Mr Gardiner said the set-top box, which customers would need to buy in order to use the eBox system, would be offered in various configurations to suit different price points. He said it was likely the cheapest version would cost less than AUD$300 (US$250) and the most expensive version would be about AUD$500 (US$400).”

Full article here.

17 Comments

  1. Here we go again. Why do they expect consumers to keep buying different equipment all the time? The power of the internet (iTunes) is that I don’t have to go into a store to get my movie. Especially Blockbuster. I haven’t been in a Blockbuster in ten years and never will go into one in the future. Netflix works great for me for rentals. I prefer iTunes for owning.

    If you build it (universal access, easy UI, decent prices, etc…), people will come.

  2. Thats silly, it would make more sense for Apple just to do rentals via the AppleTV. Easier for the consumer to surf from their couch and hit the rent button and watch it right away, no needing to go to a store.

  3. I won’t be buying movies from iTunes anytime soon and I doubt I’ll rent them if and when they become available. Same for loading up an ipod at a Blockbuster store.

    Might work in airports or similar places where you have a captive audience.

    You see, the studios will want to charge too much for a low-quality rental with too many restrictions. And forget buying movies even on DVD, with the exception of the ones you must own.

    I’ll just go to the grocery store across the street and rent new releases for .99/day from a vending machine. I’m in there all the time anyway and you can’t beat the price. And, if I really like the movie, I could use Mac The Ripper to keep a copy.

    What do you think?

  4. “dedicated set-top box”

    No thanks.

    Remember DIVX (not the video codec)?

    “DIVX was a rental format variation on the DVD player in which a customer would buy a DIVX disc (similar to a DVD) for approximately $4US, which was watchable for up to 48 hours from its initial viewing. After this period, the disc could be viewed by paying a continuation fee, typically $3.25. DIVX discs could only be played on special DIVX/DVD combo players that needed to be connected to a phone line. DIVX player owners had to set up an account with DIVX to which additional viewing fees could be charged. The player would call an account server over the phone line to charge for viewing fees similar to the way DirecTV and Dish Network satellite systems handle pay-per-view. Viewers who wanted unlimited viewing of a particular disc could pay to convert the disc to a “DIVX silver” disc for an additional fee. The physical disc was not altered in any way. The viewer’s account kept track of the status of each disc. “DIVX gold” discs that could be played an unlimited number of times on any DIVX player were announced at the time of DIVX’s introduction, but no DIVX gold titles were ever released.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIVX

  5. ” The power of the internet (iTunes) is that I don’t have to go into a store to get my movie”

    Until iTunes Australia gets its A into G and actually gives us something longer than Pixar’s short films to watch then I might agree with you. Coupled with Aussie Telcos offering strangled (yes i’m looking at you Telstra) broadband speeds from the dark ages that are a total disincentive for movie downloads, I find it not surprising that VideoEzy is even considering this kind of offer.

  6. “Why would Apple need this company when they have all the hardware arsenal
    to simply do it themselves at Apple Store and Best Buy locations?”

    Er.. because Apple has yet to open it’s first store in Australia yet?
    (Best Buy, Wal-mart and any other amero-centric company don’t exist here either btw).

  7. Buying movies.

    DVD or iTunes.

    If Blockbuster in North America gets this.
    There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I will FORK OUT
    300 bucks to harness my iPOD to my TV or what ever this BOX is.

    I am sticking with MY DVDs or iTUNES downloading.

    The idea is nice… but this EXTRA hardware is NOT.

  8. Yes, the idea of walking into Blockbuster and downloading 30 movies (DVD or better quality) at USB2 speeds (as compared to internet speeds) then watching them whenever (with a possible option to buy) is not a bad idea. Heck, it might even be nice to just be able to buy the movies from the start, kind of like the Starbucks iTMS wifi set up. When you get back home they automatically transfer back into your computer via iTunes.

    The extra box however… phooey! Now you just aborted the whole concept before it even takes its first breath. I mean, now you have your receiver, your DVD player, your cable box, your AppleTV box, your iPod and you’re going to add yet another one-trick-pony to the set-up.

  9. “I’ll just go to the grocery store across the street and rent new releases for .99/day from a vending machine. I’m in there all the time anyway and you can’t beat the price. And, if I really like the movie, I could use Mac The Ripper to keep a copy.”

    @ipodg8tr– I was with you all the way until your last sentence. It’s comments like that that have saddled us with DRM and kept the studios paranoid.

  10. Has anyone ever heard of MovieBeam? It’s about $300 for the box, and $3 per movie viewing; and you can’t watch new releases right away! You have to wait about a month after the movie is released on DVD! I’ve seen a half dozen set-top boxes like this and none of them are worth an eighth of the asking price!

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