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K-Mart and Sears move in on Netflix with online download service

Netflix may have stronger competition as both K-Mart and Sears move into the digital download market with a new online service. Alphaline Entertainment will allow customers to download and watch movies the day they are released. This gives the service an edge over Netflix, which is under agreement with movie studios to not release films until a full 28 days after DVD release.

Sears struck a new agreement on Tuesday that eliminates the time gap between DVD release and digital download, which will no doubt attract excited movie buffs. The multi-year deal will run on a platform by Sonic Solution, the company that is also responsible for RoxioNow and has recently acquired DivX. The service is reportedly set to be available on mobile phones as well as HDTVs. Only time will tell if the service will topple Netflix’s reign or go the way of Blockbuster’s failed attempt.

Unlike Netflix, movies will be available for download on a non-subscription basis, which means that they will be more expensive but without a monthly commitment. With same-day downloads already available on iTunes and Comcast’s OnDemand service, we doubt that users of those services or subscribers to Netflix will flock to make a switch.