When consumer think of streaming movie and television providers, they might think of Netflix of BlockBuster or Amazon or CinemaNow or even Hulu…and maybe we can add old-time brick-and-mortar retailers Sears and Kmart to that list. Sears Holding Corp. has just announced a deal with Sonic Solutions to bring streaming movies and television shows to televisions and Blu-ray players for sale in its retail locations. Dubbed Alphaline, the company expects the service to be up and running in time for the end-of-year holiday buying season, and will be built into televisions and Blu-ray players manufactured by Sony, Panasonic, Sharp, RCA, LG, and Samsung.
“We see the DVD business declining over the next couple [of] years,” said Sears and Kmart’s home electronics VP Elliot Becker, in a statement. “We wanted to offer a service on all of the devices we sell, not just TVs, but Blu-ray (players), tablets, all the devices we’re in or going to get into.”
Sears and Kmart sales reps will be able to walk customers through the sign-up and setup process in the store, or customers can opt to take the units home hand handle the setup chores themselves.
Sonic Solutions is the same company behind the CinemaNow service that electronics retailer Best Buy is bringing to LG home theater gear as well as traditional PCs, as well as BlockBuster‘s streaming video service. Sonic Solutions also recently acquired Divx in a deal worth $300 million. Earlier this year, Walmart bought video streaming operator Vudu in a bid to set up its own video computing service.
Like CinemaNow and BlockBuster, Alphaline will offer nearly 5,000 new releases that can be streamed to customers’ home theaters via the Internet. Sears has not announced what kind of pricing or subscription model Alphaline will be using, or whether the cost of the service will be bundled into the purchase price of compatible devices.