Consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) and Samsung Corp. will be rolling out high-definition TVs (HDTVs) and other devices embedded with a Best Buy-branded digital storefront by the end of the year, sources say.
Last week, Best Buy announced a strategic partnership with TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) that opens the door for the big box retailer to sell digital content through HDTVs and other devices via its in-house brands, Insignia and Dynex.
Since then, Contentinople has learned that, not only will a Best Buy store be supported by its own brands, but that multiple big-name CE manufacturers are lining up to embed the digital storefront in their own devices. Chief among those will be LG and Samsung, according to sources. The store is expected to be in CE devices by fall, which would allow Best Buy and participating manufacturers to start selling them this holiday season.
Best Buy, LG, and Samsung already share a common partnership with Sonic Solutions (Nasdaq: SNIC), which would provide the backend distribution technology for the store. Sonic's CinemaNow storefront, which would be white-labeled for Best Buy, is already available on some LG Blu-ray players.
Sonic has also white-labeled its distribution technology and content to be used for a Blockbuster Inc. -branded digital storefront that will soon be available on Samsung HDTVs and other CE devices, as well as on TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) digital video recorders.
Sonic claims to have relationships with more than 250 content providers, and boasts more than 14,000 titles available through the CinemaNow store. Perhaps more importantly, the library will have new releases on the same "day and date" that they become available for DVD purchase.
Also included in the ecosystem is Widevine Technologies Inc. , which will provide the digital rights management (DRM), adaptive bit-rate streaming, and interactive DVD technology for the store.
With the online store at BestBuy.com and digital storefronts embedded in CE devices both protected by Widevine DRM technology, Best Buy customers will be able purchase a title once and stream it online through their PCs, watch it on their big-screen HDTVs, or take the content with them on supported devices.
By launching a storefront on CE devices, Best Buy aims to compete with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), which also sells digital videos online and through CE devices.
Amazon's video library has more than 40,000 assets, including "day and date" titles of its own. Amazon has CE partnerships with Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) and Panasonic to allow consumers to purchase streaming movies on their HDTV sets. Viewers can also buy Amazon titles on broadband-connected TiVo DVRs and Roku Inc. advanced set-top boxes.
When asked for comment, a Best Buy spokesman declined to talk about any specific relationships with CE manufacturers or other distribution channels. In an email, he wrote:
"We are always looking at new ways to add to our current portfolio of digital content. We are currently examining the distribution channels to deliver that content (case in point the TiVo deal) and we are looking for new ways to deliver that content to customers in the future."
Representatives from LG and Samsung could not be reached for comment.http://www.contentinople.com/author....&doc_id=179188