One month ago we introduced you to the NCR-manufactured Blockbuster kiosk that allows users to download movies to SD cards. The response was, to put it mildly, mixed. I finally saw one a couple of days ago while reporting a piece for next week's paper version of Unfair Park; there's one at the bright and shiny Preston Royal location, which the manager says maybe a couple of people have used since its installation at the end of November. Problem is, and no one said anything about this last month, the SD cards don't actually play without the GreenPlay adapter you see at right -- which runs $50, though, hey, it does come with an SD card gratis.
So, I asked Blockbuster chairman and CEO Jim Keyes -- again, a much longer interview with him runs next week -- what the what. This is his part of response:
We're way ahead of our headlights when it comes to the technology. The technology, to be able to load [a movie on] an SD card in two minutes and watch it on a device, absolutely works. The technology exists. The problem is, the studios have to agree on the standards so it works without the box. The studios are meeting now about this. It's like Blu-ray. It took two years for studios to agree on that technology. We're trying to get ahead of the release and see how customers relate to SD cards. With all that stuff, you have to get the learning done before you can flip a switch. It was never intended to be commercial -- we knew people wouldn't buy the boxes -- but there will be valuable lessons learned. You'd think bloggers of all people would understand beta. We're leading an iniative, and people slam it.