To those of us old enough to remember the pre-Blockbuster video-rental boom, when just about every type of retail store decided, however misguidedly, their was money to be made in renting VHS tapes to customers, this might seem like a bit of deja vu: Sears and Kmart are planning to launch a streaming video service.
In order to access the service, which is called Alphaline Entertainment and is slated to launch around the holidays, customers will need to buy specific TVs and Blu-ray players from Sears and Kmart.
According to the company, the service will be made available on devices from Sharp, LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and RCA.
This move puts the retail chains on similar footing as competitors Best Buy and Walmart, both of whom have recently begun to get into the streaming movie business. Of course, the main push to jump into streaming video comes as sales of physical DVDs are expected to drop off.
Says a Sears/Kmart VP:
We see the DVD business declining over the next couple years… We wanted to offer a service on all of the devices we sell, not just TVs, but Blu-ray, tablets, all the devices we’re in or going to get into.