Barnes & Noble has announced that it will be the latest company to release its own video service, dubbed the Nook Video, which will allow customers to stream and download movies and television shows on mobile devices, for a fee of course.
Although the Nook maker remained mum on what a subscription to the service will cost and when the platform would be available, it did highlight some of its studio partnerships, which include the likes of HBO, Sony Pictures, Starz, Viacom and Warner Brothers. Available on Nooks, as well as other tablets, smartphones and televisions, Barnes & Noble's video service will store content on the Nook's cloud system, granting users unlimited access to entertainment on multiple devices. .
With a video catalog that is going to boast fan-favorites like "Game of Thrones" and "The Artist," the Nook Video is surely an answer to Amazon's Instant Video and Apple's iTunes, with the service being similar to the latter in that viewers will be able to rent single episodes, movies or whole TV seasons. Barnes & Noble will need to brace itself for competition from other companies in the digital rental service market, such as Wal-Mart, which entered the ring in 2010 with its acquisition of Vudu, and Verizon, which recently partnered with Redbox to introduce their own streaming service. Not to mention the business that sparked the streaming fire, Netflix.
The bookseller hasn't said which operating systems it will support, although the two most likely candidates to start with are Apple's iOS and Google's Android, as the two currently dominate the tabletsphere. Plus, given the Nook's relationship with Microsoft, where the computer giant pledged to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble's digital division, it wouldn't be surprising that the service will support Windows devices as well.
The application is also going to be bundled with Hollywood's UltraViolet system, where users who shop in Nook Video will be able to buy DVDs or Blu-Ray discs via the service and, when possible, add digital versions of the movies or television shows to the Nook Cloud, while those already using UltraViolet will be able to add their existing titles.
Barnes & Noble gave no specific release date for its video service, just saying that it will be available at some point this fall.
As the tablet market continues to flood with an array of low-cost slates, Barnes & Noble has been fighting hard to hold its grip of the mobile market. Perhaps Nook Video will offer a successful outlet for the company to expand its digital offerings beyond hardware and eBooks.
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