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Blockbuster partners with TiVo, says Apple products in sight

In the latest move to rejuvenate its weathered brand, Blockbuster plans to make its premium digital movie catalog available to TiVo subscribers before ultimately extending the service to devices made by Apple and other hardware vendors.

As part of the deal announced Wednesday, all broadband TiVo subscribers will soon be able to purchase or rent movies from Blockbuster's OnDemand service from their TiVo Series2, Series3, HD, or HD XL digital video recorder (DVR) set-top boxes.

The partnership will also see TiVo DVRs sold at thousands of Blockbuster brick-and-mortar retail stores as well as online at blockbuster.com, offering both parties new distribution outlets as they simultaneously band together to implement a cross-marketing campaign.

Blockbuster's arrival on TiVo will pit it against Netflix and Amazon.com, which already offer digital catalogs to TiVo subscribers. However, the movie rental house believes its catalog will stand out against those of its rivals, which tend to include mostly older titles rather than recent movie theater hits.

The move is also said to be the first of many that will see Blockbuster broaden its reach to embrace the growing demand on the part of consumers to enjoy video at their leisure through a new array of handheld devices and set-top-boxes in the living room.

"You will see us in a large number of other devices going forward," Blockbuster's vice president of digital entertainment Kevin Lewis told Reuters. He added, without providing details, that the company also plans to make its services available on devices sold by Apple.

"We need to be in the normal places that consumers want to watch movies," he said.

In total, about 10,000 movies titles will be available to TiVo subscribers when the integrated service launches some time during the second half of this year. Although pricing details having been announced, Blockbuster currently sells film rentals over its online service for $2 to $4, while movie purchases are priced around $10.